Nearly half of senior brand managers are dissatisfied with COVID-19 response

Forsman & Bodenfors survey includes insights from marketing decision makers in the U.S. and Canada.

More than half of senior managers (51 percent) are content with their brands’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the other 49 percent are largely dissatisfied with how little they’ve shown up or the ways in which they’ve engaged consumer over the last few months, according to new research.

Forsman & Bodenfors commissioned the survey through GLG, which includes insights from 100 marketing decision makers across the U.S. and Canada.

The respondents who reported feeling unhappy with their brands’ COVID-19 response said they felt paralyzed in terms of how to engage, dissatisfied with their reaction or couldn’t clearly see a role for their brand in reacting to the pandemic and providing value to their consumers.  

"When we asked CMOs and other marketing leaders how resilient they felt their brands were during the first two months of the pandemic, we found that many felt they had fallen short or were unsure about how their brand fit into the new landscape," said Steve Gorski, strategy director of Forsman & Bodenfors New York. Gorski added: "Brands have a lot to gain by finding their voice during these uncertain times. The moment to develop a relevant narrative for your brand is now." 

Other key stats from the research:

  •  A quarter of respondents (25 percent) put out consumer-facing responses, but felt somewhat paralyzed, taking valuable time to sort out what they should do.
  • 12 percent went mostly dark, not seeing a role for their brand during COVID-19
  • 9 percent did make an effort to engage, but felt as though their brand should and could have made a different response.

Complementary research found:

  • Rapid shifts in behavior by the public during COVID-19, like increased time spent on smartphones and TV, rewarded brands that found attentive audiences for their messaging. (Sources: Internal MK data, MIQ North America; eMarketer)
  • And those brands that said nothing had a lot to lose: about 2 percent revenue loss estimated for every quarter of pulled investment; 11 percent revenue declines possible for brands that completely cut advertising for the rest of 2020; and 3-5 years of brand building to get back to pre-COVID-19 numbers. (Sources: Nielsen; Ipsos; Kantar Millward Brown)

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