The latest findings from Core Research demonstrate Irish people’s resilience and compassion in the face of Covid-19 and informs brands how they should respond to support people during this crisis, writes Finian Murphy.
Many times in the past, Irish citizens have demonstrated solidarity and hope when faced with difficult decisions or challenging times. Now, is no different. The final week of March 2020 will always be remembered as the moment when Covid-19 truly began to impact on all of our lives, but citizens have responded with absolute focus and determination to overcome this outbreak.
This crisis has resulted in families mourning those they love, over 3,500 becoming sick, businesses having to temporarily close and 283,037 people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Recognising this pain and challenge, there is however, hope. The latest Core Research study (survey from Friday 27th – Monday 30th March) suggests that people are optimistic that we, as a community, can overcome this crisis. Indeed some 67% of the adult population say they are optimistic or very optimistic that Ireland will overcome the outbreak. In comparison, based on Global Web Index surveys, the percentage of the British population is 49%, while in France it is 44%.
Entering the Reaction Phase
At Core, we understand there are three phases of Covid-19 impacting business and marketing. The first, is the Adaptation phase, how people, community and business have had to adapt to this challenge. The second is the Reaction phase, how new behaviours have been formed, as we stay at home while restrictions are in place. The third phase, with an unknown start date, is the Recovery phase – the moment when restrictions are lifted and a new norm is established.
As we transition between Adapt and React, our most recent research highlights how people have adapted. Firstly, we are taking this very seriously – 74% of the population are very or extremely concerned about Covid-19. However this concern has translated not into paralysing fear, but focused determination. The general public has responded in extremely strong numbers to public health messaging at every point of this pandemic.
Core Research has been working closely with the HSE and our tracking study shows that there has been strong adherence to measures introduced throughout the first few weeks. As a result, the Department of Health is now reporting that the average contacts of cases that show positive for Covid-19 have reduced from 20 to 3 contacts.
With the majority of people optimistic that we will overcome, there is also strong approval of the actions of local businesses, the Government, and citizens themselves in how they have handled the situation. Over 60% of people believe these groups have responded positively. 59% of people say large companies have handled the situation well, but within that there are a key categories that are receiving approval.
The public believe that retailers are providing the vital support, with 9 in 10 people saying they have provided support to the public. Other brands and categories analysed in this tracking study include banking, communications, energy, health insurance, food/beverage and leisure. Customers believe all have provided some support, but more could be provided.
How can brands help?
Many companies and brands have provided significant support to customers and the general public during this crisis – and this has not gone unrecognised.
My colleague Andy Pierce, Group Strategy Director in Core has highlighted that “there is much we can do to help both the public and our brands through this crisis, whether it is supporting frontline workers, providing vital information, meeting new needs or offering moments of relief, but tone is critical.”
This support and communication tone should be informed by an understanding of what matters to Irish people the most right now – relationships.
Unlike in other regions, where restrictions are strongly enforced, in Ireland we are adhering to rules, not because of authorities, but because of each other. The strong social cohesion, the high level of concern and optimism has resulted in a community working together (apart) to limit the spread.
Relationships, not Rules
Research published by the Department of Health explains that while people are thinking about their own health, they are also more likely to think and consider people around them – friends, family and society. For this reason companies need to think about the theme of relationships.
People have a relationship with the country – what can your brand do to support the national effort? People have a relationship with their local community – what can your brand do to support local community initiatives or groups? People have relationships within their home and (virtually) between homes – how can your brand make the everyday lives of households more normal during this abnormal time?
You can download the full research report at https://onecore.ie/covid/
Finian Murphy Is marketing director of Core