Virginians have a heart and expect their favorite brands to have one, too, states a release Capitol Communicator received from Elevation, an advertising and marketing firm based in Richmond.

In a real-time mobile survey of 800 Virginia residents ages 18 and up, conducted April 2-3 by Elevation, respondents were “very concerned” about the health of the U.S. public at large (70 percent) and their family and friends (66 percent), as compared to their own personal health (50 percent). A majority also were “very concerned” about the impact of the coronavirus on federal (67 percent) and state economies (55 percent) as compared to their own personal finances (48 percent).

 “Everyone knows Virginia is for lovers, and these numbers prove it,” said Aaron Dotson, co-founder and an executive creative director at Elevation. “This response shows how concerned commonwealth citizens are about the country overall, and about those who are close to us.”

 In addition, a majority want to hear from brands about how they are caring for their employees (84 percent) and steps they are taking to protect and care for their customers (83 percent).

 “With this snapshot survey, we also wanted to see how the coronavirus is impacting the consumer’s attitude toward advertising, favored modes of communications and overall emotional well-being,” Dotson added.  According to Elevation, among the findings:

—Nearly 60 percent are open to brands’ explicitly addressing the pandemic in advertising and communications. 30 percent are either not open to brands’ explicitly addressing the pandemic or have no opinion, while others say it depends on the brand/message. The latter were asked to elaborate, and cited some common themes: that the messaging from brands tends to sound the same, which is fatiguing to consumers; consumers are not open to brands’ using the pandemic to drive sales; and that advertising should be done with compassion and a people-centric focus.

—A vast majority (90 percent) stressed the importance of supporting local businesses over the next 30 days. Similarly, 82 percent stressed the importance of supporting nonprofits and/or community organizations.

—In the next three months, only 8 percent of respondents plan to increase spending on travel/public transportation, while 6 percent plan to increase spending on tourist attractions (i.e., museums, zoos, botanical gardens, etc.) as compared to today. More people plan to increase spending on fresh and organic food (22 percent), packaged food (30 percent) and entertainment (21 percent). Of particular note, 16 percent plan to increase charitable giving.

—Nearly half (49 percent) have increased consumption of social media over the last 30 days, with an increase in the use of streaming TV (43 percent) and streaming radio (25 percent) across all ages.

—Virginians are experiencing an emotional rollercoaster. Six in ten reported feeling anxious “always” or “often” over the last 30 days, with younger adults ages 18-24 feeling more anxiety (72 percent) than adults ages 55 and over (44 percent). Respondents also reported feeling bored (49 percent), hopeful (41 percent), calm (42 percent), sad (40 percent), irritable (38 percent), confident (35 percent), lonely (33 percent) and excited (21 percent).

About the poll

Using a real-time mobile survey platform, Elevation polled 800 Virginians ages 18 and over between April 2 and April 3, 2020, to better understand the impact of COVID-19. The survey is weighted to be representative of the general population by age and gender.

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