Just in time for the July 4th holiday, the 16th annual Brand Keys survey of iconic American brands identifies shifts in consumer views of “brand patriotism.”
A national sample of 5,001 consumers, 16 to 65 years of age, balanced for gender and political party affiliation, drawn from the nine U.S. Census Regions, were asked to rate themselves on a one-to-five scale, #1 being “Not at all patriotic” and #5 being “Extremely patriotic.” Consumers’ patriotic self-perceptions increased with age. Top two-box ratings (“Extremely” or “Very” Patriotic) for the total audience were consistent across genders and political affiliations.
Jeep, Disney, and Coke led an otherwise dramatically re-drawn list of patriotic brands, which does not include brands like Airbnb, Facebook, GE, and the National Football League. Jeep has been number one for many years.
“Not only would [Jeep] have to open a factory in China, but they’d have to take the first car off the line there and use it to back up over the Declaration of Independence,” Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president, tells Marketing Daily. “When one talks of brands being ‘iconic’ — a term that has come to mean more regarding longevity than actual values — Jeep is the one to pick.”
There’s a thin line between patriotism and nationalism.
“I believe that the political environment is really making itself felt for brands — and for consumer choice of brands,” he says.
The National Football League has been a perennial top-50 in the most patriotic brands list, albeit grouped with sports teams, MLB, and athletic brands, but still showing up. The disappearance of the brand from the top 50 is stunning and clearly the result of the national anthem dispute regarding kneeling.
It took Facebook 15 years to make the list and only one year of privacy issues and to knock it off, Passikoff says.
Digital and tech seem to be the flavor of the decade, but the six biggest movers in regard to patriotism was a split of tech (Apple, Amazon, & AT&T) and products and services (American Express, Coors, & Walmart).
Rounding out the top 10 are Ford, American Express, Hershey/Twitter, Jack Daniels, AT&T, Walmart and Levi Strauss.
Brands making the largest movement up the 2018 rankings for consumer patriotic attribution included Amazon (+28), Apple (+27), American Express (+17), Walmart (+12) and AT&T (+11).
Brands that dropped from the 2017 top 50 list included Airbnb (#13), General Electric (#14), the National Football League (#29), and Facebook (#30). Says Passikoff, “Data-sharing and privacy issues seem to have come home to roost for Facebook, at least as it pertains to consumer perceptions of the brand’s value of patriotism.”