(Re)Searching for Clarity During COVID-19

Apr 16, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused mass uncertainty around the world and fundamentally altered businesses operations for the foreseeable future. Some companies may view this crisis as a time to slow down and hit the pause button indefinitely, let the chips fall where they may, and sort things out in the future.

But that’s not the approach your brand should be taking. It’s certainly a time to regroup and seek clarity, but not the time to go radio silent. In fact, only 15% of people say they don’t want to hear from brands right now according to one survey on the matter. In another study, a mere 8% said they think that brands should stop advertising.

It’s been proven time and again that it’s much better to be proactive rather than reactive during a crisis. And while the circumstances are different this time around, the basic principles remain the same. You need to continue to communicate and engage with your consumers. If you don’t, you’re risking brand visibility and value while giving up ground to your competitors who are acting.

But what exactly do you say to your audience? How do you ensure you strike the right notes and create impactful, effective marketing campaigns? What are the short-term realities facing your business, and how do you balance the needs in the here and now with your long-term strategy? There’s understandably a lot of confusion, and it can be difficult to decide how best to move forward. It’s crucial you take a measured approach – one that’s informed by real audience insights – and avoid taking shots in the dark.

As the global leader in agile market research, the GutCheck team has received quite a bit of feedback from our clients looking for guidance. Some of the questions they’ve asked us include:

  • What types of research should we be doing right now?
  • How have survey responses and engagement rates been impacted?
  • Are people less likely to take surveys because they are stressed, more likely because they’re trapped at home, or has there been no change?
  • How can we use research to inform our short-term vs. long-term strategies?
  • What are longer behavioral trends that might happen in the future that we can start to get ahead of?
  • Are we seeing notable differences across markets?

We’re seeing that our client base understands the need to adapt and respond during this uncertain time. That’s why they’re moving forward with research projects and basing their next decisions on hard data.

For example:

  • One healthcare company is conducting a study to understand how they can answer the current information needs of physicians.
  • A global healthcare insurer wanted to test marketing campaigns among consumers, seniors, and employers to ensure they develop messaging that moves the needle.
  • A major online file hosting company is conducting a study to learn more about the needs and attitudes of employees working remotely so they can respond in a way that aligns with those.
  • One financial services client had created an advertising campaign prior to the outbreak to promote its student loan offerings. But knowing that COVID has thrown the education system and personal finances into chaos, they wanted to make sure that the ads still resonate with students and families without coming off as insensitive. They also wanted to learn how the pandemic has impacted consumer sentiment around student loans in general.

Speed has been a common theme across every research project we’re undertaking in response to this crisis – our clients need insights fast. Recognizing this, we recently launched our Crisis Brand Tracker, a solution purpose-built to uncover audience insights at a rapid cadence in an efficient and cost-effective manner, without having to compromise rigorous standards. 

Consumer attitudes and behaviors are changing rapidly, and you need to realize that staying agile during this crisis is critical to your ability to adapt, survive, and come out stronger on the other side. GutCheck is here to help you during COVID-19. If you’re looking for consumer insights to help determine your next steps in a time of uncertainty, set up some time with our team for a personalized analysis of your needs.

Written By

Jacqueline Cox

Jacqueline Cox

Client Services Manager

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