Trust is key to a successful return

[10 July] We’re now well into the economic recovery phase from the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s becoming clear that trust is going to be one of the key drivers of economic success. We will all want a level of reassurance from everyone we come in contact with, whether its our own employers, a retailer or our hairdresser, that safety is paramount, for them (and their staff) as well as everyone else on the premises.

Building trust with your audience that their safety has been taken seriously and all precautions are in place will be key to ensuring the success of businesses, with pre-booking to ensure social distancing a popular choice with many. Whether it’s a gym, theatre, cinema, shop, office or restaurant, people will want to know they’re in safe hands.

The future of gyms

As gyms were forced to closed, many of us took to doing exercise online, whether it was a subscription to your normal pilates class, delivered via zoom, PE with Joe Wicks on YouTube or a local personal trainer delivering free workouts on Instagram. Stepping back into the gym will, for many, be a long awaited and much missed experience, however it’s likely to look very different now. Shared equipment and close contact will be minimized, with increased cleaning regimes and restrictions on the number of people inside at any time. PureGym are planning to reopen in Northern Ireland today [10 June] with live updates of how busy the venues are, sanitizing stations and increased distance between equipment. These measures are vital to ensure the feeling of safety for staff and gym users.

The end of the lipstick index?

The beauty industry has also recently reopened, marking the end of dodgy DIY corona-cuts. Salons, barbershops and hairdressers have increased cleaning regimes, minimised touch points and require the use of PPE however even pre-covid these were one of the most regulated industries, and hygiene was always key. The cosmetics industry is also changed by the pandemic, in ways that were never anticipated.  Previously a nice to-have, AI technology for colour matching is now going to become more essential, as on-counter staff stay hands-off with customers. The ‘lipstick index’ was a term coined by Leonard Lauder during the 2001 recession to describe the uplift in lipstick sales during times of economic strife. Historically lipstick sales could weather any storm, however the increase in mask wearing could put a stop to that.

Cinemas are reopening

Cinemas in Northern Ireland are permitted to reopen from today [10 July]. Many of the cinema chains in NI have implemented a range of protective measures to ensure the safety of staff and customers, including an advanced seat booking system, to automatically enforce social distancing in the screens. The Grand Opera House was always going to be closed this year for refurbishment, but other theatre and entertainment venues like the SSE Arena and Waterfront will need to reassure their patrons of safety for any concerts which are going ahead in the future.

The role of OOH

Out of Home is one of the most trusted forms of advertising, therefore it is vital to deliver a strong communication message to build trust with consumers and staff. The versatility of the medium, from brand building to message reinforcement, Dynamic capabilities and technology will allow campaigns that are relevant and informative. Customers will still crave the 1-1 interactions from gym instructors and retail staff, so seeing reminder messages of the protective measures in place will go a long way to making the changes feel more normal. OOH messages that drive consumers to online booking platforms or live queue monitoring will also be a great investment for businesses seeking to reassure visitors and shoppers.