Coronavirus and The Digital Landscape

In a time where working from home, panic-buying and self-isolation are becoming our norms, information is our most powerful tool. Some of the team at Return recently joined a webinar by Kantar, who are a world leading data, insights and consulting company on the early insights around the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to share some of the core themes and insights into the Coronavirus impact on the digital world and how businesses can bounce back once life returns to normal.


1. Lessons from China

With China hit first by the pandemic, researchers have now gathered enough data to help other countries learn from their experiences so far. Kantar shared that markets like clothing, fitness and travel saw a decrease in spend during the pandemic. However, the potential rebound after the pandemic will see massive increases in many markets, especially dining-out and travel. Of course, China’s market has its nuances from the UK market, but we expect that moving out of the pandemic consumer behaviours will have been changed – ever more digital due to the new normal of an inside and online life, which is currently being experienced by the majority.


2. How Are People Feeling?

People are seeking ways to divert their attention away from the pandemic, with 9% looking to get crafty and creative and around 40% finding comfort in humour with what they see on the Internet. The key takeaway for how brands can retain a good brand-consumer relationship falls under these six tactics:

  • Tone of voice towards the consumer
  • Enable future planning
  • Be an enabler of resourcefulness
  • Create moments of calm
  • Help people learn new skills
  • Identify the essentials that matter to your consumer


3. Implications for Brands 

Perhaps, the most important question is what does all this mean for your business?

Don’t lose sight of the long term. Previous epidemics/disasters have shown short-term impact, but recovery is inevitable. Kantar stressed that brand saliency will keep your business afloat and relevant when we look towards the future. Where possible for brands, maintaining a continued level of spend on marketing will pave the way for growth post-COVID-19. Strong brands which continue to spend can see up to a 9 x times faster recovery after a decline in market.  With media consumption increasing rapidly whilst people are home-bound, there is also an opportunity to engage with your consumers. Without being insensitive or exploitative, advertising needs to inform, reassure and help your consumers’ needs.


4. Media Consumption is Surging 

In the hardest hit countries, total messaging has increased more than 50% and group video calls have increased by over 1,000% during the last month. Italy, the worst hit country, has seen people spending 70% more time in apps. The way we consume information is changing too. The 18-34-year-old category in the UK, in particular, are adapting rapidly to longer screen time, digesting news online and spending 34% more time on YouTube. In this fast-paced environment, staying present online is key.


5. Creators are adapting content

Instagram has seen a significant increase in home-cooking and fitness classes being posted in the past few weeks. The likes of Natalie Portman, Chris Martin from Coldplay and Alicia Keys have taken to Social Media to raise morale. With concerts, meditation, West End shows, online classes for children and even a wedding(!) being streamed online.


6. Brands need to step in 

The big brands like Aldi and McDonald’s have shifted marketing and advertising to a never-before seen approach. Taking a far more human tone and embracing the challenge together is the message their recent marketing has been structured around.

Want to know more about how your business can bounce back once the Covid-19 pandemic is over or how you can better manage your marketing strategies now, don’t hesitate to get in touch

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