April 10, 2020

Doing Right Ahead of Scrutiny

Even companies that aren’t on the front lines of the coronavirus response are finding ways to seize the moment and lead without prompting. An example is auto insurers this week collectively issuing billions in rebates to policyholders. With drivers staying home and off the roads, traffic accidents have declined. With increased capital at a time when many families are facing economic hardship, companies such as USAAAllstate, State Farm and others decided to get ahead of criticism they could face and help consumers when they most need it. Consumers are paying attention — and want to see brands helping the most vulnerable in this time of crisis. Those who don’t step up face scrutiny over their response, with media attention starting to turn to the disparities between corporate executives who may be profiting and their minimum wage workers. With questions swirling regarding executive pay and stock buybacks, companies should consider ways they can help on their own terms and own the media cycle before they face urgent demands from social media, the press or Congress.

Are We Hitting COVID Conversation Fatigue?

Can it be that coronavirus is already fading from conversation, even as it still dominates daily life? GPG looked at the volume of tweets mentioning the coronavirus since March 1st. The conversation peaked around the 14th when American businesses began telling their employees to stay at home, with over 25 million tweets on the topic in a single day. Since then, we’ve seen a sharp decline in conversation volume, with fewer than 10M tweets on April 9th. But is conversation really fading–or has COVID-19 become so embedded in daily life that many references are implicit? Tweets like this one from CNN (yes, real news in this era) don’t mention the virus, but the repercussions go without saying.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Helping at Home and in DC

Donations to help vulnerable populations grapple with the coronavirus are a trend among many companies. One popular way companies are contributing is through donations to communities where key stakeholders are located. Take Amazon: Besides its Seattle-area efforts, the company has donated $1 million to local organizations in the Washington, D.C. area to help support its second HQ community during the pandemic. Other companies like Booz Allen Hamilton, Comcast and Target also have been donating to the DC area. One example of a group effort is America’s Food Fund, a $12 million collaboration between Apple, the Emerson Collective and the Ford Foundation to donate to organizations providing food to vulnerable populations during the coronavirus pandemic, including Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen, which has a footprint in DC.  If your organization would like to make an impact in the DC region, the DC government’s COVID-19 response is helping to coordinate efforts.

Who’s Leading the Conversation on Elder Care?

Elder care is a growing theme in the COVID-19 conversation online, but who’s driving it? We used our Network Influencer Tool to look at who’s influencing this discussion—and how. President Trump topped the charts in terms of reach, engaging with users on topics such as Medicaid pay for in-home elder care and nursing home conditions and appearing in reporters’ mentions. NBC news reporter Benjy Sarlin’s tweets on his father contracting coronavirus in a New York City nursing home also drove lots of conversation. BNO news, an international news agency, scored most highly on connectivity – meaning their tweets tracking the spread of the pandemic in nursing homes throughout France resonated with diverse groups within the network. Aaron Glantz, a senior reporter at Reveal, shared information with a large number of accounts within the network through his content on a variety of topics, from veterans’ affairs to PPE shortage. NBC News ranked highest on pumping the most information within the network. But no matter who’s talking, the growth of the conversation around elder care shows that now more than ever, the personal is political.

Am I Just Eating Because I’m Bored?

With seemingly endless amounts of time at home, Americans are searching Google for recipes at a furious pace. People appear to be passing time in quarantine by making foods from scratch they normally wouldn’t have time for. In a graph created using Google Trends data, we look at “rising” recipes—how much volume has increased over the previous time period–and “top” recipes—how popular certain searches are relative to each other. As we see from top trends (and possibly your own social media feeds), baking is a popular new pastime these days—10 of the top 25 recipes searched in the past three months were for baked goods. Homemade hand sanitizer is another popular — though inedible — recipe, as the standby product has flown off the shelves in recent months. And with the rise of video-based social media platforms such as TikTok, new trends such as whipped (dalgona) coffee have emerged among younger populations, grabbing the third- and fourth- places in rising recipes searches.