What’s everyone saying in those COVID-19 update emails?
3/23/20 / Andrew Streight
If you’re like us, you’ve received ~1,000,000 emails from seemingly every organization in the world at this point with a subject line like “COVID-19 Update” or “How we’re supporting you during the coronavirus outbreak”
Using our qualitative analysis software, we thought we’d have some fun analyzing the language being used in these COVID-19 update emails. So, we analyzed the emails from 80 organizations across a range of sectors and industries to see what we might learn. This analysis is by no means intended to be representative of entire industries, but it does give us some insight into the messages being prioritized by organizations during this unprecedented time.
We grouped the emails into the following categories, then analyzed the text for the most frequently used words across each category:
- Overall, capturing the most frequently used words across all 80 organizations (word cloud above)
- Purpose-driven organizations, including education, cultural, and government organizations
- Hospitality, transportation, and travel, including airlines, hotels, and transit
- Food and retail
- Health and wellness, including medical and exercise
- Pet-related, including retail and veterinary
- Market research, including vendors, associations, and our COVID-19 update
- Financial institutions
- Media and entertainment
For each category, we provide the set of organizations included in the analysis, as well as a word cloud with the most frequently used words by those organizations in their COVID-19 update email. Words mentioned more frequently are shown in larger fonts. The location and color of words are simply for clarity in reading. Words that are obvious to such messages, like “coronavirus” and “COVID-19,” were removed from the analysis. Words that share the same root, such as “continue, continuing, continuously,” are counted together. The number of organizations studied in each category is indicated in parentheses.
Before diving into the word clouds, a few insights overall:
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, the word “health” is the most used word across all 80 organizations as well as for 4 of the 8 categories.
- The three perhaps most customer-facing categories (purpose-driven; food & retail; hospitality & travel) are also those that prioritize the word “community” in tandem with “health.”
- The frequency of the word “continuously” is intriguing, as it evokes a communal sense of persistence, consistency, and perseverance during a time of growing uncertainty.
- At Corona, we know the importance of messaging that resonates with our broad definition of a “customer” as “those whose lives are impacted by the work you do.” Across each category below, note how organizations in different industries/sectors utilize language that is intended to resonate with unique subsets of customers.
Purpose-driven organizations, including education, cultural, and government organizations (13)
“Health” is the most frequently used word here, along with “continue,” “students,” “campus,” and “community.”
Hospitality, transportation, and travel, including airlines, hotels, and transit (12)
It is not surprising that “travel” is among the most frequently used words for this category. It is interesting that this is the only category where “cleaning” came up so frequently, but this fits with the image this group might be trying to articulate right now.
Food and retail (9)
“Health” is again prominent with this one, which makes a lot of sense for this category. “Order,” “customers,” “community,” “order,” and “safety” were also frequently used in the emails from food and retail organizations.
Health and wellness, including medical and exercise (12)
This is the last category with “health” as the most frequently used word, which is, again, fitting. Interesting to see the different expressions of customer-centric language across each category, as we see “athletes” frequently used here.
Pet-related, including retail and veterinary (7)
Another example of customer-centric language being prioritized here, as “pets” and “dogs” are most frequently used (sorry cat people, we’ve got a lot of dogs on Team Corona.)
Market research, including vendors and associations (7)
No big surprises here, as “research” is obviously of paramount concern for organizations like Corona. “Online” and “participation” are interesting, as we endeavor to create more online-based opportunities to conduct our research right now.
Financial institutions (12)
In addition to being the first category to really prioritize the word “customers,” financial institutions are positioning around how to help individuals navigate the anxiety and uncertainty of today’s economic environment, as evident in the words “help,” “call,” and “online.”
Media & Entertainment (8)
The emails in this category were slightly different than others, as many were not necessarily updates on services/products being provided (or not) during the coronavirus outbreak, but instead sets of information about what’s happening in the world. The words “continue,” “outbreak,” and “people” really stand out here, as do “business” and “economy.”