I want to talk about two crucial pieces of information I learned last week. It’s important to discuss why these facts matter to marketers, or at least why they should.
First up is the viewership data for the first-ever virtually held NFL Draft, which took place in Commissioner Roger Goodell’s basement. Peak viewership for the draft was 19.6 million, compared to last year’s 11.4 million peak. The average viewership for the draft was 15.6 million (for the first round), which broke the previous record of 12.4 million from 2014.
Now, it’s pretty obvious why this draft was so successful in terms of viewership. With the complete absence of live sports, any semblance of sports content was going to draw big crowds, especially something related to the NFL. But seeing records shattered is still impactful and therefore worthy of analysis.
To take a bit of a 180, the other piece of information comes from Survata, and was astutely summarized by Greg Sterling in Search Engine Land. Survata recently polled just over 1,000 adults on their shopping behaviors. The data suggested that users are showing preference for established brands in a wide range of categories. Though shoppers are spending less, they are favoring more expensive brand names over generics, which seems counterintuitive. The main reason behind this is brand trust and brand messaging.
Poll respondents listed several messaging highlights they wanted to hear in brand interaction, including commitments to availability, the brand employees, product safety, and price control. But even with such strategic messaging, trust topped the chart as the most important factor, especially considering the increase in product research being conducted before purchase decisions.
Now that we talked about the data a little bit, let’s look at why marketers need to care about information like this. During a time of uncertainty, people are looking for stability, comfort, and normality as well as trust. These factors are clearly driving a lot of decisions, and marketers need to adapt and leverage them in order to make a strong impression on consumers.
The viewership of the NFL draft further supports the global search for normality; something to take our minds back to our hobbies before many of them were taken away. Consumers are letting their money talk by supporting brands they trust, as well as brands that show a commitment to their employees and the consumers themselves.
While brand marketing spend is on the decline, it really should be a time for brands to pounce with positive, comforting messaging and content that can ease consumer tension and create relationships that drive up lifetime values. IKEA and DoubleTree releasing recipes to their meatballs and cookies is the kind of unique, comfort-first branded content we love to see at this time, and we expect to see more and more brand investment as we reach a more stable situation worldwide.
If you ever have extra time, take a good look at the ads and content you see posted over the next few weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if trust and commitment-based content continue to play a role as we move into what will soon become the new normal.