As the U.S. economy begins to gradually reopen, marketers are wondering what consumers are thinking. Do they intend to return to shopping as normal? Are their feelings about their favorite brands changing? How do they want marketers to interact with them in these new and changing times?

Influence Central, a marketing strategy firm, conducted a survey (“Brand Loyalty During the COVID-19 Crisis”) of 700 consumers in April 2020 to find out. Its conclusions? Consumers are looking for brands to be sensitive to their financial concerns, sensitive to the national pain caused by the pandemic, and willing to reach out to those in need. 

According to the survey:

  • 88% of consumers are currently searching out cost-saving promotions.
  • 86% of consumers are seeking deals.
  • 83% want freebies.

Consumers also want brands to be sensitive to the overall pain being felt by the nation at this time. They can do that by being extra customer-focused:

  • 61% want customer support from brands.
  • 58% are impressed by brands providing a necessary service.
  • 55% value brands making changes to their normal business to help their consumers.

Brands need to be careful about their messaging, too. Consumers are not looking for the hard sell right now:

  • 58% value responsible messaging.
  • 54% value charitable contributions by the brand.
  • 50% of consumers value brands addressing coronavirus concerns.

What consumers don’t want to see is silence. Nearly one-third (29%) feel uncomfortable when their favorite brands remain silent during this time, and nearly all of them want their brands to take it seriously. Only 21% would welcome any type of humor or attempt at lightening the situation.

In other words, consumers want brands to be good citizens and care about their customers beyond the sale. This has always been the case, but it’s never been more important than now.  So encourage your clients to be marketing, but that marketing should look and sound different than in the past.