It’s a difficult time. How can brands possibly survive while remaining sensitive to it all? We pulled key insights from two recent eMarketer podcasts: What Consumers Expect from Brands During the Coronavirus and Effective and Noneffective, Ads During the Coronavirus Outbreak. We highly recommend giving these podcasts a listen. If you don’t have time – or even if you do – we pulled the mentioned statistics and key takeaways.

These are the latest key eMarketer insights for effective brand messaging during the Coronavirus pandemic as of April 8, 2020.

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t be radio silent. There’s still room to be doing some upper funnel brand awareness advertising.
  • Empathy: what we should be thinking about all the time. People are worried about the economy and job security, the outbreak itself, and someone in their family getting sick. 
  • Deliver content that is helpful. Be sensitive to the climate.
  • If you have money to spend during this crisis, you will come out ahead of those who don’t have the money to continue advertising during this time
  • Stay in touch with loyal customers. Use this time to build a relationship.
  • “There is no rapid return to normal. The new world will have trust at its core.” – Richard Edelman

4 things brands should do according to the Edelman Trust Barometer:

  • Show up, do your part, use resources to help
  • Don’t act alone. Try to collaborate with others
  • Solve. Don’t sell.
  • Communicate with emotion, empathy, and facts

What are Consumers Expecting From Brands?

→ According to the Edelman survey, respondents believe brands should: 

  • Tackle social issues
  • Act to protect their employees
  • Keep people informed

→ BUT:

  • 57% of respondents want brands to stop humorous or lighthearted ads
  • Respondents are not paying attention to new products unless they help the pandemic

→ According to Kantar Research: Brands should deliver helpful content in a reassuring tone, and are expected to be supporting employees and hospitals.

  • Only 8% say brands should stop advertising
  • 78% of consumers believe brands should help them in their daily lives
  • 75% saying brands should inform people of what they’re doing 
  • 74% thinking companies should not exploit the situation.

→ 29% of Americans have already begun using a brand due to the innovative or compassionate way they’ve responded to the COVID-19 crisis. (Edelman)

→ 44%  of Americans polled said they only rarely or sometimes engaged with COVID-19-related ads, and 40% said they never do (The Harris Poll)

“There is no rapid return to normal. The new world will have trust at its core, with the brand mandate expanded to solve problems for all, protect all, care for all, collaborate with all and innovate in the public interest.

Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman (quoted in the podcast)

Key Takeaways: 

  • This is a time for branding, not about performance
  • Think about the consumer at this time. Don’t make it all about you. Be Helpful. 
  • Now is about: Authenticity, empathy, understanding people’s new realities
  • Brands are being too cautious and overblocking coronavirus content. It’s news.

Brand Messaging:

  • Emphasize trust and reliability 
  • Be empathetic to individuals’ new realities, be helpful
  • Speak to core brand dimensions
    • Example: clothing should emphasize comfort and CPG brands that make us feel normal and nostalgic should emphasize that.
  • Acknowledge the crisis
    • Coca-Cola and Guinness are examples (below)

What Do Consumers Want?  (AAAA)

  • 43% say they want messages that are reassuring from brands they know and trust  
  • More than half are pleased that brands are making donation 
  • 40% want to know what brands are doing in response to the pandemic
  • 15% don’t want to hear from brands at this time

The Three Types of Brands in this Crisis  (Mediapost)

  1. “All About Me”
  2. “Helpful”
  3. “Friend in Need” 

→ First category was most unappealing, the most appealing is the second. How can you help your customers now? How can you provide comfort, information, and value?

Advertising Near Coronavirus Content?

  • Only a mere 16% says they are NOT likely to engage with an ad adjacent to Coronavirus content (Integral Ad Science)
  • Brands are being too cautious, and it’s bad for the economics of the news organizations.
  • It’s news – like any other news – use it to help people stay informed

→ 38% of Americans agree that brands should advertise as normal (Global Web Index Study)

→ 28% disagree (Global Web Index Study)

Key Insights from the latest eMarketer podcasts on brand messaging.

Here’s More:

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