[Series] Marketing during COVID-19: Brands are building trust and loyalty

May 6th, 2020 | Jeannette Ornelas

Each week on the Bolder Thinking Blog, our analysts share insight and analysis on how companies and brands are navigating COVID-19 with innovative thinking and multichannel campaign strategies. In this week’s post, we discuss how brands are finding ways to meet consumers where they are to inspire trust and loyalty. 

Emphasize customer support

Consumers are turning to financial services providers more than ever for support, and it’s not just the brand answering—it’s brand representatives. As more transactions shift online, banks are stepping up to help customers navigate online banking.  

Amidst growing tensions with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses to help cover up to eight weeks of payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities, banks are emphasizing their commitment to small business support. Chase and Citi both promoted what percentage of their loans went to businesses with 10 employees or fewer.  


Discover, on the other hand,  launched a social campaign featuring its employees working from home to safely support its customers.  

Discover paid Facebook ad

Adapt to changing spending priorities

Consumer spending priorities are changing, and credit card issuers are tweaking rewards to better fit the new spending landscape. Brands like Chase and Amex are working to retain customers by adapting with them, offering limited-time rewards changes that reflect current consumer spending. 

The Chase Sapphire card is providing dining experiences rewards whether customers are ordering in or cooking at home. 

Amex is giving cardholders limited-time credits for streaming and wireless services and increased earn on supermarket purchases. In March 2020, Amex premium cardmembers spent on average 20% more on streaming and 54% more on groceries, in comparison to February 2020, according to Amex. 

Celebrate the moments that bring normalcy

While how we interact has changed, the most important things remain: family, friends, and community. It’s a smart move for brands to acknowledge the reality we’re all living and working in while taking time to celebrate the moments that get us by. 

To do so, brands are tapping relevant platforms to reach and engage consumers. The use of food-delivery apps and social media platforms has increased, offering marketers valuable real estate. 

Chipotle and UberEats teamed up to mix ‘the perfect marg.’ 

As states lift restrictions, restaurants are reopening—though most aren’t promoting re-openings on social media. Perhaps hoping to keep their national reputation untarnished, these brands continue pushing stay-at-home messaging despite taking advantage of eased state restrictions. 

Olive Garden is reopening in Georgia and Tennessee but staying quiet about it on Twitter. 

What we think 

With states easing restrictions on different timelines, national brands will need to be careful about their messaging. 

As restaurant chains’ social media posts have shown, the message doesn’t always match the action. On one hand, these companies are still closed in the majority of states, so it makes sense to make social distancing the louder message. On the other hand, their quick re-opening reveals their priorities – some that will please some consumers and turn off others.  

In the coming weeks, across multiple sectors, expect to see brands struggle to juggle politics with policies and messaging.  

Stay tuned for next week’s post to see how marketing is evolving during COVID-19. Catch up on the full series here.


Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst for Comperemedia. Jeannette is responsible for producing syndicated and custom reports and providing marketing insights across a range of industry sectors and channels.