Predicting consumer behaviour after COVID: The social alarm model


In response to the communication hiatus many brands took during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, APPLE TREE developed a social listening system to help them understand when it was the right time to reconnect with their consumers.


By Spring 2021, after over a year of living with the unpredictable ebb and flow of the COVID-19 virus, Europe’s vaccination campaign was gaining momentum, with hopes of reaching 70% by summer’s end. However, concerns remained. In June,  it became crucial for companies to assess how the pandemic might evolve, particularly by September. Key questions included:

  • How would consumers and citizens react to initiatives for the new academic year (advertising campaigns, safety measures, return-to-office policies)?
  • How would a potential resurgence impact these plans?


To address the myriad questions posed by our clients, APPLE TREE developed a Social Alarm Measurement Model. This model integrates various data sources containing millions of entries and utilises BIG DATA and DATA ANALYTICS tools. Through this approach, we’ve established a predictive model for decision-making, offering different levels of alarm corresponding to different scenarios.


The data revealed a clear link between the pandemic’s severity and public concern, especially regarding the virulent fifth wave and its impact on younger demographics. However, predicting the reputational impact of brand actions required a more qualitative approach.  To this end, we conducted an additional analysis, focusing on the qualitative phase of social reaction and leveraging indicators from platforms, particularly Twitter.

Another key element of this analysis and tool utilisation was measuring the response to brands’ communication efforts during the summer period and attempting to anticipate the post-holiday scenario.



This model empowered our clients to green light previously stalled projects. As a result of this analysis, our collaborating clients now have a data-driven framework and a pre-defined action plan to enable agile responses to any change of scenario.


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Negative sentiment towards advertising campaigns
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