Consumer Awareness of Brands Doing Good During COVID-19

By Christine Pelosi, Information Specialist, 4A’s Research, [email protected], using Suzy, a real-time market research platform.


In a previous survey completed in mid-March, 4A’s Research asked 1,000 consumers their thoughts on the most important steps brands can take in response to COVID-19. 26% responded with providing free services, content, or goods to consumers, while 25% said donating goods or services to support relief efforts. As the pandemic became more widespread, we saw more and more companies donate goods, services, and money, as well as shift production to produce items to help relief efforts and healthcare workers. 4A’s Research wanted to learn what companies made an impact on consumers with their relief efforts.

From April 2 to April 16, using Suzy, a real-time market research platform, we retargeted previous survey respondents to see what brands stood out when it came to coronavirus relief. Overall, consumers have positive attitudes towards certain industries and actions, not singling out specific brands per se.

Companies that are providing supplies to healthcare workers and hospitals are receiving a lot of positive support from consumers. Restaurants that are donating food and meals to healthcare workers are getting noticed as well. A few brands given multiple shout-outs in our survey include:

  • 3M is the brand most mentioned in the survey results. It’s been donating ventilators, face masks, and money to COVID relief efforts, as well as ramping up production of those products specifically for hospitals and healthcare workers
  • Crocs for donating 10,000 pairs of footwear to healthcare workers
  • Home Depot put a stop-sale on N95 masks in its stores and redirected shipments to donate to hospitals, healthcare providers, and first responders

Respondents appreciate that brands are stopping regular production to make ventilators, personal protection equipment, and hand sanitizer for both healthcare workers and consumers. Auto manufacturers and alcohol brands were repeatedly mentioned in our survey as making such efforts. Specific brands mentioned include:

Grocery stores, big box retailers, and drug stores are industries at the top of consumers’ minds when asked who is doing the most to support coronavirus relief efforts. People acknowledge and appreciate that those working in such industries are at the front lines. One survey respondent said that such retailers “have the biggest burden to be up and running, while taking on a large risk of their employees getting infected”. See below for a few brands respondents gave multiple shout-outs to:

Consumers also praised companies that are taking care of their employees, especially essential businesses and those with hourly workers who will be hardest hit by closed stores and restaurants and layoffs. Consumers also support those companies that are currently hiring, like:

Clorox and Lysol were both mentioned in the results multiple times, usually together. The recall is most likely high for both brands because they are synonymous with cleanliness and, more importantly, anti-bacterial/disinfectant.

Two survey respondents named professional sports teams for their relief efforts: New England Patriots and Washington Redskins. The Patriots used its team plane to pick up 1.7 million face masks from China and Redskins player Adrian Peterson donated $100,000 to relief efforts. This shows that even if sports fans aren’t able to watch live sports, they’re still engaged with their favorite teams and players.

With our survey results, we see that consumers are paying attention to company and brand actions during this pandemic. According to Edelman, 84% of consumers want to see advertising that focuses on how a brand is helping people cope with pandemic-related challenges. Creating messaging that highlights the following relief efforts will help your client’s brand resonate with consumers:

  • Providing supplies to healthcare workers and hospitals
  • Switching production to make ventilators, personal protection equipment, and hand sanitizer
  • Supporting frontline workers
  • Taking care of employees.

4A’s Research will continue to examine shifts in consumer behavior and sentiment regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Feel free to email us with topics or suggestions for future surveys.

Please see the latest Coronavirus Updates from the 4A’s.