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As lockdown restrictions are easing, there is a new marketing trend in place. To rephrase, it is more of a marketing necessity than a trend.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has become important to market hygiene of your physical space as a business. As customers are cautious about the spread of COVID-19 virus if they step out of their homes, brands, whether restaurants, supermarkets, retail stores or health centres, need to ensure that they build trust with customers by marketing about safety and hygiene offered at their stores.
Hygienic Spaces are Preferred by Conscious Customers
It is important to let your customers know that you are a hygienic space which is maintaining regulations and policies stated by the government. This makes people feel more comfortable and helps to build trust with customers who may be interested in entering the space.
According to Jenissa Paharia, co facilitator at JAM productions, “I only enter a space if I know that it is clean and hygienic. I thoroughly research their social media before going. If they have made it clear that they maintain hygiene and sanitisation at their physical space, I then make an active choice to go.”
Most of the physical businesses are aware that customers are researching on hygiene before making a choice of visiting them. So, marketing it on social media has become almost essential as that is where people researching about the hygiene of spaces.
“Marketing is a way to let people know more about you. First we would focus on telling people more about our property and offerings, now we focus on telling people that our services are hygienic. Hygiene and sanitisation have become top customer preferences now. We want to make sure that we give our guests the safest experience. We can only make them comfortable if we maintain hygiene”, says Vidur Kapur, General Manager of Rokeby Manor, Mussoorie.
The concept of increased awareness about hygiene is not only specific to the hospitality industry. Even physical shopping stores feel the need to let customers know that they are hygienic. Dimple Nahar, Founder of fashion house 2divine says “We are taking extra effort to let our customers know that we are hygienic by posting about our measures on social media. I am sure that it will help to build customer confidence and get more people to the store. Many stores are taking efforts to do the same.”
You May Lose Out on Business if You Don’t
If you don’t let customers know that you are hygienic, you could miss out on business. It’s like missing out on an important conversation which is happening in society.
No putting out posts about hygiene and sanitisation on social media could pass the wrong message to customers. Customers may end up thinking that the brand has not strategised for the current extraordinary times or has even shut down.
Most brands are having conversations related to store hygiene, sanitisation and COVID safety norms. Not having these conversations can make a brand stand out in a wrong way.
Moreover, brands need to have more discussions on safety, not just for their business, but also because it is the more ethical choice during COVID-19. Brands actively play a role in making customers more aware. If brands miss out on conversations which affect potential customers deeply, the latter will feel like brands don’t really care about them.
Paharia of JAM says “If I observe that a brand is not talking about health and hygiene measures during COVID-19, it doesn’t really care about me. I would never visit such a store. Customer preferences have now changed, with hygiene being the top value. It is how brands tell people that they care about them more deeply.”
Hygiene Marketing is the New Trend
Trends are what most business campaigns ride on. Businesses are constantly researching new trends so that they can create content around those trends and market it. Since marketing hygiene is now a trend, most businesses are doing it in the market. According to Seema Sharma, Founder of vegan cake brand Happiness is Homemade, “Everyone on Instagram is talking about hygiene during the ongoing pandemic, so as a food business it is important for me to be a part of this important conversation.”
Highlighting the importance of being a part of trends, Nahar adds “As a fashion store, we believe in setting the trend and not just being a part of it. We started talking about hygiene as soon as the pandemic hit, even for our online sales. Now as everything is opening again, talking about hygiene and letting people know more about measures is more important than ever.”
Hygiene Marketing Helps to Form a Deeper Connection with Customers
Hygiene marketing connects with customers at a deeper level.
If a brand asks its customer “How are you?” and tries to ensure the safety of customers while interacting with them, it goes on to show that the brand really cares for its customers. Seema Sharma, Founder of Happiness is Homemade says, “I want to tell my customers that I truly care about them. Letting them know that I operate with the best hygiene standards is important to me. I want to care about people my brand is associated with.”
Marketing expert Rahul Bajaj, co-founder of Everest Digital adds, “It is important to tell people that you care about them as a brand, or soon people will stop caring about your brand. COVID-19 has revolutionised how much attention people pay to basic things as hygiene. Just maintaining your hygiene by government regulated standards and letting people know, can make your brand stand out.”
Marketing Hygiene Portrays the Brand in Ethical Light
In a world where brands are competing to be portrayed in more ethical light, hygiene marketing does the trick. It makes the brand seem ethical and innovative with current times. According to Bajaj, “It is essential for brands to market themselves based on the current times. Promoting hygiene regulations followed by the business can play an important role in making the business stand out.”
For brands which have some level of physical contact with customers, it is of utmost importance that they promote hygiene standards maintained by them on social media or on their website. Leaving out hygiene marketing may give an inaccurate portrayal that your brand is inactive or has failed to keep up with innovations in the market.