A new Brand Keys survey of iconic American brands has revealed what consumers consider to be the most 'patriotic,' with Jeep, Levi Strauss, Coca-Cola, Colgate and Disney leading the pack.
“Marketers like Independence Day because it gives them an opportunity to help citizens celebrate with patriotic flag-waving and red-white-and-blue motifs,” said Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, Inc. (brandkeys.com), the New York-based brand loyalty and customer engagement research consultancy. “Marketers cue the marching bands and majorettes, and look to leverage all the patriotic emotions that symbolize America. And for some, increased sales.”
To determine which brands actually led when it comes to patriotism, Brand Keys did a statistical ‘drill-down,’ part of a larger brand values survey, to identify which of 225 brands were more associated with the value of ‘patriotism.’ “We know that brand engagement is more emotional than it is rational,” said Passikoff. “And while many emotional engagement values drive brand engagement, with values varying by category, we had 4,680 consumers ages 16 to 65, evaluate a collection of 35 values, including ‘patriotism.’”
“When it comes to engaging the consumer, waving an American flag and actually having an authentic foundation for being able to wave the flag are two entirely different things and the consumer knows it,” added Passikoff. “More importantly, believability is key to the engagement paradigm. The more engaged a consumer is with a particular emotional value and the associated brand, the more likely they’ll trust that emotion and act positively on that belief.”
The ranking of the top-50 most patriotic brands, including ties, were as follows. Percentages indicating emotional engagement strength for the individual value of ‘patriotism’ versus an Ideal of 100%, “and only the U.S. Armed Services – the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy – rate that high,” noted Passikoff.
It’s not surprising that many brands in the top 50 are American Icons,” said Passikoff, “which is confirmed by the movement up the list into the top 50 most Patriotic Brands by brands including: Apple, Amazon, Google, American Express, Facebook and eBay.”
“This is not to say that other brands are not patriotic, or that they don’t possess any patriotic resonance. Rational aspects like being an American company, or being ‘Made in the USA,’ or having nationally directed CSR activities and sponsorships – all play a part in the make-up of any brand, and as it regards its patriotic nature and public face. But if you want to differentiate via brand values, especially one this emotional, if there is believability, good marketing just gets better,” said Passikoff.
“Last year we received some comments about how some of the top 50 most patriotic brands didn’t belong there because they weren’t actually manufactured in the United States, something that’s become true in this global economy,” noted Passikoff. “That’s the rational side of decision-making. One thing marketers should have learned about brands over the past couple of decades is that those brands that can make an emotional connection with the consumer always have a strategic advantage over competitors when it come to the marketplace battle for the hearts, minds, and loyalty of consumers.