Companies’ behavior mid-pandemic influences future brand loyalty, survey finds

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Eighty-three percent of consumers said behavior by a company’s leadership during the pandemic will influence whether they buy from that company after the global health crisis subsides, according to a new Lucid report on behalf of PR agency MWWPR shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Another 84% of respondents reported that how companies prioritize their employees’ welfare during this time will become a more important factor on what they buy, while 81% said businesses have a responsibility to help solve social or policy issues, even those outside their product category or industry.
  • Nearly three quarters of consumers (73%) in the survey conducted between May 1-3 said they want to hear from corporate leaders now as the general public seeks information from trusted authorities.

Dive Insight:

The study conducted early this month highlights that consumers are observing how brands behave during the coronavirus pandemic, and those actions now will likely influence future purchasing and customer loyalty.

Companies that want to win beyond the pandemic may consider extra efforts to support their employees during the crisis, whether that’s finding ways to help them financially or showing appreciation for their hard work. It appears that consumers respond positively when brands contribute to COVID-19 relief funds in a bid to help the community beyond their corporation, per the study. This includes brands helping in ways that extend beyond the typical realm of their industry.

PepsiCo, for instance, recently launched the “Stronger Together” campaign to celebrate essential workers during the pandemic and is delivering care packages to overworked healthcare workers and promoting messages of hope and support. This illustrates how some business are going beyond the confines of their usual marketing efforts.

This study follows recent Ace Metrix findings about ads that showcased how companies were helping out during the crisis tended to be the most effective. Guinness’ normally celebratory spot around St. Patrick’s Day showed how the beer maker donated money to out-of-work bartenders, and Ford’s commercial promoting new financing options were seen in a positive light by consumers.

Still, companies must navigate carefully around how they promote their messaging. McDonald’s and Popeyes both launched cause-marketing initiatives around the pandemic while battling internal challenges as their own workers and franchisees clash on issues related to the coronavirus. Meanwhile, 41% of consumers are now ready to hear from brands about topics unrelated to the pandemic, signaling that some folks are tiring of all the similar messaging, according to a recent study from Mitto.

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