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Understanding the Human Story: Storylines From Our National Tracking Survey, Week 9

Understanding the Human Story: Storylines From Our National Tracking Survey, Week 9

Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions May 13-14, 2020 via an online survey.

Access the full report here: Download PDF. Please contact us if you would like access to the crosstabs.


NOTE: Findings based on preliminary data.

Time to Start Reopening

For the first time in our tracking, a majority of Americans agree it is time to start removing restrictions and orders keeping people at home. Suburban residents are largely unchanged on the issue but urban and rural have made a decisive shift towards reopening in the last week.

 

Some uncertainty but balancing the economy has been building for the past two weeks

 

Negative Emotions Drive Do NOT Reopen POV

Reopen but Not Ready to Get Back to Daily Life

Even though more are saying it’s time to reopen, most do not expect to engage in activities any time soon.

 

Travel and large events are unlikely to return to normal anytime soon.

 

Over one-third of parents do not expect to let their child return to school within the next 6 months.

Changing Behaviors

Most Americans expect to have some behavior change permanently in how they entertain themselves and connect with family/friends coming out of their stay at home experience.

 

Less Fear + More Optimism

There is some evidence of positive emotions building this week as we also saw a slight increase in the Hopeful Optimists group.

 

 

Income Inequality Shifting Expectation of Government

The economic issues are dividing the country on the reopen debate, but uniting the partisan divide on the role of government in addressing income inequality.

 

 

Majority of Americans are now favoring idea of Universal Basic Income

Unsure Who to Trust

Trust continues to be a real issue, and there is evidence as the reopening starts how consumers evaluate corporate America’s response is starting to become more critical.

 

 


Data Source: Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions 5/13-14/2020 via an online survey. Access the full report here: Download PDF.  

Sample: n=1,010 US Adults 18+

Topics: We explored attitudes, feelings, and actions with respect to the COVID-19 crisis. This provides a quick look at the key storylines we uncovered by quickly digging into the data set.

VIDEO: Weekly Roundtable–May 15, 2020

Before reviewing the latest tracking data from our national weekly COVID-19 survey, we welcome a special guest to this week’s roundtable discussion.

Marc Harrison, CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, joins us for a Q&A session as we continue the dialogue on recovery vs. redefinition/reimagination. Specifically, we’ll address questions in these areas:

  • What has this pandemic exposed about our societal infrastructure and approach to public health?
  • How do we transcend division in this time to get to meaningful solutions that propel us forward?
  • Trust is on trial. What is destroying trust? What is building it? What should be happening?
  • What does the future of health and healthcare look like after COVID-19? What do we need to be doing now to be prepared and to shape it for the greater common good?
  • What does health and healthcare look like for the workplace of the future after this lockdown?

COVID-19 Understanding the Human Story: Storylines from our National Tracking Survey, Week 1

Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions March, 18-19, 2020 via an online survey.

Access the full report here: Download PDF.  Please contact us if you would like access to the crosstabs.


NOTE: Findings based on preliminary data.

All-Consuming Focus

The pandemic is consuming time and attention, impacting the American psyche.

  • 81% of Americans say they are fully engrossed in the news coverage daily+
  • Most people say they are concerned (59%) and worried (51%), but cautious (58%)
  • A majority of those 45+ choose negative emotions when describing how they feel – especially women, while more men have mixed positive and negative emotions

Emotions experienced differ by age/generation, ethnicity, education, income and gender.

  • Get Z highest on confused (28%) and surprised (20%)
  • African American the most confident (21%) and supported (14%)
  • Asian most anxious (46%)
  • Scared highest among $100K+ (41%)
  • More educated you are the more anxious
  • Women are more anxious, cautious, concerned, worried

Similarly, pockets of the country report different levels of anxiety, confusion and hope.

  • Regional – most anxious are those in Pacific (45%) and West North Central (54%) – Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Kansas
  • Regional – most confused in New England (32%)
  • Regional – most hopeful East South Central (41%) – Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
  • Those in states with the most confirmed cases to date are more likely to be scared – nearly 4 in 10 vs. others, otherwise there are no obvious differences.

With all of this focus and the dramatic changes from late last week, we now find 3 in 4 Americans (73%) believe it is a real threat and not blown out of proportion. Gen Z are those most likely to say blown out of proportion at 40% as are those int the Mountain states 40% – Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

 

It’s A Mental Health Challenge

The biological virus spreading is causing a psychological war people are waging in their own minds every day now due to all of the uncertainty and change impacting daily living. In fact, four in ten (42%) Americans expect the virus will negatively impact their mental health.

The emotions we see pop among those who are expecting a mental health impact tell the story from a human point of view. All of these numbers compare those who expect difficulty with mental health compared with those who do not expect an impact to their mental health.

  • 56% anxious vs. 25% (+31)
  • 68% worried vs. 40% (+28)
  • 63% cautious vs. 38% (+25)
  • 67% concerned vs. 44% (+23)
  • 44% scared vs. 22% (+22)
  • 41% afraid vs. 26% (+15)

The mental health concern is much higher among women. It is also highest with both Gen Z and Gen X, a majority (52%) of those self-employed, and 46% among households in the suburbs. This anxiety builds when people don’t see a way out and expect this to go longer. We see it triggered by worrying about family, relationship with your partner, and your physical health.

The mental health challenge in this crisis is very real. This presents a meaningful pathway in for those brands that can help provide practical/pragmatic support, information and knowledge, and/or distractions.

 

Trust Is Hard to Come By When It Comes to Reliable Information

Our survey results show that the majority of Americans only trust in the CDC (60%) and WHO (55%). Local health departments are the next most trusted at 49% of Americans.

Interestingly, people tell us they trust TV news (local or national), the government, and the local school district about the same level (just over a third of Americans say they trust these sources).

Trusting your employer in this time of crisis is very much tied to whether you work full-time or part-time. Half (47%) of full-time employees say they trust their employer. But this drops to 29% among those working only part-time.

Only 17% report they trust social media (26% Millennials, 23% Gen X, and 30% in urban centers)  for information. And 23% of households trust the information they get from search results (32% Millennials and 28% Gen X).

To date, half (50%) of Americans say they’re left more confused based upon government -provided information. This sentiment is the highest among Gen Z (59%) and Boomers (56%), part-time workers (66%), and the self-employed (62%). Government’s leadership has been lacking in providing confidence amidst the crisis for some time now. We will be looking to see if and how these measures change in the coming weeks.

We are sending you the full topline of the survey results as a separate attachment. We are working on a deeper analysis in a number of areas that we will publish and get out there to provide more context.

 

Major Economic Impact Is Seen Now

As a result of the coverage, the macro impact is becoming clear to most people today.

  • Almost everyone expects a negative impact on the economy, both at the US and the global level (both 83%). A clear majority expect a very negative impact to both (55%).
  • We see the same with expected impact on air travel (82% international, 83% domestic). But more believe the impact will be very negative (68% and 60%).

 

It is Starting to Get Personal

Most Americans are not worried they will get sick. Nearly 7 in 10 (65%) as of Friday do not expect the virus pandemic to negatively impact their own health. However, 80% believe it will negatively impact the health of all other Americans.

But, even if the physical health is not driving a big concern, we are seeing evidence that it is starting to get personal in other ways.

– Most Americans expect a negative impact on their activities (59%), their finances (54), and  their job (51%, 64% of part-time workers).

  • 43% have cancelled eating out and spending time with friends in groups +10 people (47% in most impacted states). Illustrating a potential trigger, 51% of those expecting negative mental health have already cancelled time with friends in group of 10.
  • 42% have cancelled travel out of town (most 65% for vacation – 37% for work). Interestingly, the travel cancellations are self-reporting highest among Gen Z (53%) and Millennials (45%), as well as minority audiences of Hispanics (54%) and Asians (55%). The figure is higher, regionally, at 47% in the states hit the hardest with cases so far.
  • 40% have cancelled entertainment plans (mostly movies 63%, events 47%, and sporting events 37%).

Those cutting back activities at higher rates, generally, are higher education and higher income households and those who live in the most impacted states. Overall, however, Gen Z (46%) and Millennials (54%) report having made the most notable changes compared with 38% of Gen X, 24% of Boomers, and 15% of the Silent Generation. And Hispanics (54%), Asians (51%), those currently employed, and those who are higher educated eport having made notable changes.

People are beginning to feel it hit everyday life. As more companies cut back, reduce salaries, and let people go, the personal impact will become even more real. We will be looking closely at how the underpinning emotional mindset shifts over time.

 

Missed Time with Family and Friends

The impact of social distancing is hitting time together like never before. Most people do not expect the virus spread to negatively impact their family (69%), but 40% do believe it will negative impact their time with family and friends. As a result, we see find:

  • 29% have cancelled time with family in the last two weeks
  • 40% have reached out more to family and friends, and 40% expect to do even more in the coming weeks
  • 34% have done more personal video calls

People are craving connection. Creative and authentic ways to enhance this in an isolated state will go a long way to filling this void. A great example is what actor Josh Gad is doing in reading stories to parents and their children each night on Twitter. The authentic connection is evident in the way families are gathering “virtually” to catch these “live” story-telling events each night.

 

Solidarity Coming?

There is evidence of a silver lining in that 42% believe this crisis is bringing the nation closer together. Only 14% believe it will not make a difference and another 32% believe it is creating further division.

The older and more educated you are the more likely you are to believe this is bringing us closer together – 53% of those 65+  and 40% of Gen X, 49% Boomers, 52% Silent. In contrast, youth is seeing this through a lens of division with 47% of Gen Z and 39% of Millennials saying it is driving us further apart. Will this turn into a unified sense of solidarity, or a generational divide?

The positive signs are that 20% have already done more to reach out to check on their neighbors this past week. And we do see 28% of Americans feel hopeful and 21% report feeling optimistic. Outreach and interaction to help one another can fuel a unity as in past crises.

 

Shopping Is Being Curtailed, But Then It is Not In Some Areas

Shopping habits are mixed. Most, 67%, have either cancelled or changed shopping trips and 55% have cut back on planned purchases, mostly apparel, major household goods, and tech/electronics. But 34% say they did more shopping for food in the last week and 26% bought more basic household goods in the last week.

And, more than a third (37%) expect to do more shopping in the next two weeks for apparel, tech, household, and beauty. And 14% claim they will make a big purchase in the next two weeks (home, car, etc.). So, expectations for spend are there – lockdowns, however, will prevent and/or shift this behavior further.

Our data showed that 41% claim to have done more shopping online in the last week than they would typically do. This breaks with 27% doing more online deliver and 21% more online pickup.


Data Source: Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions 3/18-19/2020 via an online survey. Access the full report here: Download PDF.

Sample: n=1,035 US Adults 18+

Topics: We explored attitudes, feelings, and actions with respect to the COVID-19 crisis. This provides a quick look at the key storylines we uncovered by quickly digging into the data set.

Cindi Jones is featured in the December 2019 Quirk’s “Ask the Expert”!

Our colleague, Cindi Jones is featured in the December 2019 Quirk’s “Ask the Expert” column.  In the column, Cindi responds to this question:

Today’s marketing world is ever-changing – how prepared are you for these new realities and consumer expectations?

Cindi talks about how marketers can address 5 new marketing realities:

  • “Small is big”
  • “It’s personal and it’s a segment of one”
  • “Sustainability is an expectation, really.”
  • “AI,AR,VR.  It’s all here. Now.”
Click Here For Article

More Questions (and Answers) About Corporate Purpose

Since conducting a webinar on Corporate Purpose back in 4th quarter of 2019, we received many follow up questions.  Here are a few of the more common, along with our perspective from Carol Gstalder, Corporate Brand & Reputation Strategy.

Q: It seems like every time you pick up a newspaper or listen to CNBC someone is talking about Corporate Purpose.    If you had to weigh comments in favor of vs against the idea of Corporate Purpose, where would you say it’s falling right now?

A: As of today, momentum is leaning towards giving the Business Roundtable companies the benefit of doubt that their pledge to run their businesses in the interest of a broader set of stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, communities and shareholders) is truly genuine.   Establishing comprehensive KPI’s and measuring long term actions and outcomes will ultimately reveal the extent to which board and company behaviors align with this pledge.

Q: Should individual brands have their own purpose, or should companies reach for an overarching “house of brands” purpose?

A: It’s important to have an overarching and clear core purpose for the entire company.   However, the ways in which a company activates a core purpose and brings it to life can and should reflect each brand’s unique reason for being.   This recognition of the brands’ uniqueness will differentiate each of the brands in the corporate portfolio and help define how the company can make a difference to its stakeholders.

Q: This all sounds very interesting, but it sounds like it requires a whole realignment of a company.  Is there a way to do this in stages and how long would it take?

A: A pledge towards stakeholder value and purpose is only meaningful if it is followed up with true commitments and actions like:

  • Turning their values into action,
  • Authentically connecting with important stakeholder concerns,
  • Operationalizing across their business.

A lack of authenticity risks using purpose as a shallow badge with little to nothing behind it – creating business risk.

Key stages involve:

  1. Defining the corporate purpose,
  2. Building internal alignment,
  3. Activating purpose and long-term measurement and continuous improvement,
  • Identifying various ways to stage alignment and activation
  • Recognizing what for the business.

Q: In working with clients on this issue, what challenges, if any, have they mentioned around communicating it internally?

A: Identifying how purpose is personally relevant to employees across various functional areas, businesses and brands is a common challenge companies experience.

In defining purpose, is critical to understand employees’ values, what is driving their behaviors and the end states they are trying to achieve.

  • What do your internal stakeholders expect?
  • What is it unique about your company and what it does that truly motivates employees and connects to both their hearts and minds.
  • How do you take that central purpose and build buy-in and engagement, beginning to lead from your head and heart as you illuminate your reason for being across stakeholders?

This is an area of challenge for some companies as they work to uncover that internal relevance and human story that conveys their purpose and builds internal alignment.

Q: What methods can possibly be used for measurement?

A: Establishing KPI’s and measuring performance on specific stakeholder behaviors through primary custom research helps companies to assess their progress.  Typical questions you would want to measure for include:

  • Are employees more deeply engaged?
  • Are you attracting top talent to your company?
  • Do communities welcome your operations and give you license to operate?
  • Are you fulfilling promises to your customers and suppliers?

Companies are also increasingly adopting relevant universal goals, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to measure their own progress against broader societal goals.

View original webinar HERE

Dr. Brooke Edge Joins Heart+Mind Strategies as Solutions Director, Brand, Systems+Journey Solutions Team

Heart+Mind Strategies, a leading research-based strategic consultancy, welcomes Dr. Brooke Edge as Solutions Director on the Brand, Systems+Journey team.

Prior to joining Heart+Mind Strategies, Brooke was most recently Director of Research & Strategy at WPI agency priceweber out of Louisville and she was responsible for the design, execution, and analysis of research projects for a variety of clients, including a focus on guiding strategy development.

In her position with Heart+Mind Strategies, Brooke will be responsible for designing research projects and overseeing their deployment for and interactions with key clients on the Brand, Systems+Journey team, and providing insights-based guidance with the goal of helping clients build their businesses.

Brooke has experience with a wide variety of categories including, CPG, Healthcare, Financial Services, Family Entertainment, Nonprofit, Transportation and the Energy sectors.

Brooke completed her PhD in Communication and Media Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and her MA in Cinema Studies at NYU. Brooke’s undergraduate degree is in English from Davidson College.

FREE WEBINAR: Is “Corporate Purpose” a Real Opportunity or Just a Marketing Fad?

Recently the Business Roundtable, a group of nearly 200 U.S. chief executive officers, issued a new statement on the purpose of a corporation. How are companies that embrace this concept articulating, activating and enabling Purpose? To what extent is it deepening stakeholder relationships and impacting business performance?

This webinar delivers what you need to know about this new way of looking at the value generated by companies, including:

  • How companies find an area of purpose that makes sense for their brand,
  • How they ensure their Purpose fits with stakeholder expectations,
  • How they drive a sense of purpose through their organizations.

Our panel of experts provides rich case studies to illustrate how companies implement purpose for business results.

VIEW WEBINAR

FREE WEBINAR:  What’s Missing from Customer Decision Journey Work?

WATCH FREE WEBINAR HERE: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XvyqjvomcneCJiYNBAYo3PuRaQ6zJjdh/view

In the last decade we’ve seen an explosion of interest in the Customer Journey.  Why? Digital and social media have dramatically changed the path to decision-making, the size and diversity of influences and channels, and the experience customers expect. At the same time, AI and machine learning improvements promise marketers personalization tools like never before possible.

The problem? Old, linear models are still at play to inform cutting edge solutions being deployed today. Messaging, channel/touchpoint planning, and CX delivery today must ALL be about the right experience, in the right place, at the right time. But this requires understanding how human systems operate and interact with the resources around them when a customer, consumer, voter, employee, stakeholder, or partner makes a decision.

Our approach is to leverage systems thinking when unpacking the decision-making journey.  

  1. We know the path is shaped and behaviors influenced by the brand and life systems in which people make their decisions.
  2. We identify the rational and emotional drivers of the decision at each stage of the process to showcase what is most relevant at different points in the journey.
  3. This involves mapping the discrete behaviors, interactions, and feedback loops that revolve around the needs, wants, and realities of your most important audience – mapping the system.
  4. Our Journey Map allows you to capture a holistic view of decision dynamics while also providing the detailed view you will need.

When you understand how these systems work, you uncover the role(s) you need to play in context of everything else.   Our outputs make the findings actionable to guide comms planning, inform CX design, inspire product/service innovation, and/or better train AI tools to optimize the human experience.

Bottom line: clear imperatives for brand success.

In this webinar you’ll learn key  principles to make your next Customer Decision Journey study a home run.  Sharpen your knowledge of:

  • How many Customer Decision Journey studies fall short
  • The lessons we can learn from Systems thinking to improve these studies
  • How mapping in this way better informs an array of strategic planning needs

Heart+Mind Strategies’ Brand, Systems+Journey team leader, Maury Giles, will use riveting case studies to show you a different way of thinking about the decision Journey.  Mr. Giles is a serial entrepreneur and innovation expert who’s known as a high energy, entertaining speaker.    He’ll inspire you and lead you to a new way of thinking about the Customer Decision Journey.

What You Must Do To Break Through And (Re)Connect With Today’s CPG Consumer – FREE WEBINAR: June 19, 2019

Understanding and responding to the changing needs of consumers has always been at the core of what we do in the CPG industry.

But today’s always-on, always-connected, always-searching, getting smaller, never-stop world has created a new dynamic in consumer desire. They not only want more…they EXPECT more out of the CPG brands they choose. Real, lasting benefits. Personalized experiences. An authentic story. Full transparency. Sustainability. They want it all. And they want it all NOW (as in 2-hour delivery).

So how do we attract and (re)connect with consumers in this world of almost-constant disruption?

Join a panel of experts from Heart+Mind Strategies as they share their ideas for and experiences with creating meaningful, human connections with today’s CPG consumer. The panel will share their perspectives and case studies on…

  • Understanding how a consumer’s values – the emotional criteria people use to determine importance and give purpose to their decisions – play into the brand and experiences they ultimately choose as their own.
  • Today’s consumer is a responsible citizen of the world. So how does a brand’s or company’s reputation and behaviors factor into his or her brand choices?
  • How is decision-making impacted by emotions and high expectations along the Customer Decision-Making Journey in the CPG landscape?

You will come away from this webinar with concrete ideas for ways you can better connect with today’s in-charge CPG consumer.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW WEBINAR

Facilitator:

 

 

 

Panelists:

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