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Katz: With Radio Listeners’ Behaviors In Flux, Brands Need To Stay On The Air.

Katz Radio Group says brands need to stay on the air — and remain top of mind — amid the constant shifts in consumer behavior in the era of COVID-19.

“The past few months have been a learning experience for everyone,” Katz says in Sound Answers, a feature on its website that offers ongoing insights about radio, communities and brands during the pandemic. “Between lockdown restrictions and supply issues, consumers have had to adjust shopping behaviors, often rethinking brand loyalties, and ultimately, reassessing what they want and expect from brands. Brands in turn, need to stay on top of these evolving consumer sentiments to help them deliver the right messaging to improve engagement and drive sales.”

Katz conducted an analysis of MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Insights Study data from August that details how listeners have altered their buying decisions and brand perceptions. That data revealed that half of listeners bought brands they normally wouldn’t have due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, 76% expect to return to their favorite brands when the pandemic is finally over — but some changes will endure. One is the trend to buy generic products: 47% anticipate buying more in the future.

“With brand loyalty up in the air,” Katz says, “it is no surprise that 77% of radio listeners feel it is important for brands to continue to advertise during this time. And the majority of listeners appreciate companies offering messages of support.”

The idea that brand loyalty is out the window these days has been bolstered by a number of research reports that document the contemporary consumer drive to find value and secure needed household essentials. According to the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Leaders List 2020, this trend has meant bad news for some very established, venerable brands.

It has also served to underscore the urgency with which brands need to maintain their advertising commitments. In short, hitting pause on advertising is generally a bad idea.

“It is in advertisers’ best interest to utilize radio to engage in meaningful communication with their new and existing customers during the pandemic,” Katz says. “Through AM/FM Radio, brands have the opportunity to stay top of mind with listeners and ensure that new habits and brands become favorites after the pandemic, or that original preferences become number one again.”

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