A solid brand creates a clear perception of a company’s values and deliverables and, for clearly branded companies, that perception is reflected by their buildings. From the logo out front to the signage, furnishings and layout, the physical environment has the power to influence how building occupants perceive a company’s brand. Today, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its mark, companies that take action to make “clean and safe” a clear part of their value offering are better able to secure consumer trust and traffic.This is the reason why many leading hospitality organizations are now partnering with well-known cleaning brands. Hilton, for example, has partnered with Lysol parent company RB because, “the use of its products assures consumers around the world of a safer stay.” That perception of safety is now embodied in signage around Hilton properties worldwide.
As of a July 30 survey from the Consumer Brands Association, consumer trust in brands focused on cleaning products hit an all-new high. It’s a clear indication that companies who choose to build trust around cleanliness stand to gain an edge. MIT Sloan Management Review found in a mid-March survey of changing consumer patterns that 85% of survey respondents reported having shopped at a “physical store that was new to them.” In today’s environment, physical stores differentiate themselves by creating customer journeys through new store formats and sensory experiences. Creating safe and healthy experiences is now just as important to gain a competitive edge.
Retail, hospitality, office, and other brands promoting clean and safe in-person experiences will stand apart in the post-COVID environment.
3 Ways to Make Clean Part of Your Brand
Making clean a part of your brand depends upon both clear messaging and visibility around cleaning. Brands that have focused on messaging alone have not fared well. As a case in point, an Axios/Harris poll noted that certain airline companies—which have come under fire for not adhering to their own social distancing protocols—rank among the lowest brands in consumer trust.
So, while it’s important to inform consumers about the steps you’re taking to make a safe environment, it’s equally critical that those steps be readily apparent to your audience. The three strategies below are gaining ground among many leading brands.
1. Make clean more visible
One key strategy for making clean part of your brand is by making cleaning more visible. For example, offices have typically scheduled cleaning as an after work hours activity, but now building occupants want to see that level of cleaning throughout the day. People are also looking for other reminders that cleanliness is a part of your culture—hand sanitizer stations, portable air cleaners, and autonomous vacuum sweepers are some of the tools building owners can use to add to the visible perception of cleanliness. In fact, building occupants have reported that the soft hum of some vacuum sweepers at work has become a comforting reminder that cleaning is an ongoing process.
2. Invest in touchless solutions
Prior to the pandemic, public touch displays were losing their appeal due to concerns around bacteria. Now, vendors are seeing tremendous interest in touchless solutions that range from automatic doors to contactless check-ins to touchless kiosk interfaces as a way to demonstrate a sophisticated and comprehensive approach to hygiene.
Smart robotics are also growing in demand, as they can provide touchless options while also promoting social distancing. For example, robotic pizza-making stations and automated salad-makers are making a splash in the restaurant industry. Across the board, autonomous vacuum sweepers are gaining in popularity as they allow housekeeping staff to spread out by pairing them with a collaborative robotic -- or cobotic -- partner that can tackle monotonous vacuuming.
3. Confirm cleanliness
As Jani-King International’s Vice President of Corporate Operations, Scott Borland, recently commented, “[I]n the past if it looked good and it smelled good, then it was clean. … Looking good and smelling good is not going to confirm the efficacy of programs going forward. It’s going to take some testing.”
Consumers may feel comfort in visible evidence of cleanliness, but there’s enough misinformation being spread today that it’s also important to provide some evidence that your solutions are working. This is where visible clean and communication can be a powerful combination.
Some companies, such as Jani-King are trying ATP swab testing. Long-used in healthcare, this simple testing method provides clear evidence that organic matter is being removed from cleaned surfaces.
Whiz, an autonomous vacuum sweeper developed and distributed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, features Whiz Connect, a cloud-based dashboard that provides operators detailed data on runtime, coverage distance, and robot assists at a given location. Through this dashboard, operators can provide cleaning reports that clearly communicate the effectiveness of an automated cleaning strategy.
Communicate your Brand's Approach to Clean
Making clean a part of your brand has never been more valuable than it is now, when consumers are actively looking toward brands for clear communication and guidance. A study conducted by marketing firm Berlin Cameron and market research firm Persky found that nearly half of surveyed Millennials want communication from their preferred brands during the COVID-19 pandemic and 36% believe brands should communicate more than usual. They want that communication to reflect how brands are helping during the pandemic.
The best part is that making safe, clean environments a part of your brand will never go out of style.
Contact SoftBank Robotics today to learn more about how to make Whiz your newest brand ambassador.