From Jeep to Chick-fil-A, brands across the U.S. are seeking customer loyalty and testing the effectiveness of various forms of brand engagement. 

“There is no shortage of challenges facing brands today,” says Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, the New York-based research firm. “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.”

As we draw closer to Independence Day, this role of patriotism – and with it, politics – is at the forefront of many brands. “Where a brand can establish emotional connections with a value as powerful as patriotism, consumers will engage more strongly, believe more about the brand and behave more positively toward the brand,” says Passikoff. “In most cases six times more.”

In its 17th annual survey of American brands, Brand Keys identified the brands American consumers feel best embody the value of patriotism. The following list provides the top 10 brands that were identified as most patriotic, as taken from press material’s full list of the Top 50 brands:

  1. Jeep
  2. Disney
  3. Ford
  4. Coca-Cola
  5. Levi Strauss
  6. American Express / MSNBC
  7. Hershey’s 
  8. AT&T / The New York Times
  9. Walmart
  10. Fox News 

Brands new to the Top 50 list (accounting for ties) include Dunkin’ (ranked 13), Chick-fil-A (ranked 15), The New York Times, Patagonia (ranked 23), 7th Generation (ranked 27), USAA (ranked 24) and The Washington Post (ranked 16). 

“Brands always have to compete within category frameworks. They still do but now they must also compete in socio-political contexts,” said Passikoff. “The challenge is to recognize that patriotism isn’t just about ad campaigns and marketing surrounded by flags and fireworks. The new challenge is to build a brand where customers recognize a steady dedication of a brand’s state and stature among its competitors.”

The survey focused on for-profit brands, but assessments for the armed services – Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy – are included. “This year, again, consumers of all ages and political persuasions gave the armed services a patriotic ranking of No. 1,” says Passikoff. “We recognize that again this year and thank them for their service.”

About the survey: 

Brand Keys surveyed a national sample of 5,862 consumers, ages 18 to 68, balanced for gender and political party affiliation, drawn from the nine U.S. Census Regions.