- Jeep, Disney and Coca-Cola are ranked as the most patriotic brands, according to findings from the 16th annual Most Patriotic Brands in America survey by Brand Keys, whose results were provided to Marketing Dive.
- Ford, American Express, Hershey's/Twitter, Jack Daniels, AT&T, Walmart and Levi Strauss round out the top 10 most patriotic brands. Brands that made the biggest jumps on the list were Amazon, which moved up 28 points to No. 12, and Apple, which moved 27 points to No. 13. American Express rose 17 points, Walmart 12 points and AT&T 11 points. Airbnb, General Electric, Facebook and the NFL ranked in the top 50 in 2017, but were dropped from this year's list.
- The survey found that consumers' self-perceptions of patriotism and patriotism as an overall ideology have continued to shift, and increase with age. Among respondents who said they were "extremely" or "very" patriotic, 85% were baby boomers, 68% were Gen X, 53% were millennials and 42% were Gen Z.
The Brand Keys survey reveals that consumers are perceiving brands' levels of patriotism on a deeper level, basing them on a company's actions as much as anything. It's not surprising that Jeep, Coca-Cola and Disney continue to rank highly, as the brands are quintessentially American, or that Facebook and the NFL were knocked out of the top 50. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and controversy over NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem likely led to led to these brands being seen as less patriotic. Another American brand that saw steep declines, dropping 16 points, was Harley Davidson, which has recently weathered intense criticism by President Trump for moving more manufacturing operations overseas.
Marketers tying their brands to patriotic themes might be more sharply scrutinized in the summer months, around popular holidays like the Fourth of July. With younger consumers viewing themselves as less patriotic, marketers should also tread lightly with traditional patriotic messaging aimed at these age groups or risk missing the mark.
Several brands have been modernizing their patriotic messages to embrace diversity as definitive of the American experience. Pabst Blue Ribbon recently unveiled a campaign exploring what the American Dream means to millennials, the country’s most diverse generation in history. The beer brand partnered with digital media company Vice to create documentaries and a content series promoting diversity and the evolving American Dream.
The Brand Keys survey also highlights the power of shifting consumer sentiment around brands. While consumers are growing to expect brands to take a stance on social and political issues, doing so can be risky, especially in today's divisive political climate. Marketers that tackle testy subjects should make sure their positioning lines up with what they actually have to offer, and how they practice their business.