Jeep, Amazon, Walmart, American Express, MSNBC, Clorox and Netflix lead the list of the top 50 most patriotic brands – a list that has been dramatically changed by the pandemic, politics and protests – according to the 18th annual Brand Keys survey of American brands, which has again identified the brands American consumers feel best embody the value of ‘patriotism’.
“The coronavirus pandemic has changed consumers’ lives and their definition of what patriotism means when it comes to brands,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy (brandkeys.com) that conducts the annual survey. “Brands compete, and are now judged, within three frameworks related to patriotism: category, socio-political, and therapeutic.”
The 50 Most Patriotic Brands
A national sample of 5,370 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, balanced for gender and political affiliation were drawn from the nine US. Census Regions. Consumers assessed brands as to their resonance for the single value of “patriotism”.
The following 50 brands were identified as best meeting the challenge patriotism now plays in a more political and pandemically-complex marketplace. Numbers in parentheses indicate a brand’s movement up or down the rankings from 2019. Brands new to the top 50 are so indicated.
- Jeep (—)
- Amazon (+10)
- Walmart (+6)
- American Express / MSNBC (+2)
- Clorox / Netflix (new, new)
- Disney / Levi Strauss (-4, -1)
- Ford / The New York Times (-4, +1)
- FOX News (+2)
- Hershey’s / Purell (-2, new)
- Coca Cola / The Washington Post (-6, +6)
- Coors / USAA (+3, new)
- AT&T / T-Mobile / Verizon (-5, new, new)
- Apple / Domino’s / Zoom (+4, new, new)
- Jack Daniels / Ralph Lauren (-3)
- Twitter (-3)
- Progressive Insurance / Sam Adams (new, +2)
- Dunkin’ / KFC / Pepsi (-4, -3, -3)
- Google (+8)
- Colgate / Gatorade (+3, +7)
- 7th Generation (+7)
- GEICO / Old Navy (new, —)
- Kellogg’s (-2)
- Nike / Wrangler (—, +4)
- Craftsmen Tools (-2)
- Allstate / Farmers (new, new)
- Home Depot (new)
- Chick-fil-A / McDonald’s (-12, -12)
- New Balance (—)
- Campbell’s Soup (new)
- Starbuck’s (-5)
“Political polarization, growing consumer tribalism, and national social protests have challenged brands this year. Not only have basic tenets of consumer loyalty and brand engagement been upended, as has the need for how brands define themselves in the context of patriotism,” said Passikoff.
Sports Brands Strike Out
“Brands – particularly those related to sports – were bumped from the top 50 where they had customarily appeared,” noted Passikoff. “In a Covid-enforced absence, teams and sporting goods brands have been replaced by brands consumers deem supportive during a national crisis.”
Those included insurance companies like Allstate, Farmers, and GEICO, brands seen to assist consumer connection like T-Mobile, Verizon, and Zoom, and brands related to cleaning and sanitizing like Clorox and Purell.
Consumer Cohorts Get More Patriotic
Respondents were again asked to rate themselves on a one-to-five scale (#1 = Not at all patriotic, #5 = Extremely patriotic) with patriotic self-perceptions increasing across all age groups Y-O-Y. Top two-box ratings (“Extremely” or “Very” Patriotic), consistent across genders within the individual age cohorts, appear below (#s in parentheses indicate changes from 2019).
- Traditionalists 94% (+3)
- Baby Boomers 92% (+2)
- Gen X 82% (+8)
- Millennials 85% (+15)
- Gen Z 59% (+9)
This year, for the first time, differences in patriotic self-perceptions based on political affiliations appeared:
- Democrats 93%
- Independents 95%
- Republicans 88%
- US Armed Services – Always #1
The Brand Keys annual survey focuses on for-profit brands, but assessments for the armed services – Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy – are included. “This year consumers of all ages and political persuasions again awarded the armed services a patriotic ranking of #1,” said Passikoff. “We recognize them and thank them all for their service.”
13 New Patriotic Challengers
Thirteen new brands appeared on this year’s patriotism list, comprising 26% of the top 50 brands. These include: Allstate, Campbells Soup, Clorox, Dominos, Farmers, GEICO, Home Depot, Netflix, Progressive, Purell, T-Mobile, USAA, Verizon, and Zoom.
Eight brands showed the largest movement on the rankings, including: Amazon (+10), Google (+8), 7th Generation, Gatorade (+7 each), Apple, Coca Cola, Walmart, and The Washington Post (+6 each).
Patriotism Pays Off Emotionally
“Where a brand can establish an emotional connection with consumers with a value as powerful as ‘patriotism,’ it guarantees consumers will engage more strongly and behave more-positively toward the brand,” said Passikoff. “In most cases six times more.”
“These brand rankings do not mean that other brands are not patriotic. Immediate needs have changed the patriotic paradigm and sheltering-in has affected both people and brands. Long-established categories have had to make room for brands seen as being more supportive and, thus, more patriotic,” said Passikoff. “Politics, the pandemic, and protests are having greater effects on the brandscape than ever before; socially, politically, palliatively, and patriotically.”
Brands that can make emotional connections always have strategic and emotional advantages when it comes to winning the hearts, minds, and loyalty of consumers. “If you do that consumers don’t just stand up and salute, they stand up and buy,”observed Passikoff.