The way brands have communicated and interacted with audiences during the Coronavirus pandemic has likely had a longer-term impact on their business, with new research from IAB UK and YouGov indicating that over three quarters (79%) of people are likely to favour brands who’ve responded well during these unprecedented times.

Out of 2,123 adults who were surveyed, 75% also said they favour brands with clear and frequent communication as well as implementing safety measures (62%).

Meanwhile, 80% said they will be less likely to purchase products or services from companies that they feel have been insensitive or taken advantage of the situation.

Overall, people have been attuned to how brands have acted in response to the crisis, with 35% paying more attention than usual to how companies have behaved.

However, over two in five adults (45%) felt that too many brands have tried to take advantage of the situation via their level of advertising.

Supermarket brands most favourable

The findings also reveal the brands that consumers have felt most favourable towards during lockdown, with supermarkets dominating the top 10.

Tesco emerged as the leading brand by a substantial margin (spontaneously mentioned by 15% of respondents), followed by Asda and Morrisons. Amazon and Boots were the only non-supermarket brands to make the top 10.

When questioned, consumers pointed to the speed of getting safety measures in place, prioritisation of key workers and good treatment of staff as some of the things that really made the difference to how they felt about brands.

However, clear and frequent communication stands out as the main driver of positive sentiment with 75% of people feeling more positively towards companies that have clearly communicated how services have adapted.

At least four in five adults want more information regarding physical store changes and opening hours (86%), information on adapted delivery services (81%) and details of increased safety procedures (80%).

“With so much uncertainty in our daily lives at the moment, it’s clear that consumers want more – not less – communication from brands. This crisis has highlighted stark differences in people’s feelings towards those that they feel have reacted well and those that they see as having behaved poorly,” said Elizabeth Lane, head of research and measurement at IAB UK.

“As demand flows back into the economy, this research indicates that it’s those brands that have kept consumers informed, reassured and continued to deliver a reliable service that stand to gain,” Lane added.