COVID fatigue sets in—brands have acted appropriately, but consumers are ready to move on

by | May 13, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

It’s a stressful time for all of us, and while consumers have appreciated hearing more frequently from brands during the pandemic, and believe brands have communicated with the right tone and content, new research from Zurich-based omnichannel communications firm Mitto finds that “COVID fatigue” has set in, and consumers are ready to move on and hear about something else now.

The firm’s new global survey examines consumer attitudes and preferences towards brands’ communications with them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the seven regions surveyed, on average 41 percent are ready right now to hear from brands about topics unrelated to COVID-19, rather than next week, next month or later this year.

Brand communicators get kudos for crisis handling

In the survey, conducted in April, 77 percent of respondents said the messages they received from brands over the past few weeks have made them feel like brands care about their well being, and 30 percent said that brands made them feel less anxious about the global coronavirus pandemic—indicating that brands have successfully built strong relationships with consumers and, as a result, consumers want and expect to hear from these brands during both “normal” and difficult times.

“The crisis has been a challenging time for all businesses around the world, and marketers are required to be mindful of how, where and how frequently they engage with their customers,” said Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto, in a news release. “Fortunately, marketers have more technologies than ever before at their disposal to better understand the pulse of their customers and, as our survey showed, they have generally been quite successful with their communication approaches during such a complex period.”

Less people at the street at Time Square due to Coronavirus outbreak

Brands have done a good job winging it

During the COVID-19 crisis, brands have been forced to make judgment calls when it comes to the messages they’re sending consumers and how they choose to communicate with their customers. While most consumers (53 percent) surveyed said that they were hearing from brands more often in the last few weeks, most (73 percent) also agreed that this increase in contact was appropriate. Most (58 percent) people welcomed communication informing them about changes to the business that could affect them during the crisis. Very few (11 percent) consumers said they were not interested in hearing anything from brands regarding COVID-19.

“As we move out of this crisis, brands and their marketers must not underestimate the value of building strong customer relationships during ‘normal’ times that get tested during tough times,” Giacomini added.

Person wearing Face Mask in Front of Billboard

Additional key findings include:

  • When asked which industries they are most interested in hearing from right now, all countries ranked messages from essential services like doctors or banks higher than delivery services (DoorDash, Amazon), except Spain.
  • 6 of the 7 regions surveyed said they were more tolerant of slow communication from small businesses than large companies—however, respondents from China said they were equally as intolerant of slow communication from both small and large businesses.
  • When asked what types of messages consumers want to hear from brands during the crisis, all regions surveyed ranked special offers and coupons highest over availability of services, product updates and satisfaction surveys, indicating an appetite among many consumers to spend.

These findings are based on a Pollfish survey of 7,000 adults distributed into 1,000 responses from each of the following countries: The United States, Brazil, Nigeria, Spain, The United Arab Emirates, China and Australia. The survey ran from April 15th through April 29th, 2020.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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