The Buyer
Edelman Covid-19 Report: brands’ response will dictate their futures

Edelman Covid-19 Report: brands’ response will dictate their futures

The actions you take now as a brand, retailer or drinks business will have a long term impact on how you are regarded as a company to trust by your customers, according to the latest findings in the highly respected global Edelman Trust Barometer report. It asked 12,000 consumers in 12 key markets to assess their attitudes and responses to what steps brands and companies are taking to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. It makes for fascinating reading. How does your business stand up to what consumers might expect from you?

Richard Siddle
1st April 2020by Richard Siddle
posted in Insight,

Consumers are watching every move that brands and businesses are taking in how they respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the new Edelman Trust Barometer report.

It’s not just your business and your staff that you need to be thinking about in how you respond to the Covid-19 crisis. The spotlight is very much on you as a company, particularly if you are brand, a retailer, or a business that operates first hand with consumers. Eight in 10 consumers (81%) said they have to be able to trust a brand is doing the right thing at this time. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of consumers say how brands respond to the pandemic now will have a “huge impact” on their likelihood to buy their products in the future.

The report analyses the responses from 12,000 consumers in 12 of the world’s leading economies. The situation is moving so fast that some brands and businesses have already lost out. A third of consumers said they have already decided to stop buying a brand that they felt was not acting appropriately in how they have responded to the Covid-19 outbreak. This was even higher in some countries, rising to 76% in Brazil and 60% in India.

They are also willing to switch their behaviour and spending towards brands that they do see have stepped up to the mark.

It’s clear consumers also want brands and businesses to be doing more than just look after their own interests. Ninety per cent want them to be doing what they can to help the government and relief agencies to address the crisis. Moves like local and national distilleries and big drinks producers such as LVMH switching resources to make hand sanitisers are very much the actions that consumers want and expect to see at this time.

Put your staff first

Being seen to be doing the right thing by your staff is crucial at this time. It’s why Tim Martin and Wetherspoon has had such a fierce backlash to his initial response to not pay his staff but simply lay them off before his public climbdown.

Businesses need to be protecting the wellbeing and financial security of their employees, say 90% of consumers in this report. Even it does result in big financial losses. Fifty-two per cent of respondents said brands ‘must’ do this to earn or keep their trust, while a further 38 per cent said they ‘hoped’ brands would do this.

Consumers also want brands and businesses to be clear and open about what they are doing with 90% of customers expecting brands to keep the public fully informed of changes to how they are now behaving and operating.

Eighty-four per cent 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.

It is noticeable how few April Fool jokes have been produced this week which is in keeping with the 57% who do not want to see advertising or communcations that is too humorous or light-hearted in tone.

Stand up and be counted

It’s also a time for business leaders not to hide behind statements but to come out and be noticed and speak out about what they are doing for their business, staff and customers.

Equally those companies and brands that are willing to compile and share key information and data about what they are doing and also what impact it is having on their lives will also be well regarded.

Communication is also a key factor in what consumers think about what brands and businesses are doing at this time. Keeping quiet and staying behind your corporate walls is not the approach they want to see.

Being able to show you are offering solutions and coming up with positive ways forward is also the best approach to be taking.

Where you communicate is also important with the email being seen as the most effective direct route of action to take that does not involve spending any money.