As marketers gear up for the Fourth of July, drape the Star-Spangled Banner over products, and pull out their best Uncle Sam look-a-likes for commercials, the most patriotic of brands are American icons, according to a quantitative brand values survey.
The survey, which included the views of 4,500 consumers from the nine US Census Regions on 197 brands in 35 categories from food to automotive, found that iconic food brands Hershey’s, Coca-Cola, and Wrigley’s made the top 10.
Other food brands making the top 50 include Campbell’s, Kellogg’s, and McDonalds.
The survey was run by New York-based brand and customer engagement research consultancy Brand Keys.
“Lots of values drive brand engagement, of course, and the study looked at them all, but as marketers traditionally operate on the Independence Day theory that a patriotic, flag-waving call-to-emotion will motivate consumers to behave more positively toward their brands, we wanted to see which brands actually led when it came to that particular value,” said Robert Passikoff, founder and president, Brand Keys.
“Leveraging brand values – in this case, ‘patriotism’ – has always had to do more with believability and emotional brand engagement than company size or brand awareness levels,” he said.
“It isn’t a question of how well-known a company is, or even how successful they’ve been. It certainly isn’t whether they use patriotic themes in their advertising and marketing. Ultimately, whether patriotism can be credibly leveraged to the brand’s benefit is a more a question of whether that value is seen to part of the brand’s equity, whether it’s truly acknowledged on a deeply emotional and engaging basis.”
The most patriotic of American brands was Jeep, closely followed by Hershey’s/Coca-Cola. Wrigley’s came it at number six, ahead of brands such as Budweiser, Ford, Smith & Wesson, GE, Walmart, and Ralph Lauren.
“Rational aspects like ‘Made in the USA’ and CSR activities play a part in the total make-up of the brand, of course,” said Passikoff. “But with strong emotional engagement, good marketing just gets better. It’s an unbeatable combination.”