Madison Avenue visits the work site
Front of safety stuffer: Pucker up those lips andâ€¦ (â€œplayful but tastefulâ€ illustrations accompany these tips, says MCA/Chicago)
Back: â€¦learn CPR. It could save a life.
Front: Burning? Tingling? Quivering?
Back: It could be frostbite. Avoid it by wearing layers and heavy gloves when itâ€™s cold.
Sex sells everything from Jaguars and jewelry to beer and hair blowers. Why not work site safety? asks MCA/Chicago.
Why not, indeed? Letâ€™s apply sales and advertising principles to promoting workplace safety. Put on your marketerâ€™s hatâ€¦
Positive impressionsMadison Avenue ad execs and workplace safety managers have more in common than youâ€™d imagine. Both seek share of mind and customer loyalty. For both, being â€œout of sight, out of mindâ€ is the kiss of death.
Both aim to create an appetite for their product, and want to own the space between their customersâ€™ ears. Daily bombardment from competing messages doesnâ€™t help matters. Top of mind awareness is the name of the game.
Have you thought of safety as a â€œproductâ€ â€” not just a set of rules and policies â€” and employees as your â€œcustomersâ€? Maybe itâ€™s time to add â€œmarketing manager with experience in promotional awareness campaignsâ€ to your rÃ©sumÃ©.
Speaking of campaigns, what are you doing to â€œpositionâ€ safety in your workplace? How are you building confidence and trust in your â€œproductâ€?
How about creating a positive â€œimpressionâ€ of safety? In advertising the rule is, the more impressions, the more they remember you. It takes up to 20 impressions (messages, signs, personal contacts, emails, etc.) to close a sale, according to David Sarkus, who markets his Safety Coach services.
Most people who try to make an impression give up after the fourth attempt. Howâ€™s your stamina?
Research your audienceMarketing safety, like marketing resorts, teas or ties, should start with some market research. How much do you know about your â€œcustomersâ€ â€” your workforce?
Chances are, safety information â€œconsumersâ€ share many traits with the general buying public these days. Your employees are likely to be:
So this is the â€œmarketplaceâ€ of moods, attitudes and beliefs youâ€™re wading into with your safety messages. How do you connect with your target audience and make your message both believable and memorable â€” one that sticks in the top of mind?
Reach customers earlyFirst, reach your â€œcustomersâ€ early in their decision-making process â€” whether or not theyâ€™re going to buy what youâ€™re selling, namely safety.
When do your employees first form an opinion or make a decision about safety â€” your product?
It could be the first time they walk through the front door and notice how clean, or unkempt, your workplace is. Housekeeping sends a clear signal.
Or it might be the quality of their new hire orientation. Is it rushed along with little feeling or enthusiasm? Does the safety manager just stick his or her head in the door and say, â€œTalk to you laterâ€? Is the safety film still in black and white?
The quality of early safety conversations will be important. According to Internet marketing consultant Willie Crawford, any marketer trying to make a connection and make their message stick should show:
People spend a lot of time and energy thinking how to improve their lives, says Crawford. Itâ€™s human nature. As a safety pro, you have plenty of chances to show employees that you, too, spend a lot of time and energy thinking how to improve their lives. Thatâ€™s what safety is about. Show how safety can help meet their goals and youâ€™ll own the space between their ears.
Learn from human natureExcept for certain Ph.Ds in white lab coats, no one studies human nature more than advertisers. Hereâ€™s some of what theyâ€™ve learned that can help you sell safety:
People are not impressed by receiving the same message again and again. Safety meetings and toolbox talks with nothing new to say are sure ways to lose the share of mind battle. Recycle old compliance topics and war stories and watch safety drop out of sight, out of mind.
This calls for more than stringing up a new safety banner at the front gate each year.
Walk around the shop and make â€œpersonal calls,â€ those one-on-one safety contacts.
Use your company web site, annual report, newsletters and email to present safety communications. Arrange a safety meeting around the growing number of live safety phone-in or desktop seminars.
Customize and personalize your training content and communications whenever possible. Search the â€™Net for interesting, bizarre and informative safety news, statistics and research from around the world. Use search words such as â€œergonomics,â€ â€œworkplace accident,â€ â€œsafety culture,â€ and of course â€œOSHA.â€ But spell it out, there is an investment analyst named Joe Osha. Really.
Advertisers have learned that repetition, persistence, and variety â€” mixing up your messages â€” matter. Many people arenâ€™t in the mood for whatever it is thatâ€™s being sold â€” reading lamps, Dali prints, bed and breakfast innsâ€¦ and safety â€” when they first hear the message. You want to create what marketing consultant Mark Abraham calls a â€œdripping tap of informationâ€ to reinforce your message.
When it comes to safety brand awareness, you want your customers to think of safety not just as rules and regs, but a necessary part of their job that is caring, creative, responsible, helpful, positive, fun, serious, and significant.
By the way, how do you do all this without making yourself a pest, or a safety nanny?
Use tact and a sense of timing. Know when to make contact and converse with someone out on the floor and when to pull back. When to cut a lecture short. Learn how to edit yourself, sometimes a challenge for knowledge-filled technical experts. Again, present yourself as someone who is there to help, to provide answers and info, to educate, not intimidate.