Consumers’ Love for American Brands Untainted by Growing Concerns About “Brand America,” New Research Shows

J. Walter Thompson deconstructs American brands and their position on the world stage to explore the opportunities and the challenges posed by the climate under the current administration in “Brand America,” a new report published by JWT Intelligence today.

While perceptions of Brand America have taken a turn for the worse recently, American brands are still widely viewed favorably, JWT’s findings suggest.

Global attitudes towards the US under the current administration are nuanced.

More than 40% of respondents from Mexico, Russia and the UK have a negative view of America, directly linked to the events of the past year, and mostly driven by the actions of the US government.

However, 90% of Indian respondents view the US very or somewhat positively – higher, even, than the 83% of Americans who hold a positive view of their own country.

Despite concerns about “Brand America,” approval ratings of US brands range from 78% in the UK to 93% in India and China – again, higher than US respondents, whose approval rating of American brands is 90%. These figures have changed little since 2012, suggesting that consumers at home and abroad distinguish between “Brand America” and American brands.

Only 15% of respondents say it matters whether a brand comes from a country of which they think highly.

Terms most readily associated with American brands are “quality,” “innovative” and “expensive,” mentioned by 55%, 51% and 46% of respondents, respectively. Biggest drivers of brand affinity across all respondents are “quality,” “trustworthiness” and “familiarity.”

Apple, Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s, Microsoft and Nike were the first American brands that sprang to respondents’ minds.

How brands behave – and their social conscience, especially – is a key concern among respondents. 40% of respondents want a brand that values its customers; 22% want a brand that does good in the world; and 19% want a brand that cares about more than just making money.

Respondents’ understanding of where American brands are from is nuanced, however – in part due to national partnerships and/or national product variation, demonstrating a weakening of the notion of brands having a national identity.

When asked, 31% of Indian respondents think Ford is American; 40% of Chinese respondents think…

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