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E-commerce, Social Brands Seen as ‘Patriotic’

Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and eBay now viewed as among most patriotic U.S. brands.

The digitals are coming.

This story first appeared in the June 30, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Levi’s, Ralph Lauren and Wrangler were among the apparel brands retaining a place on Brand Keys’ ranking of the most “patriotic” brands as the nation approaches the 238th anniversary of its founding, but this year’s top 25 list included first-time appearances from the worlds of computers, e-commerce and search engines.

After failing to crack the ranks of the top 25 last year, Apple, Amazon and Google all made the top 10, with Apple finishing in sixth place with a patriotism rating of 90 percent. Amazon and Google weren’t far behind, ranked at eighth (88 percent) and 10th (86 percent). Facebook made its first appearance in 16th place with a 79 percent rating and eBay its inaugural showing at 22nd place with a 73 percent grade.

Brand Keys asked 4,680 Americans aged 16 to 65 to evaluate brands on a series of characteristics. In evaluating the patriotic standing of brands, respondents were advised to use the five branches of the U.S. armed forces as the ideal of 100 percent.

Jeep, first produced during and specifically for World War II, again claimed the top spot in the survey with a rating of 98 percent, followed by Levi Strauss & Co.’s Levi’s brand, second at 97 percent, up from third last year when it rated 95 percent.

Next among fashion and retail brands was Ralph Lauren, which moved to fifth from seventh place a year ago with the same 91 percent mark. Wrangler and the New York Yankees tied for 18th place with 77 percent evaluations.

Because of ties in percentage rankings, 50 brands made the 25 slots on the list.

Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, noted that the survey reflects perception of the “emotional core” of brands rather than countries of origin.

“You would have virtually no American names if patriotism was defined by the countries in which brands are produced,” he told WWD. “The truth is that consumers have come to understand that this is a global economy.”

While offshore production didn’t weigh against apparel brands, New Balance’s “Made in America” sourcing structure was among the factors helping it retain the number-nine position it held last year, Passikoff noted.

Among brick-and-mortar retailers, Wal-Mart finished highest (seventh place with 89 percent, up from 15th place at 81 percent last year), followed by L.L. Bean (15th place at 80 percent versus 14th place at 82 percent) and Sears (23rd place at 72 percent versus 16th place at 80 percent).

Passikoff was impressed but not surprised by the strong first-time rankings of the brands associated with computers, smartphones and e-commerce. Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and eBay all appeared on last year’s survey, but none cracked the top 25.

“From desktops to laptops and now extending to tablets and mobile devices, there’s been a major shift in access and usage,” Passikoff said. “These devices and Web sites are becoming part and parcel of the economy.”