One of the subtler ways a Brand can succeed is to resonate on a positive emotional level. Considering today’s national celebration, it seems only appropriate take a look at brands that have built a sense of patriotic pride to boost their recognition, as the definition of patriotism – “Expressing devotion to and vigorous support for…” – reads like the ideal relationship between Brand and consumer.
Brand Keys, a Brand research consultancy specializing in customer loyalty and engagement metrics, conducted a national sample of 4,750 consumers, ages 16 to 65, in which they were given a survey with 248 brands and asked which resonated the most when it came to various, category specific, values, one of which was “patriotism.” When we review and analyze the ranked list of patriotic brands, there are interesting branding insights that surface and we can start to draw conclusions as to what about a Brand makes it stand out as a patriotic in the eyes of consumers.
Firstly, let’s examine the facts linking these brands together and try to find some trends that explain their patriotic appeal. Starting with the simple fact that every Brand appearing on Brand Key’s list was founded in America, it seems appropriate for them to receive a high patriotism score. Looking further into their origins, it is not only where they were founded, but when they were founded, with the average founding year for the top 49 brands being 1926. So, the respondents – who were all born between 1951 and 2000 – viewed the most patriotic brands as the ones that were established and well-known for their entire lives (other than Facebook which launched in 2004). This makes sense, especially when thinking about your own upbringing; a Brand you’ve been exposed to your whole life, having seen your parents and even grandparents show Brand loyalty towards, would become a nostalgic Brand that is ingrained in your culture and has become a piece of Americana that feeds into a sense of nationalism or patriotism.
A more “under the radar” observation of patriotic brands is the color of their logos. Over 65% of the brands utilize either red, blue, or both in their logos. Based on research completed by WebPageFX, a web design and marketing Company, 80% of people believe that color of a logo increases Brand recognition … and with these logos sharing the colors that also represent our country, it ties them in the consumers’ mind to patriotism. This subtly creates an unconscious connection to the American flag and that Brand displaying what it means to be American.
Another connection that isn’t immediately obvious is related to America’s love of its four major sports: football (NFL), basketball (NBA), baseball (MLB), and hockey (NHL). Over half of the brands on the list are in one way or another tied directly to those sports. The connections are as concrete as leagues themselves in the NFL and MLB, or being a competitive member of those leagues in the case of the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and the New York Yankees (albeit those last two seem a little obvious). Others are sponsors of arenas or stadiums (Gillette, Wells Fargo, etc.) and a few are sports focused brands themselves (Nike, Wilson, Gatorade). The concept of being a fan of a sports team is similar to that of being a citizen of a nation, so it makes sense that these two institutions would be connected in an emotionally similar way.
While Brand Key’s data may not be revolutionary, it nonetheless shows that when it comes to loyalty, Americans love the brands they have known for years, that either directly or indirectly remind of us of our nations flag, and that the similar emotional profiles of citizenship and sports fandom can increase the level of attachment.