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Image: Patagonia

For its annual reputation ranking, Axios partnered with market research and analytics company Harris Poll to “gauge the reputation of the most visible brands in America,” taking onto account 20 years of Harris Poll data, as well as responses from 42,935 Americans in a two-part survey conducted between April 8 and 21, 2021 that identified the top 100 most visible companies in the minds of consumers (i.e., “the public’s top-of-mind awareness of companies that either excel or falter in society”) and then ranked those companies on basis of consumer affinity, company ethics, growth, products/service, corporate citizenship, and company vision and culture.

Ventura, California-headquartered Patagonia – which is known and routinely celebrated for its dedication to corporate activism and strides in the sustainability space – topped the 2021 Axios Harris Poll 100 list (up 31 spots from last year’s ranking), followed by automaker Honda, pharmaceutical titan Moderna, Chick-fil-A, the Elon Musk-run SpaceX, pet-centric e-commerce company Chewy, Pfizer, Tesla, Costco, and Amazon, which round out the top 10. 

Looking at fashion/retail-specific names, all of which are included based exclusively on the fact that they maintain “a critical level of visibility” in the eyes of consumers as established by the Axios and Harris Poll survey, adidas took the number 49 spot again this year. Target landed in the number 41 position, advancing ten places from last year. Nike came in at 62 (down 6 spots from 2020’s list), followed directly by Nordstrom in 63 (up two places), and Macy’s in 64 (down 6 spaces). 

Interestingly enough, the “Fastest Riser” on this year’s list was Pfizer, which as we noted last month, has been likened to a coveted luxury-like brand in its own right in a growing number of instances over the past several months, as the various COVID-19 vaccines have been brand-ified amid the increasing roll-outs and information campaigns. The New York-headquartered pharma giant – which took the number 7 spot on the overall Axios list, up from 54 in 2020 – benefitted not only from being the first to secure U.S. emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine, but also from the widely-publicized efficacy of its vaccine, a fact that “has been in the news for endless of hours” in recent months, according Manuel Hermosilla, assistant professor of marketing at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. 

As for other fast risers, Patagonia, Unilever, Dollar General, and Citigroup complete the top 5. On the flip side, Google led the list of the companies that dropped the most swiftly between this year and last, falling 36 spots to 60, thanks to lower rankings in the “ethics” and “citizenship” categories. It is followed by Procter & Gamble, Delta, the Kroger Co., and Netflix. 

Not to be missed: at the very bottom of the list the Trump Organization, which fell one spot from last year’s list – from 99 (the spot occupied by Fox News in the 2021 list) to 100. The company’s most poorly-ranked category? Corporate citizenship.