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Industry Reputation Shifts
in a COVID-19 World

Approach: The Harris Poll has tracked the reputation of major industries for over a decade through the annual Reputation Quotient (RQ) study. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, we fielded a representative sample of 1,039 U.S. adults to determine how industry perceptions have shifted since pre-pandemic levels.

Key Findings: The virus has accelerated the slow gradual reputation build we’ve been monitoring since the financial collapse, with Americans feeling better about business across industries.
  • The pharmaceutical and health insurance industries get the biggest bumps, both having reputations almost 20 percentage points higher than at the start of the crisis.
  • Tech’s efforts with big data and innovative tracking systems may be paying off – the industry’s reputation has rebounded to 2012/2013 highs, with 8-in-10 Americans having a positive reputation perception.
  • Despite automotive’s swift and effective response to ventilator shortages across the nation, the industry has experienced little change in reputation.
  • Consumer products, grocery, manufacturing, and financial services have all experienced noticeable gains in positive reputation sentiment, from basic supplies to loan relief, Americans are recognizing business actions that push the world towards increased safety and normalcy.

Industry Reputation Trends
(% Positive Reputation)

Source: The Harris Poll Annual RQ Study (US Adults) January 2020 n=25,880, April 2020 n=1,039

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Source: The Harris Poll COVID-19 Tracker (US Adults) W9 4/25-4/27 n=2050

Wendy Salomon
Managing Director
Rob Jekielek
Managing Director

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