As the US gears up to celebrate the 241st anniversary of its independence on July 4, research consultancy Brand Keys released its 15th annual survey of US brands and said it has seen a “dramatic shift in consumers’ perceptions of brand patriotism” this year.
Jeep, Disney and Levi Strauss continue to top what Brand Keys called an otherwise dramatically re-drawn list, which now includes Fox News, Tesla, MSNBC and Twitter.
The 2017 list also includes Coca-Cola, Ford, Hershey’s, Ralph Lauren, Jack Daniels and Sam Adams. The full list can be found here.
Not surprisingly, Brand Keys said politics has made itself felt more dramatically this year, particularly when it comes to how consumers see brands through a patriotic lens.
“Our most recent presidential election and its political aftermath has created higher levels of political debate and has raised more contentious issues,” Brand Keys said. “It has divided political parties and it has divided consumers and their brands. And it has also dramatically shifted what drives the perception of patriotism.”
Per Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, that includes drivers like pride, which has moved closer to self-importance, as well as inclusion, which has shifted to marginalization.
“Courage has morphed into convenience and freedom has actually become the vice of extremism,” Passikoff added.
Despite these shifts, Brand Keys said brands should still focus on establishing meaningful emotional connections with consumers, noting believability and authenticity are key.
“If you can make that connection, consumers will not only stand up and salute, more importantly they’ll stand up and buy,” the firm said.
In fact, Brand Keys said consumers are six times more likely to believe and behave positively if a brand can establish real emotional connections.
Brand Keys surveyed 4860 consumers ages 16 to 65 and said it balanced the list for political party affiliation.