Padilla’s Insights + Strategy and Digital/Social teams scanned the news media and social media conversations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to bring you the week’s noteworthy developments:

When In Doubt, Think Maslow

Remember Psych 101? It’s been a while, but we all learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a good engagement barometer to keep in mind, now, because people are focusing on the lowest level of unmet need, first, before being ready to address higher ones.

The number of new people claiming unemployment benefits totaled a staggering 6.6 million – doubling the record set a week earlier. While the pandemic initially hit sectors like tourism and hospitality, furloughs and layoffs are now creeping into industries that had been more shielded, like education, health care, law and tech. 

Positive sentiment in media coverage of the crisis include anything proactive that the government, brands or individuals are doing in response to social distancing. Negatives include misinformation and scams around the virus along with the growing number of cases. We saw a notable increase of coverage surrounding mental health issues.

Social Strategy = Humanization

As the pandemic starts to become our “new normal” social media buzz continues to decline; however, there was a slight uptick after Ventec and GM announced a partnership to fabricate ventilators. Across the board “thank” and “appreciate” continue to be two of the most pervasive emotions in the social sphere with “pandemic” and “test” being the most prominent words in conversations this past week.

Whimsy Rules

Brands are still not seeing this as a marketing opportunity but are moving into more engagement – very tactically and mission-driven. Overall, companies are responding in three ways: Staying quiet – but becoming more emboldened to find their voice. Engaging – but with health, community safety and educational content. Being present – finding more serendipitous ways to stay-at-home and stay connected online.

Some brands are gently emerging by creating new virtual opportunities (see examples from the food industry), but they are not leveraging the pandemic as marketing.

Be the Good

The unemployment rate was a significant media story this week but didn’t even create a significant spike on social media. People still want to hear, see and share the good, and social media remains flooded with ways to cope. Short and sharable content is the best near-term strategy for brands to stay engaged. Besides searching for “good news” and “binge-watching,” people Googled the phrases “What does a stay-at-home order mean” and “wine delivery service” most often.  

For more insights on this week’s coronavirus communications analysis:

For questions, guidance or support with your brand’s communication efforts, Padilla’s COVID-19 Response Team is here to help.