BIC - May 2012
By: Shawn M. Galloway
How effectively are you marketing safety? When an organization decides it wants to introduce a new product or service, teams are created to develop strategy and marketing plans to introduce the offering to the marketplace, and ultimately dominate the field. If safety is such a core element of your organization, how comparable is the effectiveness of your safety strategy to your business strategy?
A fundamental element of an effective strategy is marketing. How complete and successful are your marketing plans for safety? Are you working your plan and is your plan working? While this mindset is nothing new to business at large, it is surprisingly absent from many organizations when it comes to safety.
While there may be many elements to a successful marketing plan, four are worthy of your immediate attention. Do these well and you will make great leaps forward.
Branding - When individuals (employees, contractors, customers, etc.) think of safety in your organization, what do they think of? Is there something they identify with? What comes to mind? We all have emotional connections to some product we have been exposed to, some positive, some negative. What emotional response do people have when your safety personnel, programs, processes, training or measurements are mentioned? What is the personality of safety and the perceptions it creates? What is your brand in safety?
Positioning - After you have developed a desirable perception or experience about safety, what are your tactics to effectively position this throughout the organization? Structure and programs are certainly part of it, but how are you planning for communication, competition, and other priorities and operational focus? Think about the attention of individuals similarly to market share you would like to lead. How well are you positioning your safety brand and how much attention share do you have?
Voice of the customer - Everyone is a customer in safety - employees, supervisors, managers, contractors, family members and individuals in the community. An important element sometimes overlooked in standard marketing initiatives is how the voice of the customer will be captured. What are your customer's requirements in safety? What interests them? What turns them off? What are their previous experiences and their expectations? Questions such as these are always an important reality check to determine the effectiveness of your branding and positioning.
Reinforcing the buying decision - Getting the time and attention of individuals is becoming increasingly difficult. If you are able to create enough excitement and buzz around safety that it generates a high level of volunteerism, what do you do to show your appreciation and reinforce the decision to get involved? It is likely you have, at some point, experienced buyer's remorse for something you have purchased. When the opportunity was presented to buy again, how excited were you to give it another try? Even when an experience was pleasant, it is easy for people to forget. We have all heard the old adage, "when someone has a bad experience, they will tell many. If they have a good experience, they might tell one." If someone is only willing to tell one person, this is an indicator that excitement about the brand hasn't been established yet.
Realistically, there is always the possibility other things might sway the attention from someone's interest in safety. So what are you doing proactively to keep the attention there and reassure the individual that he made the right choice?
With an effective marketing plan, your efforts can result in the establishment of passion around something already so important to everyone. The desire is already there to want to be safe, why not leverage this and create some excitement?