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‘Caring’ and ‘supportive’ – what people want from brand messaging

Brands should adapt their messaging to consumers’ heightened and changing emotions instead of reverting back to their pre-Covid-19 communications, research by Twitter has found. The survey of 1,000 UK Twitter users found that just 7% want brands to return to their normal tone of voice.

When Twitter asked users what tone of voice they wanted from brands in March, they valued a very informative tone over anything else, wanting brands to give them accurate information because they were feeling lost. In June, when asked them the same question, respondents wanted a more caring, supportive tone.

Through the research, which also analysed of billions of tweets, Twitter identified a series of behaviours that it said captures the current moods in society. These include an increased willingness to talk about mental health, supporting communities and embracing a slower pace of life. There has also been a 400% growth in conversations about helping vulnerable people and neighbours.

The key to emerging from this situation successfully is knowing where consumers’ ‘heads are at’ and being able to tap into their mindset, while paying extra care to remain accountable. Twitter warned brands against sidestepping difficult conversations and instead advised ‘honest progress over perfection’ which the research suggests is what consumers really value this year and moving forward.

Trouble ahead for the beeb

This week, the BBC announced that The Andrew Neil Show on BBC Two has been cancelled. Neil has worked for the BBC for the past two decades, establishing a reputation as one of British television’s toughest political interviewers. The BBC said it remains ‘committed’ to keeping Neil as part of its current affairs coverage, and that there are discussions about creating a new interview series on BBC One. Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Wes Streeting described the move as ‘great news for those in power… and a shame for everyone else’.

The move is part of the BBC’s ongoing restructuring programme, which will see 520 jobs axed from the 6000 people who currently work at the broadcaster. The politics team will face cuts, including reductions in operations staff, presenters, and the use of fewer studios. BBC Parliament will also no longer commission bespoke programming. Director of BBC News and Current Affairs Fran Unsworth defended the changes, arguing that the network ‘won’t be sustainable’ unless cuts are made.

Insiders have claimed that the BBC News website will ‘cease to function in its current state’ if the corporation closes its central online hub in Birmingham. Moreover, the broadcaster’s renowned annual journalism trainee scheme – which provides a pipeline for new talent – has deferred the start of this year’s scheme to next year. It had been due to begin in September. Likewise, News UK – publisher of The Sun and The Times – is to cancel its News Academy this year. Although the programme is expected to return next year to offer a week of hands on experience for 20 students aged between 16 and 21.

Meanwhile in print, 180 cuts were made at The Guardian, which before the pandemic was in profit. Guardian Media Group is planning to cut 12% of its workforce as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken £25m off the publisher’s forecast revenues for the next year. It told staff it expects to cut around 180 jobs in total, with 70 of those in editorial.

Most coronavirus fake news from Facebook

More than 1,000 advertisers have continued to pull spend from Facebook this week as part of a mass boycott over its content policies. The Drum speculates on what would happen if the movement gains greater momentum, and SMEs, publishers and 2.6 billion users follow suit.

This is the same week that Press Gazette published data demonstrating that the most misleading stories about coronavirus originate on Facebook. Several social media giants, including Twitter and Google-owned Youtube, are coming under pressure over coronavirus misinformation that is spreading virally on their platforms. A campaign, Fight The Infodemic, is calling on social media firms to crack down on such content.


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