With so many competing interests talking loudly online right now, brands must be able to nimbly market across diverse segments, and this requires monitoring consumers’ social mood around a variety of topics. And right now, the COVID-19 vaccine is chief among them. What are the main narratives and how should this inform brand messaging? Let’s find out!
And in doing so, we’ll approach the subject with a focus on:
- Why consumer assumptions are dangerous
- Boomers, as equal parts anticipation and skepticism
- And examples of brands making the most of market intelligence
And before we get going, here are a few relevant statistics around vaccines that you may find illuminating:
- For a pre-COVID-19 viewpoint, a 2018 Statista report found that 70% of US adults believed vaccines to be very important to public health, while 22% found them somewhat important.
- Vaccines account for an estimated 2-3 million fewer deaths annually across the globe.
- In a survey conducted in June, 72% of those 65 years of age and older responded that they would take a coronavirus vaccine when one became available. Answering similarly, other age groups responded as such: 62% (45 – 64 years), 56% (35 – 44 years) and 58% (18 – 34 years).
Consumer Assumptions are Dangerous
There’s a reason that politics and religion are generally avoided in polite conversation. Unless civil discourse can be assured, then laying out an opinion on either has the potential to cause conversation to devolve into a dumpster fire. And from a business point of view, the lesson for brands to take from this is that misjudging your consumers and operating on assumptions around either is a dangerous game to play.
And as you probably know, the conversations happening online surrounding the coronavirus and vaccines tend to be heated, to put it mildly. That’s why it’s crucial for brands to take extra precaution in their social media listening to inform their market research. If not, your brand message could step on some toes that you thought believed one thing – but didn’t.
For example, one might be tempted to overgeneralize and think that demographics that typically support democrats are excited about a vaccine, while republican demographics are less enthusiastic. But this may be a misnomer, and certainly an area for deeper analysis as religious professions, which typically skew conservatively, show up over-indexing on the pro side of our COVID vaccine sentiment analysis, along with (likely, expected) hospitality workers:
Some of the other groups that fall in the pro vaccine category by profession include banking/finance, science/research, education and creative arts, just to name a few. Conversely, on the negative sentiment side, social services as a profession is a bit of a surprise and would contradict broad generalizations.
Consistent Social Mood Monitoring Forms Baseline
Could these each represent a glitch in the matrix – a point in time where these groups are expressing positive or negative sentiment, but not anomalies that do not represent the baseline? Sure. And it is why consistent social media monitoring to establish that baseline is so crucial. You won’t know unless you have something consumer-driven to compare it to.
The real kicker here for brands is that this is a sensitive subject; so, digging deep into demographic insights needs to be a key part of your market research. Social media listening opens up windows into gender, age, interests, professions and more to help slice more delicately into the conversation. Honing your brand message around such a touchy issue can be akin to getting through a minefield unscathed.
And doing your homework here for any branded messaging that touches upon the vaccine topic is imperative, now more than ever. Below, we’ve pulled our negative sentiment COVID vaccine analysis into Quid Social which reveals the conversation blowing up shortly after the US elections. And it’s largely dominated with the talk about Operation Warp Speed.
Boomers Are Equal Parts Anticipation and Skepticism
Back in June, Statista conducted a survey in the US and found that 72% of those 65 years of age and older said they would take a coronavirus vaccine when one became available. Of course, a lot has happened since then and reports are growing around the looming availability of vaccines.
Our positive sentiment vaccine analysis that covers posts over this past month still seems to walk the line with the results of the June survey. As you can see below, the 65+ age bracket is still over-indexed compared to other age groups.
In our negative sentiment analysis, the 65+ age group is indexing in about the same position. However, younger Gen X’rs in the 45-54 bracket are the most over-indexed on the negative side.
And in exploring demographics here by gender reveals that over the last month men are skewing more negatively in their views than women tend to be. As you can see, gender attitudes are split 60% to 40%, which is not a huge difference – but worthy of exploring to get your messaging exactly right.
And to see the pain points from either side it’s helpful to pull up both sides and see what the top emotions are that are driving the bulk of the conversation. To that end, here is the social mood spectrum for posts leaning positively towards the coronavirus vaccine.
Social Mood Spectrum in Action
You can see here that excitement and desire take up over half of the conversation, followed by trust at 12%. It’s clear that those in favor of the vaccine are anticipating the beginnings of a return to normalcy. Brands can take advantage of these sentiments and craft their messaging accordingly.
On the negative side of the conversation seen below, we can see that disgust and suspicion together make up 55% of the narrative, followed up by hatred and amusement.
This really is an intense topic and stresses the importance of digging into the conversational sub-strata to deliver precision messaging to your target demographics. After all, the distance between the two sides of the issue is immense.
Making the Most of Market Intelligence to Promote Vaccines
Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna all have vaccines in the works and there’s a lot of talk about them on social media right now. And those open to vaccines are already making their choices there too. And for those pharmaceutical companies, understanding that conversation will be important when designing their messaging as well:
And they know that they have their work cut out for them on the marketing front, as we see them engaging in storytelling to add a bit of humanity and offset negative perceptions.
AstraZeneca just released a short video on Instagram giving a shout out to the trial participants, scientists and clinicians that have helped them come so far in the vaccine development. This is smart. Telling your brand story creatively is a super effective way of forming a bond with consumers.
Market research built with focused social media listening reveals the pain points to target while crafting your brand story. And Pfizer appears to have come to the same conclusion that showing their human side was their best bet. They also released a video expressing gratitude to everyone who participated in their vaccine trials.
Speaking accurately to a demographic within a touchy conversation is a win for any brand and these two nailed it by simply expressing gratitude to those who cared enough to join clinical trials. There’s a lot of vitriol to be found in the vaccine conversation, but really – no one can get mad at this. It’s a measured, cautious approach. And it’s one that any brand could emulate around this topic, with the right insight.
Brand Messaging with Market Intelligence
Brands making the most of their market intelligence should be sure to explore demographic interests as they tackle volatile market trends. Some of the results may surprise you. Regardless, the intel provided is super helpful to help your brand thread your message through the eye of the needle and hit your target.
People interested in health and fitness are found on the pro-vaccine side, which is not too surprising; and there are also a healthy number of people interested in travel. Messaging here could focus on the me to we adaptation society has undergone.
On the negative side of the coin, those with interests in green living can be courted with targeted messaging in hopes of endearing them to your brand. Automotive interests and anime make an appearance, and both have extremely dedicated enthusiasts. They are worth finding a creative avenue through which to reach them for sure. Your messaging might feel a bit more rebellious.
The coronavirus vaccine is one of the most hot-button issues making the rounds on the internet currently and is a great example of why brands need to avoid assumptions and make a calculated approach that is closely monitored for consumer reaction. It’s A/B testing taken to an amazingly accurate real-time extreme. After all, haphazard messaging in a situation such as this can have cataclysmic repercussions for your brand.
Smart social media listening powered by next generation artificial intelligence (AI) is the key to marketing effectively to precise demographics. Is your brand picking up on the nuances in your market research? Be sure to reach out for a demo and we’ll get you dialed in!