Opinion

Cooper Tire: We asked Americans, and learned a lot about reliability

We live in a fast-paced world. There’s no question that our daily lives are more complex, our to-do lists longer and the distances we typically travel greater than, say, a century or even 20 years ago. And how are we navigating these demands? While we might not consciously acknowledge it, we rely on a variety of items to go about our day-to-day smoothly. In fact, reliability is an unsung hero in our busy days. Consider the emotional response we feel when something we typically rely on doesn’t come through – so, we wanted to take a moment and understand what some of those uncelebrated items might be.

Cooper Tires recently did a deep dive into what Americans rely on and why, and we found that in daily life there are some things that clearly rise to the top. Some of the most reliable items surprised me, but overall, what I learned is that in these most uncertain of times, while some things change, it’s good to know that others are always there for you.

First, some information about the reliability survey. We conducted an online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults to determine which household items are the most important to Americans’ daily lives. The top 10 items (in rank order) are: Wi-Fi/the internet, cell phone, toothpaste/toothbrush, personal vehicle, credit/debit card, tires on a personal vehicle, shampoo, glasses/contact lenses, microwave and live TV (on cable, satellite, etc.).

For me, it is notable that while Wi-Fi and cell phones top the list, the rest of the top 10 is made up of items that have been staples of American life for decades. Some of the lower ranking items also proved insightful. For example, ridesharing, streaming TV and food delivery all ranked lower on the survey, suggesting that some of the newer trends we read so much about have yet to become things we cannot live without. And yet, there was one notable exception. One demographic group—parents–ranked those items (ridesharing, streaming TV and food delivery) higher than the general survey population. Our theory is that for parents, convenience is an important part of reliability.

The survey results are more than just a simple ranking. They also factor in emotional attributes, including anxiety, happiness and identity. And, it was not surprising to me that when we isolated the attributes to measure emotional impact, personal vehicles ranked highest. Beyond how much we rely on our personal vehicles, they are also part of our personal identity and can elicit happiness (on a family road trip, perhaps) as well as anxiety (when encountering a traffic jam or breakdown). In any case, America’s car culture does not seem to be in danger of being replaced anytime soon.

We also asked the survey respondents to consider regularity of use and how each item contributes to their overall quality of life. One hundred years ago it may have been electricity over Wi-Fi or horses and buggies instead of personal vehicles. With today’s rapid technological advances, Americans’ reliability preferences may be very different in a decade.

In the end, what we rely on the most are those hard-working items that make our lives work. We may not even think about them (until they stop working for us), but it’s good to know they are there whenever we need them. They are durable and enduring. They perform consistently over time. Sometimes they even go the extra mile. That’s why reliability is so important and why Cooper decided to study the importance of reliability in our daily lives. Because whether it is a morning cup of coffee (which, to my surprise wasn’t in the top 10) or a trusted toothbrush, we all need to know we can count on some things to get us through the day.

For me, when I know I can rely on certain items to perform as promised, I feel more confident and relaxed. While we may take our toothbrush or debit card for granted, at Cooper we are excited to celebrate reliability in all it’s forms. As you go through your day to day, perhaps you, too, can take a moment to pause and think about what you can count on most.

Jessica Egerton, Director of Brand Development at Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, is responsible for leading the brand strategy and marketing efforts for Cooper. For more information on the reliability study from Cooper visit cooperreliabilitystudy.com.

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