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Aussies want strong leadership from brands to navigate an Australia beyond Covid

MEDIA RELEASE: 17 September 2020: Six months after a pandemic rolled in and changed our lives forever, Kantar’s latest Covid-19 Barometer shows that Australians are adapting to the current ‘Covid-normal’ but want brands to show leadership more than ever to drive us out of the pandemic-induced recession. But brands be warned, Aussies continue to put a price on value, safety, localism and care for communities.

Two-thirds of us are more price sensitive and concerned about economic recovery

Seven in 10 Aussies are worried about the speed of getting Australia back to business, which is up from 54% at the end of March. But as individuals and households, we are committed to stronger financial planning with seven in 10 of us bargain hunting and six in 10 looking for products on sale – both at a record high. Four in ten of us are delaying big purchases and holiday plans as we re-prioritise our goals and commitment to ‘moderation’.

Localism, provenance and commitment to community continue to gain momentum

45% of Aussies are now paying much more attention to the origin of products with almost seven in 10 buying from local stores as we rally in economic support of small business and focus on safety through provenance. And with border closures, arrivals caps and grounded airlines still in place, international travel planning has obviously dropped (for half of us) as we swing towards local travel and planning the discovery of more of the ‘great Australian backyard’ over the summer and into 2021. Self-drive holidays plans are on the rise.

Almost six in 10 Aussies believe that our habits and behaviours will change after the crisis

Beyond safety and hygiene, there is a trend to change our digital lifestyles. Online is pervading more of our work, education, socialising, shopping and entertainment; yet, as restrictions eased across all of the country except Victoria, our media consumption, including social media, fell considerably since its April lockdown surge, in part driven by sensory deprivations. However, TV/SVPD, online videos and internet browsing are rising. We want to see that behaviour change in our brands too – those that are practical, realistic and help us with our everyday life changes will win and this must be reflected in advertising. In particular, we want to see ads show community love and companies looking after their employees.

There is an increasingly urgent need for brands to lead by example and guide change

So, while we pay more attention to prices than ever before, there is a clear opportunity for brands that can demonstrate capability to connect with Aussies. A quarter of us want brands to ‘lead by example and guide change’ and to ‘be practical and realistic and help consumers in their daily lives’. Since June, the number of us wanting brands to ‘attack the crisis and demonstrate it can be fought’ has doubled to 15% in August from 7% in June.

It remains to be seen how brands will rise to meet the challenges ahead

Those that win will be the strong leaders and innovators, says Ryan France – Kantar Australia’s Executive Director of Brand Strategy. “As we learned from BrandZ following the turmoil of the GFC a decade ago, brands with strong equity declined less, and recovered (much) faster. Back then, meaning and a perceived difference provided the foundations of brand equity, and thus long-term resilience – and that still holds true today.”

The BrandZ data also clearly reveals that corporate responsibility – social and/or environmental – has recently emerged as a genuine contributor to brand strength, adds France. “Brands that come out ahead in the COVID disruption era will not only reaffirm or reframe what makes them meaningfully different as product and service providers, but also what makes them meaningful or different as participants in broader Australian society.

“We may not expect brands to save the world, but those that show how they play a responsible role in that world will find themselves standing on firmer foundations in the minds of their consumers.”

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Wave 8 of the Kantar Covid-19 Barometer spoke to 500 Australians between 14-18 August 2020. It was nationally representative across age, gender and region. Previous waves were conducted between March-July 2020. The largest global study of its kind, Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer canvased the opinion of over 50,000 people in 50+ markets.

Website: Kantar Australia

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