A Brand New Way to Look at Safety
By Carl and Deb Potter
companies spend tens of thousands of dollars to develop a brand for
their products. Branding
is an essential part of the marketing process, as it is how consumers
recognize their favorite products and how those products are
positioned in comparison to other similar products.
ever thought about the branding of your safety management process?
Chances are you never considered branding and safety in the
same thought. People
usually think about branding as part of marketing or product
spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop and protect their
brand. Customers often
build their loyalty around a brand-name product.
about what kind of vehicle you drive.
You may drive a Chevy, a Ford, or a Dodge.
These companies have developed a brand of stability,
family-orientation and tried-and-true transportation.
Some of you may drive what others of us only dream of: a Viper,
a Maserati or an Aston Martin. These
brands are thought of representing extreme eloquence, wealth, speed
and independence. Somewhere
in between these classes of vehicles are the luxury vehicles and the
rugged sports utility vehicles. All
you have to do is consider one of these brands and you think of speed
What’s Your Safety Brand?: What
do you think of when you think about your organization’s safety
management process? Better
yet, what do your employees think of?
Let’s explore a few different brands of safety management.
Not to be confused with the rugged luxury vehicle, this safety
management process is lackadaisical at best.
It is characterized by a lack of strong leadership.
Executives consider safety as a “necessary evil” and
managers treat safety as just one more thing on a long list of things
to pay attention to. Supervisors
pay only mild attention to safety during infrequent team meetings and
employees are more focused on getting the work done rather than on
The Fix Or Repair Daily safety management process is one that is
constantly in a state of change. No
central focus exists and different managers and leaders have different
agendas when it comes to safety. Employees
are not sure what the goals are because of the constant change.
Processes are disjointed or broken, employees are not sure what
the safe work procedures are, and worse, they are not sure who makes
the decision when it comes to addressing safety hazards.
Unlike the Lexus, with its great curb presence, this safety management
process does not appeal to employees because it does not directly
involve them. Safe work
practices are developed by the safety department, approved by
management and enforced by supervisors.
Employees are not a part of the process.
Build Your Safety Brand: The world’s most successful companies
deliberately and purposely establish their brand.
Coca-Cola, McDonalds, IBM and Sony are examples of companies
who are recognized around the globe.
The quality and appeal of these companies’ products are
usually high. Virtually
everyone recognizes these companies and what they deliver.
Customers know what they can expect from these companies.
Product branding involves developing an image that set an
expectation, positioning in context with the competition, and
advertising and marketing. We
can learn from the principles of branding when it comes to letting
employees know what to expect from their organizations’ safety
management processes. Consider
the following to improve your safety program’s visibility and
Create a fresh and positive image for your safety
program: Your safety management process has an image.
Is it a deliberate image or has it been haphazardly developed
so that employees do not know what the process stands for?
Find some new and positive ways to communicate safety in your
organization to encourage employees and leaders to be a part of the
process of working safe.
Position safety as a core value in your organization:
Your safety management process has a position in the context of the
executives aware of it and do they openly and wholeheartedly support
it? Or, do executives and managers only give it an occasional
acknowledgement, sending the signal to employees that their safety and
well-being are not paramount? Encourage
executives to place a high value on employee safety and demonstrate
their commitment daily.
Develop and communicate a strong safety message: Your
safety management process needs to be marketed and advertised.
Yes, even to an internal audience.
You want your “customers” – the employees – to buy-in
to the product of safety, don’t you?
How visible is safety and your associated management process?
Is the message well communicated frequently – like a
billboard? Or is it more
like a 2”x2” black and white ad in the back of a magazine – one
that someone might stumble across if he or she was looking for it?
consider what you and your employees think about the image,
positioning, and importance of safety in your company.
Take steps to improve safety loyalty in your organization to
increase awareness and to keep safety on the top of everyone’s mind.
Read other articles and learn more
and Deb Potter.
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