Hartshorn hand sanitiser

How consumers want brands to respond during COVID-19

April 1, 2020
By Alana House

The way brands respond to COVID-19 will have an impact on future purchasing behaviour for consumers, according to Edelman Trust Barometer.

Edelman conducted a poll of 12,000 people across the world’s leading economies last week, which found one in three respondents said they had already stopped using a brand that was not acting appropriately in response to the public health crisis.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) said how brands respond to the pandemic will have a ‘huge impact’ on their likelihood to buy their products.

Globally, 62% of consumers said they did not think their country would make it through the crisis without brands playing a ‘critical role’ in the fight against the coronavirus. And 90% wanted brands to partner government and relief agencies to address the crisis.

To maintain trust, 52% of consumers demand of companies is that they protect the wellbeing and financial security of their employees, even if they suffer big financial losses.

And 89% of consumers said brands should shift to producing products that help people meet the new challenges presented by the virus, and/or offer free or lower-priced products to health workers or other high-risk individuals.

In recent weeks companies such as Diageo, Hartshorn and CUB have switched at least part of their production capacity to making hand sanitisers.

Bundaberg Rum hand sanitiser

In terms of communications, 84% of respondents now expect firms to focus advertising on how products and services can help people cope with pandemic-related life challenges, and the vast majority expect brands to show they are aware of the crisis and its impact.

Lion COVID-19 ads

Lion, for example, launched an advertising campaign over the weekend to reinforce the importance of social distancing.

As for channels of communication, consumers prefer brands to communicate virus-related issues via traditional media (45%) or email (42%) to social media (19-31%).

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