Weekly Data

WHAT THE DATA SAY: 72% believe companies are taking advantage of inflation to increase profits

By: Ray Day


Ray Day

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:


Corporate handling of inflation and culture wars are denting the reputations for more than 70% of American companies, and the public has a higher bar for corporate excellence than ever. Those are among the insights of the Axios-Harris Poll 100, the 26th annual ranking of the reputations of the most visible U.S. companies, which was released by Stagwell and The Harris Poll this week.

  • Nvidia, 3M, Fidelity, Sony and Adidas have the top-five best reputations in America.
  • Social media platforms and companies viewed as politically polarizing are the ones with the poorest reputations or that suffered the steepest declines. This year, The Trump Organization, X (formerly Twitter), Spirit Airlines, Meta/Facebook and Fox Corporation are at the bottom, with poor reputations.
  • 63 of the 89 companies (or 71%) see a decline of half a point or more.
  • Only 15 companies (17%) see an improvement of half a point or more.
  • Top reasons for declining reputations include: companies not doing enough to keep prices fair from inflation (26%); poor ethical behavior related to unfair pricing and passing along costs or suppressing wages/lack of hiring despite profit-making (20%); and too much focus on cultural issues not important to consumers (18%).
  • 72% believe companies are taking advantage of inflation to increase their profit margins rather than being fair and transparent with the prices they charge.
  • To improve reputation, Americans believe companies should: be more focused on keeping prices fair during inflation (53%); improve product quality, safety and consumer satisfaction (48%); and pay good wages while promoting economic growth through job creation (48%) – rather than ESG (23%), AI (13%) or taking proactive stances on societal or culture issues.
  • Biggest individual company gainers: BP, Hobby Lobby, Fidelity, Subway and eBay.
  • Biggest decliners: Boeing, Shein, Reddit, Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch.
  • New to the list: Nvidia, Mattel, Novo Nordisk, Bayer and Alaska Airlines.
  • LEARN MORE: If you and your company/team would like a briefing on this year’s corporate reputation results – including data on many companies that did not make the 100 most visible list – please contact Alexis Williams.



Americans’ views of how things are going remains little changed from last month, according to our most recent poll with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

  • 33% of Americans say the country is on the right track (compared with 34% a month ago), and 34% say the economy is on the right track (compared with 35% last month).
  • 48% say their personal financial situation is becoming worse (compared with 48% a month ago), while 28% say it is improving (compared with 29% a month ago).
  • Inflation is far and away the most important issue to voters personally, 25 points higher than immigration, the second choice.
  • 52% of Hispanic Americans and 42% of Asian Americans say their personal financial situation is getting worse.
  • 79% believe student protesters should be removed from college campuses through detainment or arrest if they become violent or damage university property (64% for ages 18-24 and 92% for ages 65+).



Employees are struggling with burnout, yet they also feel guilty about taking time off, according to The Harris Poll’s new “Out of Office Culture Report.”

  • 83% say they are happy with their employer’s time-off policy, and 60% receive more than 10 days off a year.
  • 78% don’t use all of their days off: The average American took 15 days off last year, although half have more than 15 days off available.
  • Half of employees said they become nervous asking to take time off. This increases to 61% for Millennials.
  • 76% said they wished their employer placed more emphasis on the value of taking time off.
  • While 62% of people say being out of office means not working, 60% say they struggle to fully disconnect, and 56% have taken work calls or meetings during their time off.
  • Nearly 90% of employees said they read emails from their boss during their time away.
  • Employees are coming up with their own work-arounds: 31% have moved their mouse to keep their status active on their company messaging system.
  • 30% have scheduled messages to send outside of working hours to create the impression they are working longer.
  • 28% have taken time off without telling their manager.



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