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empathy

Brands ‘struggled to respond empathically’ to Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter

While most brands want to be more empathic to social change and global issues affecting customers, many have struggled to respond effectively to recent events such as Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter.

That’s according to new research, which says 81% of brand representatives surveyed in July said they adapted their marketing due to Covid-19, while 60% found it difficult to display appropriate empathy when doing so.

The research among 250 senior marketing decision makers in the UK was conducted by Sapio on behalf of marketing AI company datasine

Over 90% of marketers are trying to be more empathic in their marketing campaigns which shows a genuine understanding of the need to respond to issues and societal events impacting consumers and audiences. However, 75% said they were unable to respond quickly enough to rapidly developing situations such as Covid-19.

Empathy has increased in importance for brands and marketers during 2020. 84% of those surveyed said that the need to respond to events with empathy has increased over the past 6 months. The top three empathy focuses identified in the research for brands right now are:

  1. Covid-19
  2. Black Lives Matter
  3. Mental Health

The two most common barriers stopping brands from responding faster and more effectively to change are; the inability to measure and analyse sentiment; and a lack of knowledge around how to use data to predict the success of future campaigns, both at 38%. To help solve these issues and others, 97% of brands want to adopt technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, to help them use data more effectively for predictive analysis and automated decision making.

Emma Bonar, head of digital, Les Girls Les Boys, said: “Now more than ever it’s vital that we are able to demonstrate that we do empathise with our customers – after all these are issues that really do affect all of us. There’s a need to respond quickly and appropriately to changes in sentiment, which is where AI can help us use data to make the right decisions, and make them fast.”

Chris Loy, CTO, datasine, added: “A brand’s ability to respond rapidly and appropriately to external events affecting its audiences and customers has probably never been tested more than it has in the past six months. Truthfully, it’s becoming critical to their success. Digital marketing demands instantaneous response to the things that are happening in the world. That requires marketing professionals to be able to use data to adapt their creatives, message, visual and textual content on a continual basis in line with changing audience attitudes.

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay