Consumer patriotism gains popularity

In the wake of the economic recession, there has been a renewed emphasis on buying American-made products to support the U.S. economy. Last year, Diane Sawyer pledged to buy only U.S. made products, citing that if every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods, it would create almost 10,000 new jobs in the country. She urged viewers to join her pledge, and the campaign is one of the many sources bringing attention to a growing trend of consumer patriotism. With that, consumers are embracing the ‘Buy American’ trend because it overlaps with several other trends and touches on numerous values.

Job outsourcing is still an issue on Americans’ mind, and with the jobs market struggling to regain ground, this issue is an even bigger problem. When asked why more Apple products aren’t made in the United States, Apple responded by saying that ‘Made in the USA’ is no longer a viable option for most Apple products. Consumers realize that buying local to supports the local economy and keeps jobs in the country for themselves and their neighbors.

As consumers continue to think more about the economic and ecological costs that are involved in transporting a product from one place to another, choosing to ‘Buy American’ taps into consumer’s sense of thrift and environmentalism.

Even though more people are interested in buying American, 41% said they tried but were unable to identify where a product was made, and 39% said they could not find a U.S.-made version of the item they wished to buy. A number of brands are addressing this issue by celebrating their American patriotism.

Toyota’s new CSR page Toyota In Action shows Toyota’s commitment to working to help the U.S. communities that they are a part of (e.g., energizing schools in Kentucky, taking pride in Texas).

Late last year, Starbucks launched their Create Jobs for USA program by selling $5 dollar bracelets, with 100% of the proceeds going to small business loans through the Opportunity Finance Network. CEO Howard Shultz called on Americans to start taking care of America, “We can’t wait for Washington, we need to step up.”

For a commercial that first ran during the Super Bowl halftime, Chrysler cast Clint Eastwood to deliver the second installment of their Imported From Detroit campaign. The overarching message behind the patriotic rally cry was that just as Chrysler fought through the Great Recession, so will America. “It’s halftime America. And our second half is about to begin.”

The Shared Values Perspective

With an increasingly globalized economy, consumers value companies that are proactively transparent about their supply chains and work to support the U.S. economy. Companies should tout any components or even packaging that is sourced in the United States if they wish to leverage this strong sentiment.

For more on The Shared Values Perspective and the Values Economy, visit www.thevaluesinstitute.org.

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