How to Advertise to Your Employees Using Repeated Visual Exposure

By Jude Carter

Are you suffering from the “in one ear and out the other” syndrome when trying to communicate with your employees? Nobody listens and everyone has the attention span of a gnat. On top of that, we’ve become addicted to visual communication. We’d much rather be entertained or “edutained” than plow through a book, newspaper or training manual.

Advertising experts have long known that visual communication is the best way to influence our behavior. Repeated visual exposure to icons and messaging is highly effective in brainwashing us to select one brand over another.

Companies spend billions in advertising every year. So why don’t we use these same techniques for “advertising” our important issues to our employees? Most of the time the resources and expertise stay in the marketing department with no crossover to operational units. Take workplace safety, for example.

I recently led a workshop at a VPPPA Region IV safety conference. The topic was “Visual Communication Made Easy”. The audience was senior safety managers who knew they needed to “make it visual” in order to get their workers’ attention and continually reinforce critical safety topics. They were experts in their subject matter, be it HAZMAT, lockout/tag out, PPE safety or ergonomics. Yet they really struggled with how to make these subjects come to life with pictures, colorful graphics and videos. They didn’t have the time, skills or budgets to make it happen. (After all, they’re safety managers, not entertainers.)

One guy said to me, “There’s no such thing as a successful safety program without visual communication”.

Seems to me that the ROI on an internal “ad campaign” for safety (or health and wellness) would be much easier to measure than your next TV spot.

Sharon Toelle
July 1, 2010

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