In response to the announced relaxation of coronary measures, people are taking a little more freedom. But people are still worried. Although brands are less relevant in this time of crisis, it seems that brands are more relevant for people who are more worried. Brands also need to keep communicating. Consumers even expect this. But whether you also have to adapt your communication depends on your target group.

Consumers are taking to the streets again, but worries haven't gone away yet
Although more and more people have been taking to the streets in the past week and spending time on activities outside the home, that doesn't mean the worries have gone away. Almost half (46%) are worried about something, especially about an approaching economic crisis, but also more and more about their own financial situation, their own mental health and that of their loved ones. The unemployed and pensioners in particular are increasingly worried about an impending economic crisis and their own financial situation.

Especially for people with concerns, brands are more relevant
The trend towards the declining importance of brands in this crisis continues this week. For the fourth week in a row, we see a drop in the BRiC score from 2.61 at the start of the corona measures to 2.48 now. But here is a nuance in place. We see the decreasing trend especially among the elderly, the low-educated and people who live in a city. Apparently they are now more influenced by other factors, such as price or convenience. On the other hand, the relevance is increasing among young people, highly educated people and people who live in villages. For young people, the relevance of brands has now returned to the pre-corona level.

A first, deeper statistical analysis of brand relevance shows a dividing line between people who are worried and people who are less worried. We see a clear connection between the amount of concerns people have and the extent to which brands are relevant in their choice process. In short, for people with more concerns, brands are more relevant.

Martin Leeflang, CEO Validators: 'This was an important reason to set up the monitor together with the VU: we now see a link between loss of control, increasing uncertainty and the importance of brands. There is an important dichotomy between the more 'carefree' and those who are worried, with pensionados showing a sharp rise this week. With an increase of +12% they are now more worried about their own financial situation (32% to 44%).

The observation is in line with recent scientific research that shows that how people feel influences their buying behaviour. Specifically, consumers who experience a loss of control try to compensate this by buying products that fulfill a basic need or solve a problem. This is also reflected in the monitor. The most relevant product categories are, and will continue to be, food and personal care and health products. The most relevant brands, which are mentioned spontaneously, are the large supermarket chains, drugstores and a cleaning brand such as Dettol.

Rob Revet, brand strategist at FNDMNTL and member of the expert panel: 'Almost six in ten consumers say they have little influence on the current situation. We also see that brands that meet our basic needs or offer a sense of security and control are now clearly emerging. It is quite possible that just buying these brands gives consumers the feeling of having more control over their situation'.

Communicating in times of corona: one size does not fit all
Despite reduced relevance, brands need to keep communicating. 42% of people expect this. But whether brands also need to adapt their communication to the current situation is questionable. Especially young people find this less relevant. Last week, 54% of young people found it necessary to adapt, now only 40% think so. Young people are also the age group that has the most difficulty with the measures. 75% have difficulty with the limitations in social contact. There seems to be an opportunity for brands that help young people escape from everyday reality or make it more bearable. On the other hand, in older age groups (35+) the number of people expecting adjustments is increasing.

Gijs de Beus, strategist at Friends & Foes and member expert panel: 'Research by System1 shows that pre-corona advertising is doing just as well or even better at the moment. Especially emotional, narrative advertising works better. So use it among young people. Offer some relief, give them a tailgate. And if you respond to the situation, humor can't hurt. We've seen Burger King do this, for example. In the Netherlands, Albert Heijn is an excellent example of how you can adapt to the situation and at the same time bring some lightness'.

Besides the deepdive of the expert team we did an extra analysis together with Out of Home Masters this week. This resulted in the following news item: 60% Dutch people as much or more outside than before COVID-19

The above news item also appeared on Marketing Tribune!

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