How do safety and security – and being perceived as an organization which values that – help promote your brand? Brand perception is key to keeping customers engaged – selling to consumers (B2C) or to businesses (B2B). In the world of social media, how an audience perceives your brand is often more important than anything else.
From a value perspective, an organization must take care of their employees and create a safe environment for them. In addition, abiding by safety guidelines should be presented in all communications.
This is not just lip service, but to assure stakeholders – including customers – that you are doing the right thing and have their well-being in mind.
Influential Gen Z and millennials value safety when evaluating brands, as this article states: “Thirty percent of consumers started purchasing from new brands over the past 18 months because they liked new safety measures that brands adopted, such as curbside pickup or delivery. Conversely, 22% of consumers have stopped shopping with a brand because they felt their health and safety measures were insufficient.”
What consumers look for
Factors such as diversity, sustainability, and fairness – along with safety – are important for younger consumers and decision makers. This reflects younger people’s values, in that the products or services they consume are made in a fair and equitable manner in a safe environment where employees’ rights are upheld. They look for brands upholding safety as a value.
This piece in Marketing Magazine highlights the importance of values for young consumers: The data show that 62 percent of Gen Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands and 72 percent are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. This means that whether it’s sustainability initiatives or brand ethics, brands need to double down on publicly communicating values and show they stand for something more than revenue.”
With the onset of the pandemic nearly two years ago, safety, security, and how a brand interacts with its customers and how it treats employees drives many buying decisions – not only the physical safety precautions an organization takes, but that it is reflected in information shared with customers.
Safety and brand perception can also impact a digital brand (and media companies). Consider Spotify, the controversy around Joe Rogan, and that he disseminated misinformation regarding COVID. Spotify has been quietly removing questionable episodes of Rogan’s podcast (whom they have a $100 million contract with), as this could hurt their image if perceived as a brand spreading information that causes harm.
Safety and your brand
Taking safety precautions within your organization is important, particularly during the pandemic. Building trust with your audience by letting customers know the safety measures your organization takes. Being transparent is vital in business and reflects the values younger consumers seek.
This article in the retail industry publication, Chain Store Age, notes: “Consumers not only care about how they are treated, but also how businesses treat their employees. Nearly half (47%) said they would trust a brand more if they took care of their employees, which was just behind taking care of customers (66%).”
Also noted: “Conversely, 22% of consumers have stopped shopping with a brand because they felt their health and safety measures were insufficient.”
Taking sensible precautions such as social distancing, mask wearing, regular COVID testing, and encouraging vaccinations, are steps your organization can take to promote safety. Unfortunately, many organizations do not do so, and let political factors decide their safety protocols. While organizations who take strict safety precautions may be perceived as heavy handed by some, clearly communicating why they are important is key. And this approach can be extrapolated to other safety and security-related matters.
Today, every organization needs to make sure their employees are being taken care of. In addition, it is not enough to take proper and ethical actions to protect your staff; in building trust with prospective customers, those measures must be communicated widely.