In a Time of Crisis: Recollect, Regroup, Refresh and Resonate

Lauren D. WilliamsApr 1, 2020

An Exclusive 2020 Pandora Study

No matter what we do, who we are or where we live, one thing we can agree on is that we are all experiencing change. It’s happening to our families, friends and coworkers alike. We have found new ways to stay connected, execute daily tasks, take care of our loved ones and engage with media.

But what, exactly, are these changes? In a time of crisis, how do we want to receive messages? How have our media habits transformed with shelter-in-place? What do we need from brands? Can we really take one more COVID-19 email update? (The answer is no, unsubscribe).

And in the midst of all this, the most interesting part is understanding how these changes impact us in our different roles. For instance, how we feel as a human, is different than how we feel as a consumer, is different than how we feel as a marketer. In the ‘marketer’ role, it is important for us to put on both our human and business hats and to tune into the needs of our customers in order to create a message that resonates.

To better understand those needs, we tapped into 1st party data via Soundboard—our proprietary panel of 75,000 of our listeners—to get real-time, first-hand responses from the consumers you are trying to reach. Fielded from March 20–23, 2020, this study asked listeners to share how COVID-19 has impacted their daily lives, time spent on activities, how media consumption has pivoted and what role brands and music play.

So without further adieu, let’s dig into some of the findings. While some are expected, others shed a bright light on the ever-changing, ever-evolving consumer mindset.

Impact, Concerns and The State of the Future

  • 84% of listeners are concerned about COVID-19 and its impact on their future/their family's future
  • While multicultural consumers tend to be resilient and somewhat optimistic, they remain equally concerned about the future
    • HA- 87%, AA- 86%
  • And MC Audiences have been impacted the most
    • HA- 97%, AA- 91%
  • 74% of listeners are currently employed. Among those employed:
    • 43% are now working remotely (mandated by employer or own choice)
    • 46% are considered essential employees and still required to go into work
      • MC audiences as a whole are more likely to be considered essential employees
        • AA 111 Index, HA 110 Index
  • 11% are no longer able to work
    • Hispanics are 62% more likely to not be able to work during
  • 85% of parents of children < 18 have their children staying at home as a result of COVID-19. Among these parents:
    • 74% are spending more quality time with their children
    • 67% are cooking more meals at home
    • 56% are acting as the primary educator for their children
      • More likely to be the case for Black Americans - 111 Index
  • 49% are running out of the essentials at a faster rate
    • More likely to be the case for Black Americans - 121 index

Key Takeaways: Impact and Concerns are Widespread: COVID-19 has affected all of our daily lives, and we have deep concerns on how it will potentially shape the future. As a marketer, we have to be empathetic toward this concern and acknowledge them in both our short-term and long-term messaging.

Multicultural Audiences Experience Different Challenges: Hispanic and Black Americans are running out of essentials faster than the general population, and they’re acting as the primary educator for their children. Brands should identify ways they can help ease the load.

The Changing Media Consumption Landscape

  • 42% are spending more time listening to streaming audio, which is the third activity listeners are spending more time doing after reading news stories (52%) and streaming video (51%)
    • Hispanic Americans are 29% more likely to be listening to more streaming audio than the general population (54%, 129 Index)
  • Only 10% are spending more time listening to traditional AM/FM radio, while 29% are spending less time with AM/FM
  • 59% are spending more time listening to music alone and 34% are spending more time co-listening
    • Hispanic Americans are 17% more likely to be spending more time listening to music with others (39%, 117 Index)

Key Takeaways: Streaming Audio Dominates: Routines have changed but one thing remains constant—listeners are spending more time with digital audio vs. terrestrial. Audience Nuances are Not to be Ignored: Understanding how key cultural groups interact with media to stay connected while also entertaining their children allows marketers to identify ways to create messages that resonate and engage this powerful audience in a meaningful way.

Music Heals and Messages Should Uplift

  • Music plays a role that allows listeners to escape during these uncertain times:
    • 82% of listeners believe music improves their mood
    • 77% say music relieves stress and anxiety
    • 62% say music is a welcomed distraction
    • 60% say music provides an escape
    • Hispanics are 27% more likely to turn to music as a safety net
    • Black Americans are 39% more likely to say music brings their families together
  • When considering how brands can help consumers during this time, product availability and accessibility are most important to listeners:
    • 71% of listeners want products to be available on shelf
    • 63% want products to be accessible online
    • 59% of Hispanic consumers would like to receive discounts on products
  • When considering how brands can message/advertise during this time, listeners want to see informative and positive content:
    • 53% want to see ads/content that are informative/relevant to their product/service
    • 50% want to see ads/content that are positive and uplifting
      • AA- Index 137
    • MC audiences as a whole want virtual activities that bring people together
      • HA- 124 Index, AA- 138 Index

Key Takeaways: Audio is Powerful: Sound has the power to impact moods, stimulate our brains and heal our minds. One of our listeners said it best when they stated, “Music is my home, my safe place, and my best friend. It has provided me strength and comfort through this disappointing and frustrating situation.” Brands should find meaningful ways to create or expand their audio strategy to harness the power of audio. Product Availability & Communication is key: People are worried about when and how they can receive goods—potentially without ever leaving their home. As items such as toilet paper and water fly off the shelves, implement an omnichannel communication strategy to connect with consumers about the availability of your product/service.

At Pandora, our number one priority is you. And when our day-to-day lives seem out of sorts, it’s important to remember how audio and data can help provide whatever it is you need to recollect, regroup, refresh and resonate.

We hope you will continue to take care of your families during this precious time while also leveraging data and insights to continue connecting with consumers. And as we all find new ways to live this ‘new normal’ for the unforeseeable future, we will continue to push out relevant insights and be your go-to resource for not only all things audio but also as a trusted and valuable partner.

Always remember, life is better with Sound On.

Want to see more? Reach out to your sales rep for the full study.

Source: Pandora Soundboard, COVID-19 Poll, (N=1,995), March 2020

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