Australians are noticing what businesses do more than ever and how they act at this time really matters, was the message from GfK in a recent webinar on how COVID-19 has impacted Australian lifestyle behaviours and habits.
According to the latest GfK Consumer Pulse study, 73% of survey respondents said they noticed examples of companies being a force for good, while 76% noticed examples of companies taking advantage of the crisis.
“In this moment of heightened attention and heightened emotions, our actions and omissions will potentially have outsized impacts on how people view us into the future and the relationships they have with our business and our brands,” GfK Head of Melbourne, Greg Sampson said.
One recommendation from GfK is to maintain marketing and brand presence as much as possible rather than ‘hibernating’, to take advantage of the significant increases in media consumption and engagement.
The GfK Consumer Pulse study revealed that 62% of consumers said they are spending more time browsing the internet, 47% are spending more time watching VOD services such as Foxtel and Netflix, 25% are spending more time listening to the radio and 22% are spending more time sharing posts on social media.
“Past research from previous recessions such as the GFC indicate that companies who maintain their advertising through the downturn experienced higher growth afterwards than those who did not. Whilst increasing or maintaining ad spend isn’t always possible for financial or other reasons, those who can, should,” GfK General Manager, Rob Highett-Smith said.
Now is the time for brands to review their media planning and understand what types of media will provide the greatest return on investment (ROI) and the best results in the current environment.
“’Going dark’ can impact on bonding and engagement metrics as well as salience, potentially undoing a lot of the brand investment made to date. It is also important to use empathy and be cognisant of your customers’ experiences,” Highett-Smith said.
The GfK study found that in light of significant impacts on supply chains due to COVID-19, more than one-third (36%) of consumers said they have encountered out of stock items and in turn, almost one-quarter (24%) purchased brands they normally wouldn’t and of those, 17% will continue to buy those brands post-pandemic.