Clorox tops corporate reputation ranking as demand soars over COVID-19

Clorox developed a better reputation than any other big American company as consumers depended on its disinfectants to ward off the coronavirus, a new survey shows.

Americans’ trust in the California-based company’s wipes, cleaners and bleach during the pandemic helped it land the No. 1 spot on the annual Axios-Harris Poll 100 Corporate Reputation Rankings released Thursday.

Hershey, Amazon, Publix and General Mills filled out the top five as consumers rewarded corporate titans for standing by their sides amid the COVID-19 crisis, pollsters say.

“Clorox went into over-production on a critical consumer PPE product while Hershey’s invested in producing disposable masks. But among all of them, the theme of presence was paramount,” Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema told The Post. “Many had employees who acted as front line workers, reassuring Americans that the country was still working while everything else was shut down.”

The surge in Clorox’s reputation coincided with an explosion in sales of its cleaning products as Americans stockpiled disinfectants to protect themselves from the deadly virus. This year marked the company’s first time in the top spot and only its second appearance on the list in its 21-year history.

Clorox’s success doesn’t come as a surprise given how strongly consumers emphasized their personal health during the pandemic, according to the survey. Procter & Gamble, the conglomerate behind Charmin toilet paper and Mr. Clean cleaners, ranked eighth overall, while face-mask producer 3M took the No. 12 spot.

Consumers also valued companies that made sure they had access to groceries and other “critical supples,” like Amazon and Publix as well as the Wegmans and Costco supermarket chains, which ranked sixth and seventh, respectively.

“This year, the companies that saw the biggest improvements represented comfort and safety, while companies that threatened safety or simply failed to meet the level of essentialness that other companies provided, fell significantly,” pollsters wrote in their report on the survey.

Examples of the latter included e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, which ranked dead last amid criticism for its role in the US’s teen vaping epidemic. Planemaker Boeing fell by a record 65 spots to No. 83 as it grappled with the fallout from two fatal crashes involving its 737 MAX airplane, which was grounded last year.

Americans also hold a dim view of social media giants Twitter and Facebook, which ranked 95th and 97th, respectively, despite their efforts to crack down on misinformation about the coronavirus.

The Harris Poll uses two sets of surveys to determine its annual reputation rankings. The first asked respondents to name two companies with the best reputations and two with the worst. Those results were used to compile a list of the 100 “most notable” companies, which were then ranked based on a separate online survey of 34,026 US adults conducted from June 24 to July 6.

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