WHAT THE DATA SAY: Americans vote on the best and worst corporate reputations
By: 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 (fielded May 19-21):
WORRIES ABOUT ECONOMY MIXED
Today, 87% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – up 2 points from last week and higher than December’s 82% rate.
- 83% about a potential U.S. recession (up 3 points)
- 70% about affording my living expenses (down 2 points)
- 75% about political divisiveness (no change)
- 80% worry about U.S. crime rates (no change from last week)
- 63% about the War on Ukraine (down 7 points)
- 48% about a new COVID-19 variant (down 2 points)
- 48% about losing their jobs (down 3 points)
MOOD OF THE COUNTRY REMAINS NEGATIVE
Today, less than a third of Americans say the country is on the “right track,” and two thirds believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction. These are among the insights in our latest poll with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.
- Americans want debt ceiling negotiations – with 70%, up 6 points from last month, saying a default would be a huge issue.
- Stricter immigration policies also are favored by a majority on both sides of the political aisle: 54%– including 67% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans – support the repeal of Title 42.
BEST COMPANY REPUTATIONS
The Harris Poll’s annual Reputation Quotient (RQ) study of corporate reputation is out. The study of 16,310 Americans ranks companies with the best and worst reputations on vision, growth, products and services, trust, culture, ethics and citizenship.
- TOP 10: Patagonia (83.5 RQ score/excellent), Costco (82.1/excellent), John Deere (82.0/excellent), Trader Joe’s (81.7/excellent), Chick-Fil-A (81.4/excellent), Toyota (81.0/excellent), Samsung (81.0/excellent), Amazon (80.7/excellent), USAA (80.6/excellent) and Apple (80.6/excellent).
- BOTTON 10: Trump Organization (52.9 RQ score/very poor), FTX (58.6/poor), Fox (59.3/poor), Twitter (59.3/poor), Facebook (59.7/poor), Spirit Airlines (60.1/poor), TikTok (61.1/poor), Bitcoin (61.1/poor), BP (63.5/poor) and Balenciaga (65.5/fair).
- BIGGEST GAINERS: Uber (+6.3%), Nike (+5.2%), Costco (+5.0%), American Express (+4.3%), Chick-fil-A (+4.3%), Volkswagen (+3.8%), McDonald’s (+3.7%), Chipotle (+3.5%), Kohl’s (+3.4%) and JC Penney (+2.9%).
- BIGGER DECLINERS: BP (-6.6%), Tesla (-6.4%), Spirit Airlines (-5.0%), Dollar Tree (-5.0%), Taco Bell (-4.8%), Fox (-4.7%), TikTok (-4.1%), PayPal (-3.9%), Stellantis (-3.9%) and Disney (-3.5%).
- POLITICAL DAMAGE: One of the most significant lessons in this year’s study is that, when you divide, you subtract – meaning customers. Disney continued to decline (now at 77 of 100, from 65 last year) amid partisan politics. Disney also was ranked the fifth most divisive company in the study.
- FALLEN STARS: A pivot against renegade solo leaders is clear this year: FTX and Sam Bankman Fried made the list for the first time this year – ranking 99th of 100 for reputation. Tesla also saw one of the most significant reputation drops of the past year, from 12th place in 2022 to 62nd this year, as Twitter (ranked near last at 97) created business and reputational issues for Elon Musk.
- INTERACTIVE RANKINGS: See this link for an interactive ranking of all companies on the list this year.
SCHOOL’S OUT, YET PARENTS ARE STRESSED
Parents of school-age children are stressed trying to lock in a safe, smart summer option for their kids, according to our Harris Poll survey with KinderCare.
- 46% of parents report being stressed about finding child care this summer.
- 78% of parents say they are very or somewhat confident on parenting on a typical day – down 4 points from a year ago.
- When it comes to choosing child care, parents look for: safety (49% today versus 31% a year ago), reliability (48% today versus 52% a year ago), health protocols (39% today versus 31% a year ago), emotional curriculum (36% today versus 32% a year ago), functional curriculum (34% today versus 38% a year ago) and inclusion (30% today versus 31% a year ago).
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