Safety and Wellness Niches Offer Opportunity

Safety and Wellness Niches Offer Opportunity

Whether it’s wiping up a spill or notifying supervisors of a hazard, employees at a General Advertising Products (GAP) customer are immediately recognized by management as a part of their “Caught Being Safe” campaign. Management hands out a heartfelt “Thank You” and a bag of Swedish Fish; the result; a big smile and reinforced emphasis on the importance of workplace safety. Does it produce result? The customer thinks so as evidenced by expansion of their safety and wellness programs.

Crystal Barger of GAP recently described how wellness and safety programs evolved with a locally owned furniture company. Supplying the company with promotional products for bingo at their annual company outing led to polos for management and tee shirts and sweats for the delivery team. Then, when insurance companies rebated funds for incentives, the company’s Empowering Wellness program took off.

To keep wellness and safety top of mind for all employees, Crystal worked with HR to develop products and programs surrounding their “brands” or taglines. Starting with pedometers to promote walking, she pulled together related items to reinforce the messages. To lunch totes, water bottles, ice/hot packs and hand sanitizers, she later added travel toothbrushes and toothpaste, sun safety kits and “Know Your Numbers” books. In a short 1 ½ year, the program has grown significantly.

While many think that only large firms have funds for wellness and safety, Crystal’s experience demonstrates that even small, local firms offer significant opportunities in the safety and wellness niche markets. This program also illustrates the value of “branding” a safety and/or wellness program. “Safety managers are much more likely to see the positive effects of the programs they create if they take the time to brand them and promote them with consistency,” states Brian Galonek, President of All Star Incentive Marketing, in a recent Occupational Health & Safety article. (A link to “Safety Needs a Brand!” appeared in the 8.25 eUpdate).

Whether rental or direct sell, many Universal Unilink Members have embraced the safety category offering FR, Hi Vis, gloves, ear plugs, safety glasses and a host of other PPE as well as 1st Aid, eye wash stations, and even defibrillators. However, few are selling promotional products, banners, signs, etc. to promote their customers’ safety programs.

Helping your clients and prospects foster a culture of safety can have a direct impact on employee morale and the company’s bottom line. The Center for Disease Control reports that the 10 most disabling workplace injuries cost US businesses a staggering $1 billion a week large firms. According to the Liberty Mutual Institute for Safety, every $1 invested in workplace safety returns approximately $4.41.

And then there’s the emphasis on wellness . . . government studies point out that , of the $2.5 trillion spent on healthcare annually, up to 75 percent is used treating preventable conditions. According to ASI, only 44% of US companies offer promotional products to promote their wellness programs.

HR departments, SafetyHR and Safety Managers are looking for creative solutions to reinforce their safety and wellness messages to employees. Promotional products keep safety and healthy practices top of mind with all employees.

In the safety niche, Members also work with clients to develop award programs, but those have fallen out of favor with OSHA who takes the position that incentive awards linked to the reduction of the number of reported accidents or injuries have the potential to provide workers with “. . . an inducement to under report injuries . . .” However, promoting the safety message to all employees is encouraged and seen as an effective way to reduce accidents and injuries.

Experts agree that safety and wellness need to become accepted culture throughout the company from the secretarial pool to the C-suite. Making the message memorable and promoting it consistently throughout every level is key to success. It is a perfect opportunity for “solutions” selling as you help tailor creative ways to promote the important message. Some Preferred Suppliers are making the job easier by offering product groupings around a particular industry or purpose.

The decision maker for these products may not be your current contact. Larger companies typically have someone functioning as a Safety Manager while smaller firms may assign this function to a HR staff member. Initially, customers tend to look for very inexpensive items such as a pen or magnet to promote their message. However, presenting that product as well as others to support a “program” often results in an on-going relationship and upgraded products over time.

Where do you look for prospects? As did Crystal, start with current customers. Rather than going after Fortune 500, target smaller opportunities initially. With ever increasing regulations, even small manufacturers, retailers who warehouse or deliver, F&B, auto dealerships, local city and county public works departments, food processors, etc. are putting emphasis on safety and wellness.