Smirnoff, yay. LinkedIn, boo. How COVID-19 changed people's feelings

The coronavirus and working from home have completely altered the way people live. It's also changed the way people feel toward certain brands, according to a comprehensive new study.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Things have changed. Feelings, too.

You're not quite the same anymore, are you?

You now look at life, love, and work through an entirely different prism. The one created by COVID-19.

Being far more tied to your home has meant you have new needs and new feelings toward everything around you. This includes the products you use. And, most certainly, the ones to which you feel a peculiar loyalty.

But do your feelings match with those of your fellow humans?

Helpfully, research consultancy Brand Keys has just emitted its annual customer loyalty study. Conducted among more than 55,000 consumers in August and September, this offers a picture of the brands people want to clutch to their bosoms and the ones that have fallen from emotional grace.

Deepest in our hearts is Amazon's retail service. Because how else are you going to panic-buy toilet paper during a pandemic? Yet taking the three spots immediately behind it we find Netflix and Amazon's video streaming services, followed by the iPhone.

These have replaced Google's search engine, Samsung's smartphones, and Amazon's tablets.

It seems, then, that people are valuing their software-based emotional well-being above all else. For example, while Apple's iPads slipped, Disney's streaming video service soared straight in at number 7.

Pore further into the details of this survey and you might find yourself reaching for a drink. While Twitter dropped 26 places, Smirnoff rose 26 places, Ketel One rose sixteen places, and Grey Goose ten.

Could it be that people are tired of being angry, wish Twitter would just shut up and turn to alcohol for solace? Could it be that you know a lot of people like that?

Given that these respondents had 1,121 brands to choose from, it seems their deepest emotions may have done the choosing for them.

One tech brand seems to have become entirely dispensable. Microsoft's LinkedIn disappeared from the top 100 entirely. Do people really have no faith in business connections? Has LinkedIn failed to give people what they most want -- a good job?

The brand wasn't alone. McDonald's, Expedia, and Delta Air Lines wafted away too.

If I don't need you right now, you don't exist to me. That seems to be the driving feeling amid a crisis. Wait, people don't need a Big Mac? How can this be America?

YouTube and Instagram enjoyed significant rises. Pinterest fell precipitously. Clorox, previously not on the list, appeared at number 30. Yes, from nowhere. Who could have loved Clorox six months ago? 

Brand Keys believes its loyalty metrics are a fine predictor of consumers' attitudes in the future. "The more loyalty, the better behavior toward a brand. The better behavior, the stronger a brand's bottom line," said the company's founder and president CEO Robert Passikoff. 

Here, then, is a picture of the immediate tomorrow, judging from this survey's results. We're turning away a little from Facebook, Fox News, Twitter and Ford. We're turning toward Zoom, Instagram, Disney, YouTube and vodka.

Is this a better world?

Innovative projects now online to combat coronavirus outbreak

Editorial standards