How Brands are Reacting to the Coronavirus

7 min read
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We used BrandTotal's competitive intelligence tool to monitor the social media marketing activity of some of the world’s largest brands to track their responses and reactions to the fast spreading virus. 

As healthcare regulators, national governments and administrators tackle the fallout of coronavirus (COVID-19), both consumers and brands are searching for information and guidance amidst the confusion. In reaction to this, the largest brands in the world are responding in various ways. 

Through this analysis we identified a group of brands across a few industries that are mentioning the virus or are exercising sensitivity toward the fears of their customers. 

The brand messaging falls into 4 distinct categories: 

  • Educational / informational
  • Consumer reassurance
  • Enablement
  • Public aid / social good 

Brands have been responding in several ways, including reassurance, education, enablement and public aid / social good. 


More Key Takeaways: 

  • Travel providers such as JetBlue and Southwest have adjusted their messaging and are offering ‘free cancellations’ and waived change fees amid the uncertainty due to the virus
  • Household cleaning products and disinfectants such as Lysol and Clorox are focusing on educating consumers on how to avoid contracting the virus through educational videos and diagrams 
  • Teleconferencing platforms such as Zoom are leaning in to the CDC’s recommendation for office workers to “work remotely” if they are experiencing any symptoms of the virus
  • Qualcomm, Johnson & Johnson and the Alibaba Group have pledged millions of dollars to combat the virus 

Educational / Informational

Here are the brands that have posted educational content for consumers about safety during the Coronavirus outbreak:

Brand: Lysol
Platform: YouTube  
First seen: March 2nd, 2019

The ad is a video that goes through the steps on being diligent about preventing the coronavirus with animated reenactments of the best practices.


Brand: Clorox
Platform: Facebook
First seen: February 28th, 2020

The ad is a video guide, similar to Lysol’s, that takes consumers through the best practices for preventing the virus, using animation to demonstrate the best practices.  


Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 10.28.41 AM

Brand: Tito's Vodka
Platform: Twitter 
First seen: March 5th, 2020

Tito's Vodka issued a tweet, warning their followers about the dangers of using their vodka when creating home-made hand sanitizer.  The CDC recommends that all alcohol-based sanitizers should contains at least 60% alcohol to maximize effectiveness, unfortunately Tito's only contains 40%.   




Here are the brands that have positioned their products / services as ways to enable productivity and safety: 

Brand: 3M
Platform: Facebook
First seen: March 2nd, 2020

The ad is mentioning how grateful they are to their staff across the world that is working hard to deliver products across the world amid the Coronavirus scare.



Brand: Zoom
Platform: Facebook
First seen: February 26th, 2020

The ad mentions how they are trying to supply as many resources to people dealing the Coronavirus across the world and links to a blog post.



Consumer Reassurance

Travel providers have been sharing messages of reassurance with regard to service outages and cancellations during the outbreak:   

how jetblue is reacting to the coronavirus

Brand: JetBlue Airways
Platform: Twitter
First seen: February 26th, 2020

This ad does not mention Corona or the Virus outright but mentions that they are instituting a flexible cancellation policy over the next two weeks.


how southwest airlines is reacting to the coronavirus

Brand: Southwest Airlines
Platform: Twitter
First seen: March 2nd, 2020

The ad, similar to JetBlue, is mentioning their free cancellation and waived change fee policy that continues to be in effect.


Brand: Cunard Cruiselines
Platform: Facebook
First seen: February 28th, 2020

Cunard, the cruise line, posted an ad linking to a new outline of their strategy for combating the Coronavirus on their ships.



Brand: Celebrity Cruises
Platform: Instagram
First seen: February 5th, 2020

The ad goes over the company's decision to stop trips to mainland China, as well as offering refunds or discounts to people who still feel unsafe traveling.



Public Aid / Social Good

Here are the brands that have publicly donated funds to promote research and fund the effort to combat the spread of the virus:  

how johnson & johnson is reacting to the coronavirus outbreak

Brand: Johnson & Johnson
Platform: Twitter
First seen: January 28th, 2020

CPG giant, Johnson & Johnson has pledged to donate 1 million surgical masks, 1 million Renminbi (the currency of china), along with 48,000 Bottles of BAND-AID® Brand Isopropyl Alcohol and crucial medical equipment and personnel. 



how qualcomm is reacting to the coronavirus outbreak

Brand: Qualcomm
Platform: Twitter
First seen: January 28th, 2020

Qualcomm has pledged to donate $1M USD to relief agencies in China to support the fight against Coronavirus. A large portion of the company's operations are located in China. 



how alibaba is reacting to the coronavirus

Brand: Alibaba Group
Platform: Twitter
First seen: March 3rd, 2020

The Alibaba Group has pledged to donate upwards of $2M to combat the effects of Coronavirus through the Jack Ma foundation, which was created by the Alibaba co-founder. 

Check back for more update as we will be constantly refreshing this list with more Coronavirus related posts. 

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