Americans Love Tech Brands, Know Least About Energy

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When it comes to the companies that Americans love, it’s hard to beat the tech sector. The Morning Consult Brand Index, released for the first time today along with the 2016 Fortune 500 list, finds tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook handily beat organizations in almost every other sector.

The Morning Consult Brand Index gives each Fortune 500 company a grade based on how many people say they have a favorable or unfavorable impression of the organization, or whether they have never heard of or have no opinion about the company. When comparing the four sectors Morning Consult closely covers — energy, finance, health and tech — tech is a clear winner of public opinion, while energy companies struggle most to get high marks.

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In general, companies that have consumer-facing products or services coupled with major advertising campaigns are more well-liked, even if those products can sometimes cause headaches for users. Those that do the worst are generally unknown, or consumers say they’ve heard of them and have no opinion.

There are some exceptions to this rule, particularly when a company has faced a spate of bad publicity. Gilead, the pharmaceutical company responsible for the drug that cures Hepatitis C but also garnered criticism for its price tag, gets lower marks than other members of the pharma sector. Goldman Sachs, a favorite punching bag of politicians who like to hate on Wall Street, similarly does worse than other big financial institutions. The same is true for Charter Communications, which has been locked in a long struggle to acquire Time Warner Cable.

See how companies did within each sector below, and check out individual company data at Morning Consult Intelligence.

Energy

It’s not surprising that consumers don’t love electric utilities, mining companies or pipeline operators. But apparently they do like paint.

Of the 78 Fortune 500 companies classified as energy or chemical companies, Sherwin-Williams — which doesn’t fit neatly into the category — was the only company to earn an A in the Morning Consult Brand Index, an indicator that tracks favorability for every Fortune 500 company.

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The paint company received a 63 percent favorable rating and 9 percent unfavorable rating, good for an A+, far better than any other chemical or energy company. Only three firms — DuPont, Chevron, and Phillips 66 — managed a B+, the next best grade among energy firms. READ THE FULL STORY

Finance

Too-big-to-fail financial institutions might be under tight scrutiny by regulators in Washington, D.C., but many of them are held in high esteem by the public, according to the Morning Consult Brand Index, an indicator that tracks favorability for every Fortune 500 company.

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Major Fortune 500 institutions hit with the too-big-to-fail label have some of the highest public opinion ratings of all financial companies. The two most popular systemically important financial institutions — General Electric (67 percent favorability) and MetLife Inc. (59 percent favorability), both  received A and A- ratings, respectively. READ THE FULL STORY

Health

Drug companies and insurers may shoulder a lot of public blame for rising health care costs, but individual companies are generally very popular, according to the Morning Consult Brand Index, an indicator that tracks favorability for every Fortune 500 company.

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All five of the largest insurers — Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, and UnitedHealth — received a letter grade of B or better. Several large pharmaceutical companies received a letter grade of B or better too, including Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. READ THE FULL STORY

Tech

America’s technology sector is booming, and its growth goes beyond just revenue. The Morning Consult Brand Index, an indicator that tracks favorability for every Fortune 500 company, shows that tech and even some telecom giants are scoring big points with the American public.

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Polling conducted from March through May on Americans’ impressions of Fortune 500 companies show high favorability ratings for the tech industry, including those that experienced controversies in the past year. READ THE FULL STORY

Note: Company favorability ratings in Morning Consult Intelligence are regularly updated with new polling data. The numbers in this story may have shifted slightly since publication.

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