Research

Beyond business as usual: Brand reactions to COVID-19

New Twitter research explores perceptions of brand reactions in relation to COVID-19 and how companies can use their influence to make a positive difference across society.

Craving business as normal
 

With people struggling to adapt to the realities of lockdown life, there is a strong appetite for business as normal amongst our Twitter Insiders community.

When it comes to the activities of brands, 68% think that companies should continue to advertise their products as normal, while 77% believe they should continue to sell.

Just 30% think it would be insensitive for brands to continue these activities.   

This is backed by the understanding that business as normal can be vital for many brands, with 69% of Twitter Insiders recognising that companies need to advertise to keep their businesses afloat. 

By continuing business as normal, brands are also helping people make sense of the current situation, with 51% of people on Twitter believing that seeing or hearing an ad can give them a much-needed dose of normality.

But brands have a bigger role to play
 

Outside of business as normal, people now recognise that brands have an opportunity to make a bigger, more positive impact in a COVID-19 world.

And our Twitter Insiders agree, with 77% saying that they feel more positive about brands that are making an effort to support society in these challenging times. 

But how can brands make a difference?

Here’s how Twitter Insiders believe brands can play their part during COVID-19:

  • Supporting frontline staff (82% consider this useful)

  • Supporting vulnerable people in the community in any way they can (81% consider this useful)
  • Supporting their local community (79% consider this useful)

  • Showcasing acts of kindness (69% consider this useful)
  • Boosting positivity and sharing positive stories (61% consider this useful)
  • Talking about their experiences as a business (49% consider this useful)

Mind the tone
 

Here’s the caveat... 

While Twitter Insiders may be receptive to advertising during COVID-19, and many believe brands have an important role to play, they are also clear that brands must be conscious of the tone of voice they are using on social media. 

In fact, only 6% of Twitter Insiders believe that brands should continue to use their normal tone of voice to communicate during COVID-19, which gives brands the challenge (and opportunity) to change the way they communicate with consumers in the new reality.

Source:
Twitter Insiders, UK only, 20 March, n=459

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