- Fifty-six percent of consumers are happy to hear how brands are helping out communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted on March 18 by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) and real-time market research platform Suzy.
- The report found that 43% of consumers find it reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust during these uncertain times. Another 40% want to hear how brands are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as with cleaning procedures. Only 15% of consumers said they did not want to hear from brands at this time.
- The report also found that consumer behavior is changing due to the virus. Almost half (49%) said they are not eating out, 27% are ordering food delivery and/or takeout. Some 44% said they aren’t comfortable going outside for non-essential items and another 37% said they are buying items online not in stores.
The latest research from the 4A's illustrates the mostly positive attitudes that consumers have toward brand communications related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The most popular thing that people wanted to hear from brands is how they are helping out, such as donating money or products to consumers, or how they are offering paid time off for employees. This type of messaging was even more popular among millennials and Gen Z respondents, who had shown interest in purpose-driven messaging from brands before the pandemic started. These age groups are also mostly likely to be impacted by layoffs, per the 4A's. By generation, 62.5% of 18-24 year-olds, 60.5% of 25-34 year-olds and 55.9% of 35-49 year olds said it was important for companies to offer paid time off to employees dealing with forced closures.
Messages that highlight the safety and hygiene processes are also resonating with consumers, per the survey. Ads that give consumers details about increased cleaning processes, for instance, are popular among consumers 50 and older with 47.8% of 50-64 year-olds and 51.9% of 65+ finding these messages important.
Consumers were also asked how they are changing their behaviors in response to the pandemic. As to be expected, fewer people are eating out and going stores to shop. Still, the data reveals that many people are still ordering food from restaurants and ordering other items online.
As brands navigate these challenging times, the 4A's report points to a few of the ways forward when it comes to finding the right messaging, including that messaging targeted at younger demographics resonates when it focuses on how the brand is supporting their communities. Ads aiming to reach older audiences should consider highlighting how the brand plans to keep consumers that order online safe from the virus.
The 4A's joins other recent research in trying help advertisers understand how the quickly escalating pandemic is impacting consumer attitudes. A new report from Ace Metrix took the temperature on consumers' emotional response to coronavirus-related ads and found that recent efforts from Guinness and Ford addressing the health crisis scored points with ads promoting supportive measures. Guinness ran a St. Patrick's Day ad and pledged to donate $500,000 to communities affected by the pandemic. Ford's ads promote financial relief programs that will help customers impacted by the pandemic defer payments on car purchases.