By James Brown Kantar Australia| Posted: 29 June 2020
Concern towards the situation with Covid-19 in Australia seems to be easing, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Kantar has been monitoring consumers’ reactions and sentiment towards Covid-19 for the last few months, and, whilst we are seeing overall concern towards the situation easing in Australia, there are still some things that are causing concern for consumers.
Firstly, around 6 in 10 people are still worried there will be a second outbreak - and this is even more notable in younger people. The crisis also continues to leave a mark in terms of concerns over the economy, with a lot of Australians (around two-thirds) thinking that it will take a long time for the economy to recover, which in turn leads to a slightly increased worry for the future.
Peoples’ attitudes to personal finances and income
In our recent research, we have seen many Australians being proactive in their financial planning, as well as many who have reported to have already been impacted financially (about half) or expect their income to be affected moving forward.
In the past few months, there have been several financial support packages made available by the government which have certainly helped ease the concern, but there is a genuine risk that as support might lessen the financial situation of many Australians may become more challenging.
Consumers expect brands to be informative, helpful and reassuring
During the crisis, we have continued to check in with Australians on how they feel brands should respond in this situation. This has revealed that consumers want brands and advertising to be informative, helpful and reassuring, and thankfully we have seen this type of response in many brand communications. We have also seen financial tools being more readily available and we would encourage brands to continue with providing this kind of help to their customers.
Consumers are also requesting that brands set an example and guide the changes that are occurring in the way our lifestyles are changing. Naturally, brands also need to be genuine and remember their brand values and in the past few months we have often said that ‘what brands do, or don’t do now may well be remembered for a very long time’. If brands can demonstrate what they are doing to help the community and their employees, this also is seen to strike a strong chord with consumers.
Within superannuation for example, we have seen some organisations such as Industry Super Australia convey messages of reassurance for members in terms of their long-term investments but also on the positive impact super has on the broader economy and employment.
What about advertising and media?
During the pandemic, consumers overall did not expect brands to stop advertising and in many cases advertising that was used or developed pre-Covid was still very appropriate during Covid. This was validated in research through a recent re-testing of ads from 2019 where we found similar responses to creative as previously. Also, from a media perspective, it has been no surprise to see large shifts towards digital touch points and increased TV viewership and so an opportunity also to better deploy the right messaging through these channels. With more time being spent consuming media through digital channels online and through social networks it is now even more important that advertisers use these touchpoints.
We continue to urge brands to think about how they can continue to be great crisis and recovery partners, and this is not about completely changing brand direction but about ensuring we are informative, supportive and guiding change that is true to our brand. We know from our extensive work that strong brands grow faster but are also better insulated in more challenging times.
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