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The Most Hated Companies

Company reputation relies on a variety of factors, including quality of products and services, innovation, ethics, philanthropy and environmental stewardship.

How does a company get its bad reputation? 

For a company like My Pillow, which ranks in the bottom 10 on this list, it might be the CEO spreading debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud that got him barred from Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report (another company on this list) or for TikTok, it could be its struggle to remove a video showing a man committing suicide, and for GameStop,  (GME) - Get GameStop Corp. Class A Report getting caught up in a stock pump-and-dump scheme on Reddit doesn't help.

For a company like Wells Fargo  (WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report, it could be that opening millions of accounts in customers’ names without their knowledge, secretly transferring money and forging signatures certainly had a hand in where they land on this list.

According to research by one global marketing firm, there are at least two dozen factors that make a major contribution to a company’s reputation, ranging from the quality of its products and services, innovation and customer service to its ethics, philanthropy and environmental stewardship.

This list from the Axios Harris Poll 100 measures and ranks the reputations of companies that are floating around in our cultural conversation.

For the 2021 survey, respondents were asked to name two companies that stand out as having the best reputation and two that have the worst reputation in America today. The nominations are compiled into an aggregate list to determine the 100 “most visible” companies.

They then asked 42,935 respondents to rate those 100 companies on several dimensions of reputation to calculate each company’s “reputation quotient.”

They include:

• Trust: Company I trust

• Culture: Good company to work for

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• Vision: Clear vision for the future

• Ethics: Maintains high ethical standards

• Growth: Strong prospects for growth

• Citizenship: Shares my values, Supports good causes

• Products & services: Develops innovative products and services, Offers high quality products and services

Subsidiaries and brands are tallied within the parent company to create the total number of nominations for each company.

Patagonia has the best reputation, ranking first place on this year’s list, with high marks for ethics, citizenship and culture. Also in the top five for best reputation were Honda  (HMC) - Get Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report, Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report, Chick-fil-A and SpaceX.

A score of 80-100 is considered excellent, 75-79 is 'very good,' 70-74 is 'good,' 65-69 is 'fair' and 55-64 is 'poor.' (The lowest score this year was 56.9.)

To be fair, the first 11 companies on this list fall within the ‘good’ range. Dollar General  (DG) - Get Dollar General Corporation Report is clawing its way out of the lower rankings, moving up 19 spots from last year to No. 71, and Bank of America  (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report moved up 10 spots to No. 77.

Of the 100 most recognized companies, here are the 30 that ranked worst for reputation.