What Companies Must Do

Note to companies that run those tedious commercials boasting of how innovative they are: Many consumers aren’t all that keen on innovation. Asked in an Ipsos-Reid poll to cite the factors that “matter the most” in shaping their opinion of a company, 29 percent of respondents included “innovation, creating new products and services.” Nearly twice as many pointed to “how the company treats its customers” (57 percent) and “producing high-quality products or services” (55 percent). Also ranking higher than innovation were “charging reasonable prices for its products and services” (44 percent) and “paying its fair share of taxes” (41 percent). Relatively few people (25 percent) cited a company’s “support for charitable or community causes.” Might this be because they think companies are useful enough in simply going about their profit-making business? As you can see from the chart below, Americans tend to be well-disposed toward business. The “very positive” vote was higher among respondents whose household income exceeds $50,000 a year (17 percent) than among those making under $25,000 (11 percent). Republicans were nearly twice as likely as Democrats to be so pro-business (19 percent vs. 10 percent).