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How Brands Can Navigate the Latest Narrative Around COVID-19 Vaccine Disparity

Mar 11, 2021

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As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out, online factions have been focusing on the disparity in the distribution of vaccines and treatments to developing countries or underserved communities in the US. 

We have already seen some of these narratives unfold on mainstream media, where there has recently been some discussion around wealthy communities in states like Florida securing vaccines for their residents while access is still limited for the broader population.

The Political Left faction, which has been primarily amplifying this narrative, is a collection of highly-engaged, politically motivated amplification networks that blur the line between grassroots online activism and astroturfing tactics. These networks often succeed in introducing narratives to mainstream political commentators in order to amplify their message. Most recently, they have effectively generated engagement around a discussion about the Black Doctors COVID-19 consortium, which tests members of the Philadelphia community and encourages education, advocacy, and access to COVID testing and treatment.

This narrative vaccine distribution disparity is inauthentic overall, with 17% of activity coming from suspect accounts, which is higher than the typical online conversation (as a benchmark, this is generally less than 10%). Why does authenticity matter? Conversations with higher levels of inauthenticity indicate that agenda-driven groups are focused on amplifying narratives that further their objectives. 

Recommendations for Strategic Communications Teams Informing Vaccine-Related Policy and Communications

Yonder works with strategic communications teams to help them build resilience around their brand story so that when narratives around major social, political and cultural issues emerge and take hold online, their integrity is protected. Talk to us to learn more about our work.

Prepare Your Executives and Spokespeople Before COVID-19 Vaccine Narratives Hit the Mainstream

Your executives, employees, board members, and other spokespeople may share thoughts about COVID-19 vaccines online: Do they work? How are logistics and distribution playing out? What conspiracy theories are circulating out there? Be sure to prep them with social intelligence about emerging and developing narratives, so they don’t accidentally stoke a social media wildfire, or become the target of online factions looking for a platform to amplify their message. See more guidance on how to protect executives and other spokespeople from damaging narratives online.

Monitor COVID-19 Vaccine Narratives that Could Sideswipe your Brand

This emerging vaccine narrative is, of course, very much interlinked with narratives about social justice. Our work shows that 9 times out of 10, narratives come back for brands. You should still be monitoring conversations on this topic, not only on mainstream channels like Twitter and Facebook but also on fringe networks like 4 chan, Parler and others. Factions often go back to the well to workshop new narratives to target brands in the same, old ways.

Download our COVID-19 vaccine narratives report below.

Watch our webinar where we covered strategies for brands communicating, triaging incidents, and making decisions in this environment.

Stay tuned as we deliver more insights around this ongoing conversation

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