Jeep, Disney, Ford and Coke pass the patriotic leadership test among U.S. brands while Marlboro, Under Armour, GAP and Tesla fail, according to BrandKeys.
Dunkin, Chick-fil-A, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, USAA, The New York Times and the Washington Post are newcomers to the list.
The 17th annual Brand Keys survey of iconic American brands in 115 categories identifies the brands American consumers feel best embody the value of patriotism.
There is no shortage of challenges facing brands, says Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy. But increasingly, one of the more fundamental challenges is what it means to be considered patriotic -- and how best to express patriotism via brand values and marketing. Brands must recognize that patriotism isn’t just about ad campaigns and marketing surrounded by flags and fireworks, he says.
The survey polled a national sample of 5,862 consumers, 18 to 68 years of age, balanced for gender and political party affiliation, drawn from the nine U.S. Census regions.
Jeep and Disney retained their spots at the top of the list, while Ford moved up a spot to third and Coca-Cola moved down a spot to fourth. Rounding out the top spots are Levi Strauss, American Express, MSNBC, Hershey’s, AT&T, The New York Times, Walmart, Fox News, Ralph Lauren, Jack Daniels, Amazon, Twitter, Dunkin’, Coach, KFC, Coors and Pepsi.
Brands making the largest movement in the 2019 patriotic challenge rankings include MSNBC, (+8), Colgate (+6), Nike (+5), Fox News, and L.L. Bean ( all +4), and Levi Strauss, Coors and Harley Davidson (all +3).
Absent from this year's list this year are Airbnb, Facebook, GE, and the NFL, which had appeared in 2017 -- and Marlboro, Under Armour, Gap, and Tesla, which had been listed in the top-50 brands last year.
“We live in an era of political polarization, consumer tribalism, and increasingly fervent social movements that challenge brands with constantly shifting sector landscapes that require ongoing adaptation and reinvention,” Passikoff states. “Not only are the basic tenets of consumer loyalty and brand engagement being upended, but also the need for brands to define [for] themselves what it means to be patriotic.”
Respondents were asked to rate themselves on a one-to-five scale, with one being not at all patriotic and five being extremely patriotic. Consumers' patriotic self-perceptions increased across all age groups year over year. Percentages for the top-two ratings (extremely or very patriotic) were consistent across genders and political affiliations within the individual age cohorts.
“Interestingly, there's a high correlation between consumers' increased self-perceptions of being patriotic and the appearance of more media brands in the top 50,” Passikoff says. “Perhaps more people are paying more attention this year.”