Brands absent for six months or more from TV advertising owing to the Coronavirus crisis will experience a 39 percent reduction in brand communication awareness, says Kantar Consumer Survey.

Kantar Media, which provides intelligence on media consumption, performance, and value globally, has released its “Covid-19 Barometer”, offering insights into consumer sentiment globally in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Kantar surveyed more than 25,000 consumers across 30 markets to understand how marketers could engage with their audiences.

According to the survey, 77% of consumers want brands to educate members of the public about their efforts in the Coronavirus crisis and now prefer brands that make their staff a top priority. Over 62% urged companies to make flexible work arrangements for their staff while as much as 78% called on them to take care of employee health.

Only a small segment of 8% of respondents said brands should stop advertising.

Based on this insight, the Kantar report urges brands to avoid stopping advertising and “going dark” to save money, which, in the long term, will hurt brand awareness.

The report reckons that companies taking six months off TV, for instance, will see a 39% reduction in brand communication awareness, which could “potentially delay recovery in a post-pandemic world”.

Right Type Of Advertising Content

In terms of how brands could construct and broadcast content thematically, 40% of the respondents said brands should “avoid humorous tones” in their marketing, with 70% asserting they would like to look to brands to be “reassuring” in the tone of their advertising.

Kantar notes: “Consider your messaging and advertising strategy carefully. There’s a fine balance between being seen as helpful and profiteering, so ensure you are taking the right tone to build your brand,” adding, “there is still a place for advertising. Consumers still find this useful, and continuing to communicate will help your brand recover faster.”

Media Consumption

Currently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report says consumers have increased their browsing by 70%, while TV viewing has risen 63%. On the social media front, consumer engagement has jumped a massive 61% over normal usage rates, with WhatsApp experiencing the biggest gains, with a 40% spike in usage over the last few weeks.

Countries who were part of the early phases of the pandemic, according to the Kantar report, saw WhatsApp usage rise 27%, while those in the middle phase experienced a 41% rise, and countries in the late phase 51%.

Facebook usage saw an increase of 37%. In China, homegrown social media apps Wechat and Weibo registered a 58% rise in usage.

The biggest increase in usage across messaging platforms comes from users in the age group of 18 to 34. WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram all recorded a 40% increases in usage from 35 year olds.

Kantar also found 52% of respondents reposing trust in traditional nationwide news channels, such as TV and newspapers, for the latest pandemic information and news. Close to 48% look for information on government websites. Interestingly, social media platforms came way below in consumers’ consideration, with only 11% of respondents regarding it as “trustworthy”.