COVID-19 Report Helping Companies Navigate Tricky Territory

Building and sustaining consumer engagement through the pandemic by catering to attitudes that drive consumer actions

TORONTO – June 16, 2020 – Emotive Technologies Inc.has released their COVID-19 Pulse Report. The Canada and US study measures current consumer attitudes to show how companies can navigate the difficult landscape of operating during and after COVID-19.

Emotive ran a North American online survey using its proprietary APEX Scoring System between May 5 – 9, 2020, recording results from a demographically diverse group of 1,208 Canadians and Americans. The goal was to understand the attitudes of consumers during the pandemic, so that brands can adjust their strategies in meaningful ways.  

The study took a unique approach. Instead of applying the traditional method of measuring consumer behaviour, Emotive used their APEX Scoring System to focus solely on consumer attitudes that trigger those behaviours. The study measured 16 distinct attitudes, including eight emotional engagement factors such as relatability, trustworthiness and joyfulness, and eight rational engagement factors like predictability, value, and community involvement.

The study focused on the banking, quick service dining, hotel, mobile provider and retail industries.

“We measured 16 distinct attitudes that audiences have towards companies, organizations and brands, and how these attitudes drive their actions,” said Marc Whitehead, founding partner and CEO of Emotive Technologies Inc. “With the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and world events, it’s important to understand, respect and nurture these attitudes to enable businesses to make the right decisions.”

Whitehead continues, “Just because governments and health agencies green light businesses to restart, it doesn’t mean people will come running back. Our study helps shine a light on the most important attitudes to drive consumer action on the road to recovery.”

Findings include:

  • Key elements of life that have been negatively impacted are: community, family and friends and personal finances.
  • 69% of people are overwhelmingly interested in seeing strong leadership from companies and brands in the months ahead, as they are more likely to feel a lack of confidence in governments.
  • Across industries, customers are looking for a reason to smile more than ever yet have never had a tougher time finding one.
  • Delivering joy is currently the most critical and chronically underserved element of engagement across all industries tested
  • Adapt or disappear: A third (32%) of respondents strongly agree that they will do more online shopping after the pandemic ends, meaning consumers are demanding more innovation from traditional retailers.
  • Since the onset of COVID-19, men and women are equally interested in engaging emotionally with brands – but not in the same way. Brands that demonstrate traits of ease and familiarity will win with those identifying as male, while females want to build a more personal connection, yet demand follow-through.
  • Americans and Canadians engage with brands differently since COVID-19. Canadians are seeking a more emotionally-driven relationship driven by elements like empathy and understanding, while Americans demand more rational elements of the relationship fulfilled (like committed service and innovation).

Attitudes towards brands have become more emotionally-driven since the pandemic. A previous Emotive study conducted in January 2020 found the key elements driving engagement across industries were more operational in nature.

Based on the current study, the idea of relatability or being personally invested in the success of a brand has become more important than ever. “Today, people want to see themselves in the brands they interact with,” says Whitehead. “This level of relatability was once a nice-to-have for a brand manager, but today it’s increasingly a must for any marketing strategy.”

“We keep hearing companies say that ‘we’re in this together’”, said Whitehead, “but it falls short when they don’t walk the talk. Companies need to help their customers come to that conclusion on their own.”  

By measuring audience attitudes, Emotive is capturing consumer sentiment at a moment in time, then tracking how those sentiments change over time. In an ever-evolving world, this allows brands to quickly pivot, adapt, and measure again.

Says Whitehead, “The effects of COVID-19 will continue to dictate consumer behaviors and shape attitudes through uncertainty. If brands choose to win consumer confidence by tapping into their ever-changing feelings and beliefs, they’ll stand a chance to build long-term trust and loyalty.”

Download the full COVID-19 Pulse Report here.

About Emotive Technologies Inc.

Founded in 2019, Emotive Technologies Inc. is a technology-based research company that has quickly mobilized to develop a world-class SAAS-based scoring capability to help brands understand and navigate changing business landscapes. Working with some of the largest brands across multiple industries, Emotive gauges and tracks audience engagement in order to inform best practices in all industries.

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