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Study gives brands direction on how to stay connected in pandemic world

Latest consumer study by Kantar has identified clear pitfalls to be avoided in advertising during the time of pandemic such as the world is experiencing today.

In the report which polled 25,000 consumers across over 30 countries including Nigeria, 75% of the consumers identified exploiting coronavirus situation to promote  brands will be a drawback for brands.

During this time, 40% of the respondents said brands should avoid humorous tones in their campaigns.

As brands are sceptical on advertising during this time, the report said, there is very little expectation that brands should stop advertising with only 8% of respondents identifying it as a priority for brands.

As many brands consider ‘going dark’ to save costs Kantar estimates that a six-month absence from TV will result in a 39% reduction in total brand communication awareness, potentially delaying recovery in the post-pandemic world.

The report said for those that do continue advertising, a clear majority of consumers expect advertising to make a positive contribution to society; 77% of the consumers said the advertising should ‘Talk about how the brand is helpful in the new everyday life’; 75% said companies should ‘Inform about their efforts to face the situation’, while 70 % said advertisement should offer a reassuring tone. 70%

The report also identified an increase in media consumption across channels as countries, including Nigeria move deeper into the coronavirus pandemic. But among all the media news channels which have gained in usage, traditional nationwide broadcast and newspapers are the most trusted sources of information, says Kantar report.

The report said 52% of the 25,000 consumers across over 30 countries polled identified traditional media (broadcast and newspapers) as ‘Trustworthy’ source.

“Government agency websites are regarded as trustworthy by only 48% of people, suggesting that government measures are not providing citizens around the world with assurances and security” while  social media platforms are regarded by only 11% of people as a source of trustworthy information.

Kantar is the world’s foremost evidence-based insights and consulting company. In its latest report, the global firm spoke to over 25,000 people in over 30 countries including Nigeria between 14th and 23rd March 2020 with 500 interviews per country.

In later stages of the pandemic, the report said web browsing increased by 70%, followed by (traditional) TV viewing increasing by 63%. Social media engagement increased by 61% over normal usage rates.

According to the report, Whatsapp experienced the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected. In the early phase of the pandemic Whatsapp usage increased 27%, rising to 51% in the late phase of the pandemic. “Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced a 40%+ increase in usage from under 35-year olds”.

In spite of usage increase in social media, the report said there is a crisis in trust as traditional nationwide news channels (broadcast and newspaper) remain the most trusted sources of information.

The report also identified that some markets including Nigeria are more optimistic than others, believing that their economy will recover quickly once the situation dies down.

China was more optimistic with 67% followed by Nigeria with 58%. Saudi Arabia came third with 49%. South Africa 32% and Spain was less optimistic with 20%.

The report also showed that people are making many changes to their lifestyle in response to the outbreak. This include washing hands more often/for longer period;  avoiding non-essential social contact; avoiding visits to pubs, cafes and restaurants when possible; self-isolating at home; avoiding public transport when possible; and working from home.

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