Jeep leads the pack in a survey of the most “patriotic” brands in the U.S. The survey, conducted by brand loyalty consultancy Brand Keys, ranked Jeep in the No.1 spot for the 19th consecutive year. It was followed in the top five by Walmart, Disney, Amazon/Ford and The New York Times. The survey identifies those brands that consumers believe best embody the value of “patriotism.”

“Between the pandemic and politics, there’s no shortage of challenges facing brands,” says Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. “Brands always have to compete in their categories but now they must battle in a pandemically limited marketplace and within shifting socio-political contexts, factors that have changed consumers’ lives dramatically along with their definitions ‘patriotism’ as it relates to brands.”

In this year’s survey, CNN made its debut among the top-50 patriotic brands, and were re-joined by Harley-Davidson, John Deere, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, National Football League and Tesla, which were cited in previous years but did not appear in 2020.

The brands the survey identified as best meeting the challenge patriotism plays in today’s marketplace are:

  1. Jeep
  2. Walmart
  3. Disney
  4. Amazon, Ford
  5. The New York Times
  6. American Express, Netflix
  7. Coors, Levi Strauss
  8. FOX News
  9. Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, MSNBC
  10. The Washington Post
  11. Domino’s
  12. Apple, Twitter
  13. Jack Daniels, Ralph Lauren
  14. Harley-Davidson, USAA
  15. Dunkin’, Clorox
  16. Sam Adams, Wrangler
  17. Home Depot, Purell
  18. Pepsi
  19. Colgate, Google
  20. Nike, Old Navy
  21. AT&T
  22. Gatorade
  23. Kellogg’s
  24. CNN
  25. Chick-fil-A, KFC, McDonald’s
  26. New Balance, Starbucks
  27. MLB, NBA
  28. L.L. Bean, John Deere
  29. Campbell’s, NFL
  30. Tesla, Zoom

“The state of the world and the marketplace have changed basic tenets of consumer loyalty and perceptions of patriotism, generally and within the context of brands,” says Passikoff. “Movement of brands up and down the annual list have been comparatively modest.”

Passikoff adds, “Last year, the pandemic affected how consumers viewed patriotism and brands. Some sectors got a ‘pandemic pop’ because they were there when consumers needed them most.”

Insurance, disinfectants, telecom and social networking brands, however, did not get the same lift they received last year. Clorox and Purell appeared, but ranked -10 and -8 places, respectively. Twitter was +3, but AT&T was -8 and Zoom was -17. No other telecom brands appeared in the 2021 survey. Only USAA, a patriotic perennial, represented the insurance sector, and was down three places this year.

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. Passikoff says, “This year consumers rated the armed services No. 1, as they have since the survey was initiated in 2003. We recognize that again this year and thank them for their service.”

With Independence Day coming up, Passikoff adds, “Independence Day traditionally gives marketers an opportunity to champion values, but a good deal of what used to be forthright marketing has become politicized. Some brands wrap themselves more tightly in the flag then. With Independence Day coming up, here’s a little brand advice: when it comes to engaging consumers, waving the American flag and having an authentic and believable foundation for being able to wave the flag are honestly entirely different things. Consumers know the difference!”

Brand Keys notes that where a brand can establish a lasting emotional connection, consumers behave more positively, and those that make meaningful emotional connections always have a strategic advantage. Brands that differentiate and engage via an emotional value as strong as patriotism find increased engagement results in better consumer behavior toward that brand, which results in greater profits. In most cases, six times better.

“These brand rankings do not mean to suggest other brands are not patriotic or don’t possess patriotic resonance or intent. Rational values, like being an American company and ‘Made in the USA,’ play a part in the perception of any brand,” says Passikoff. “But the brandscape gets more complicated and partisan every day, particularly when it comes to viewing brands through the lens of patriotism.”