Current perception of your brand will influence your customers decisions, post-pandemic.
COVID has touched every corner of the globe and every aspect of our lives. It’s no surprise that the virus and subsequent containment measures have caused markets worldwide to contract. The health and safety of everyone is tantamount. However, continuity in the business sector is also vital to jobs, the economy and ultimately, the well-being of families and individuals, young and old.
How can you meaningfully connect your brand with your audience during these trying times? More importantly, what do consumers expect from brands during and after the pandemic? Today’s customer looks for organizations that support and exhibit a concern for the health, well-being and safety of their clientele, employees, guests and the community at-large.
As people return to their places of worship, schools, medical offices, public transit, banks, businesses, work, retail and eating establishments there is an expectation that companies and institutions are acting responsibly to ensure a safe environment. Consumers, clients, guests and students are also demanding accurate information, transparency and authenticity from their institutions, service providers and retailers.
The New Language of Health
A new universal lexicon and set of guidelines has emerged. Countries across the world have adopted similar protocols in response to the COVID crisis: social distancing, quarantines, the use of face coverings, restricting the size of gatherings and increased hygiene practices such as hand-washing. In the US and Europe, the distancing recommendation is 6ft, or 2 meters. While, children in many countries are being taught to wash their hands to the tune of Happy Birthday – sang twice, which equates to 20 seconds. Sanitizing dispensers and hand wipes can be found in supermarkets, public buildings, and retail locations everywhere. This has become the new normal.
Signs for Education, Safety and Compliance
Another component of the new safety protocols has emerged for the sign industry. Prominently displayed safety prompts have been designed to educate, communicate requirements – and promote compliance. In a world when we thought we had all universal symbols covered, a global pandemic has brought about not only new words like “social distancing”, “mask up”, but new icons have emerged to be incorporated in every day life for the world to utilize and brands can use for their interior signage to get businesses ready for reopening and maintaining the now accepted social distancing we all need during this time.
The new universal icons have been created to visually represent COVID-related mitigation measures. These include hand-washing reminders at entryways and in rest rooms, floor decals where questions form, exterior notifications for those entering the building to adhere to mask-wearing, arrows to direct customer flow, and even signs specific to your environment, all geared towards both employees and guests. On-site health and safety signs also illustrate your company’s commitment to caring and keeping people safe.
In Restaurants and Retail
Many businesses have been forced to close their doors to prevent people from gathering in close-contact and reduce possible exposure to the virus. But, few industries have been hit as hard as restaurants and retailers. Savvy restaurateurs have creatively pivoted with on-line and advance ordering, contactless curb-side pick-up and, where outdoor seating is an option, promoting the use of cell phones to view menu items.
Want a side of social distancing with those fries? Larger chains are finding that customers are showing a distinct preference for drive-throughs over indoor dining. Though not new, the popularity of drive-through ordering has surged and so has the use of interactive, digital menu boards. This type of signage offers the flexibility to display items and make changes in real-time.
Interactive boards enable guests the ability to order from a distance, so person-to-person exposure is limited, a safety consideration appreciated by customers and employees who take food orders.
Retailers have also experienced decreased foot traffic – and revenues. As more and more stores re-open, on-site signage is best way to establish and reinforce important messaging regarding health and safety, and to visually connect your brand to the overall care and well-being of the community. Traditional applications for signs such as bright, colorful large format graphics in store or windows can go a long way towards putting guests and staff at ease and raising spirits.
In Retail Banking
While lobbies remained closed in some parts of the country, drive-thru transactions and ATM machines have been primary ways that banks have used to connect with clients. This has meant a limited ability to communicate offerings such as loans, bank rates, mortgages.
Retail banking is an application that can benefit from smart exterior signage. Easily update digital signs and menus boards are examples of new enhancements that would be ideal for retail banking especially in this current world. Digital signs installed near drive-thru bays can be used to effectively promote your bank’s “menu” of retail banking products, encouraging inquiries and generating interest for follow-up consultations.
Inside your building, installing health and safety signs protects your greatest asset: your employees. And, your branch will be ready when clients are welcomed back into your building.
In Healthcare Campuses & Medical Offices
Is your wayfinding signage up-to-date? Can patients and guests navigate your hospital or medical office facility with ease? There are few environments where signage plays a more critical role than in healthcare, especially during a health crisis.
This may be a time to re-evaluate your wayfinding or add new directionals to your facility. Has your hospital re-purposed spaces as make-shift areas to accommodate increased patient loads? Or, do you have visiting teams of healthcare professionals on-site that may be unfamiliar with your facility? Clearly marked and labeled hallways, elevators, and access points will help speed people to their destinations, while reducing stress and confusion. Contact TISA and we will have a team visit to determine the efficiency of your on-site signage – both inside wayfinding at your facility and outside directional signage in parking areas and thru-ways.
TISA’s COVID Response
TISA is also employing the same safety considerations in our workplace – and at the point of installation; from enhanced cleaning procedures to staggered work schedules at our offices, you can expect the same level of service, without disruption. TISA experts can help design safety signage coordinated to coordinate with your brand portfolio.
The Steps you Take NOW will Impact your Brand Image Later…
The necessary measures taken to safeguard against spread of the pandemic has re-shaped how we interact with each other and the communities we rely on. But, with promising breakthroughs on the horizon, we will emerge from this unprecedented challenge.
What can you do right now? Firstly, it’s important that you maintain a brand presence. Social media platforms, videos, email blasts and your website allow you to stay in touch and keep everyone – customers, members, patients, students, stakeholders and staff – in the loop about your offerings, your measures to keep people safe and any involvement in community engagement. Using signage in conjunction with other forms of marketing communication can help bolster your brand.
As always, signage is and remains your most economical and effective way of marketing your business, 24/7. In difficult times, signage transcends advertising: it serves as a symbol of resilience for your business and your neighborhood. Signs can help define a booming business district, be a beacon of hope and restore a sense of normality.
Speak with a global brand expert today and let TISA help make sure your brand story is a tale of not just survival but success!