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Safety as a Brand


In every organization, safety is not just a policy; it's a brand that conveys specific values and meanings. Just as people invest in brands because of their emotional connection and personal significance, the same principle applies to your organization's approach to safety. The key question is: how effectively are you leveraging the brand of safety in your improvement efforts?


Understanding the Emotional Connection to Brands

Consider your favorite car brand, airline, beverage, or charity. What makes them special to you? Brands forge an emotional bond with their customers, often influencing decisions more than logical reasoning. According to Denise Lee Yohn, a renowned brand-building expert, brands succeed by creating emotional ties, not just selling products. This emotional connection leads to genuine brand loyalty. Does your safety effort resonate similarly, creating a bond and loyalty among employees?


Safety as a Brand Within the Organization

Viewing employees, management, and contractors as customers of the safety program shifts the focus. It’s essential to ask: What portion of your safety communication, training, and education fosters a sense of obligation versus creating a memorable, emotional connection that leads to a proactive safety culture?


The Concept of Safety Brand Equity

Every company inherently has a safety brand, which is how people perceive their association with the company’s safety culture and efforts. Successful companies work on enhancing this brand equity. As Investopedia explains, brand equity is the added value a recognizable brand brings over its generic counterpart. This is achieved by making the brand memorable, recognizable, and synonymous with quality and reliability.


Integrating Safety into Organizational Fabric

The most effective way to win in safety is to embed it into every aspect of production activities. This integration creates a culture where safety is valued inherently, eliminating the trade-off between safety and production. However, caution is needed to avoid disengagement. If safety efforts don’t visibly add value to employees, the resulting culture and improvements are unlikely to be sustainable.


Reflecting on Your Safety Brand

Consider what your safety brand means to others. What big idea does it represent? What personality does it have? Is it well-known, memorable, and popular? How does it manifest through interactions and influence behavior?


Influencing, Not Controlling, for Effective Safety Culture

Organizations aiming to enhance employee loyalty, productivity, retention, satisfaction, and engagement must realize that these are not domains to control but to influence. These aspects are influenced by the perceived brand of safety and the strategies employed for safety improvements. Hence, a marketing approach is required, where managing and promoting the safety brand becomes crucial.


In summary, understanding and leveraging the power of branding in safety can transform how safety is perceived and practiced within an organization. It’s about creating a safety brand that resonates, influences, and becomes an integral part of the company’s identity, leading to a more engaged and safety-conscious workforce.

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