How to Implement Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements Without Sacrificing Brand Experience
How rare to have the entire world experiencing a shift in everyday life at the same time. We are all navigating uncharted waters and attempting to understand how to move our brands forward. No one knows what the future holds, but one thing is sure - the safety and wellbeing of both employees and customers are paramount.
Due to the level of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, there will continue to be a significant uptick in safety measures taken by companies and organizations. As we write this blog, the CDC is recommending people wear face masks while out in public.
This experiment reported by the New England Journal of Medicine shows a masked and unmasked person saying the words "stay healthy." As the video shows, there is a significant difference in the number of droplets dispersed into the air showing why wearing masks makes sense to reduce the spread.
Eventually, people may cease wearing masks. However, until we know more about COVID-19 — consumers will likely continue to be a little wary about standing face-to-face with a stranger. Now consider the staff member who encounters potentially hundreds of customers per day. Both deserve an additional layer of protection to reduce their risk of infection.
It’s hard to predict how different industries will approach new safety measures, but our research shows these types of environments will be the first to make strides towards safer spaces:
- Fast Food Restaurants
- Automotive Care
- Retail Environments
- Government Offices
- Logistics Store Fronts
When the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, risk will inevitably be heightened. It’s obvious safety is priority number one, however coming in at a close second? Experience.
As we consider what the “new normal” looks like — it's key to examine how these new safety measures impact customer and staff experience. Brands don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Check out our three recommendations for how to provide safety-focused, yet consumer conscious experiences in your business.
Install Personal Protection Barriers When Possible
If you’ve been to the grocery store over the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen one form or another of a personal protection barrier. Most were made quickly from supplies at the hardware store. Initially installed to simply keep folks safe as quickly and efficiently as possible – which was great for the time being.
However, the need for protective barriers isn’t going away, and they will need longer-term durability. Consumer-facing brands strategizing “on brand” safety measures have many possibilities that range from a simple graphic on the barrier to elaborate designs incorporating the brand in a meaningful way.
It’s important to note that the barriers won’t be necessary forever and always. However, even after COVID-19 is behind us customers are going to be more cautious — especially during cold and flu seasons. Because of this, considering solutions that are easy to install, remove and store may be a better long-term solution.
Deploy Face Shields for Non-Stationary Essential Workers
Not every customer-facing employee can be behind a barrier. For those members of the team, face shields are a great alternative. This allows workers to have an additional layer of protection as they perform job duties. Remember the video we watched earlier? Keeping those airborne particles at bay after the general public stops wearing masks is extremely important. Shields reduce the spread not only with guests but also among staff members.
Face shields can provide an additional layer of protection for non-customer facing workers as well. The spread of COVID-19 is happening in essential businesses amongst workers. For instance, several meat processing plants have been forced to halt operations due to the spread internally.
This is causing companies who remain open to further their sanitation measures by requiring that workers wear additional PPE like non-surgical facemasks in addition to the safety goggles and/or hard hats that they are typically required to wear. However, this mask and safety glasses combo is causing the eyewear to fog.
In instances where the eyewear isn’t protecting from sharp objects and is serving as more of a barrier from liquids splashing into the eye — a facemask is a great substitute.
There is an opportunity for brand messaging on the face shields as well. Incorporating branding or even an inspiring message — #inthistogether — would bring a level of comfort to consumers and staff alike.
Ensure Consistency and Effort Surrounding Approach
It’s no secret there has been a dire shortage of PPE for healthcare workers during the war on COVID-19. However, domestic manufacturers around the country have shifted operations to provide equipment to protect frontline workers.
Therefore, it’s important to find a supplier that not only has the materials and ability to produce these additional layers of protection but the experience to future proof the solution. This will allow you to solve for the immediate concerns without rendering the solution obsolete in six weeks.
Companies thinking about the big picture can also incorporate the brand experience in their efforts to safeguard employees and customers. For instance, if strategizing for a franchise it’s important to consider how safety measures will be deployed across the organization. Providing safe environments that still consider brand experience will instill a sense of confidence in consumers that the makeshift protection barriers do not.
It’s also important to understand the speed and efficiency of deployment. This means finding a domestic supplier that can drop ship to individual locations, ensuring speed and consistency.
Instore Design Display (IDD) has been solving problems for our clients for decades. Under “normal” circumstances that means helping companies bring their brands to life in the physical environment. IDD’s unique design approach, speed of manufacturing, and ability to deploy have made us a great resource to brands like Garmin, Bayer Animal Health, Golf Pride, and more.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there are different problems for us to solve. This is why we have shifted our manufacturing to produce PPE to help protect healthcare providers and essential business. We will apply these strategies to help brands provide a high level of safety and experience to brands.