Consumer expectation of brands in the age of COVID-19

Advertising today is filled with messages that connect brands and businesses with solutions to challenges people face during the pandemic emergency. The overall messages convey a sense of solidarity, of reassurance.

But what are the new expectations of brands by consumers in this environment?

The Edelman Trust Barometer wanted to find out, and conducted COVID-19-specific research. In an interview published in Forbes, Edelman New York’s president Jennifer Cohan talked about some outcomes.

Here are some highlights from the article:

  • Most trusted? Employers: Fully 90% of survey respondents look to companies and brands to lead in protecting the well-being and financial security of their employees and suppliers, even if it means suffering big financial losses during the pandemic.
  • Businesses more trusted than government: More than half of survey respondents (55%) said that brands and companies are responding both more quickly and more effectively than government.
  • Consumers care about principles: Nearly half (48%) of all consumers believe it is easier to get brands to address social problems than to get government to take action.
  • Consumers have expectations of businesses: Here are four takeaways from the research, as quoted in the article by Ms. Cohen:
    • Show up and do your part: Brands have a vital role to play. Now is not the time to disappear, but to show up and use all your resources and creativity to make a difference.
    • Don’t act alone: There is strength in collaboration. Truly helping people during this crisis requires a joining of forces with others, most critically government.
    • Solve, don’t sell: Brands should focus all efforts on finding appropriate and meaningful solutions to the problems people are facing today.
    • Communicate with emotion, compassion and facts: People are reassured by positive brand actions and commitments. Communicate with empathy to help both inform and calm.

Messaging always matters, but consumers are more sensitive than usual to how brands and businesses are positioning themselves during this pandemic emergency. For more guidance from Edelman on brand communications in the age of COVID-19, click here to read the full article at Forbes.

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