In these uncertain times, consumers want brands to deliver experiences that meet their new needs with empathy, and new research has found this sentiment to be felt even more acutely among those most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

More than half, rising to 60% of older consumers, want brands to explain what measures they’re taking to mitigate the spread of the virus, and they rate actions that serve the greater good more highly than receiving a personal cost saving.

These are just some of the key findings from a survey of almost 2,400 consumers in the “front line” of the crisis, such as nurses, first responders, teachers, seniors, college students and members of the military.

Conducted by SheerID, an identity marketing firm that verifies whether people qualify for brand discounts, the comprehensive study is based on the premise that consumers divide into “tribes” who look out for each other in their own networks.

It references the philosophy of Seth Godin, the entrepreneur and author whose seminal book “Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us” contends that tribal behaviour is a “fundamental human experience, and if you ignore that and try to talk to everyone, you’re probably talking to no one”.

Accordingly, the survey details what these consumer tribes, the ones hardest hit by the pandemic, want from brands and reveals that 68% of all respondents want brands to donate to programs that provide direct support for medical workers.

They also want brands to show up for them with meaningful support, such as personalised offers that make them feel “valued” or “thankful”, although they are most drawn to those that provide tangible value.

For example, more than 60% of all groups say free shipping has the greatest appeal, rising even higher among students (65%), seniors (69%) and teachers (68%).

What’s also important to note is that members of these groups look out for each other and, when receiving something like a personalised offer, they want to be sure it benefits their entire group.

So, after receiving a personalised offer, more than 90% of all the consumer tribes say they would share it with others who they knew would be eligible for it. And even with social distancing, these groups are connecting live.

In addition, more than one-third of all consumer tribes say they would share a personalised offer in person, rising to more than half of first responders (52%) and nurses (54%).

Finally, more than half of all the consumer tribes surveyed say that a personalised offer would make them shop with a brand more frequently, while around 60% say it would encourage them to promote that brand to family and friends.

Sourced from SheerID, Shopify; additional content by WARC staff