How brands treat people during national crises like a global pandemic impacts shoppers’ purchase decisions. This means that even subtle elements in your direct mail, email, and newsletter messaging matter—a lot.

This is the finding of Global Web Index (GWI), one of the premier players in the consumer data industry. According to GWI’s report “The Fragile (im)Balance: How Media & Brand Narratives Can Support Women Post-Pandemic,” shoppers are sensitive to narratives around the messaging used by brands and the media, especially during challenging times.

According to GWI, 45% of women say that a brand/company showing support to people during the pandemic impacts their purchasing decisions. This rises to 48% of mothers. In something GWI calls “the dad effect,” this concern is higher among men than women — 50% — and reaches its highest level among fathersat 56%.

The “dad effect” is seen around issues of gender equality, as well. When asked whether they agree that brands and the media have the power to shape how women see themselves during challenging times, 64% of women agreed, rising to 69% of mothers. Men were even more likely to agree with this statement (66%), rising to 74% of fathers. This is attributed to fathers’ desire to have gender fairness and equality modeled for their daughters.

In light of these findings, GWI recommends promoting the following positive messaging in shopper-facing communications:

  • Valuing women’s health, including their mental health.
  • Normalizing and encouraging women’s self-care.
  • Showing concern for the realities of the often chaotic and stressful nature of home life.
  • Promoting women getting support from their male partners.
  • Promoting women connecting with other women.

So be intentional in your messaging. Acknowledge these issues. Use language that inspires and encourages. Whether you sell shoes or sushi, show that you care about your audience’s problems, and your message will resonate.

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