Graham Hurdle's Blog: 8 December 2011 - Does road safety need rebranding?
08 December 2011
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
Branding is essential to communicate the right messages to a target market, and engage with customers. If a brand is becoming tired, or portraying the wrong messages, it can be time to update it. Over the years we've seen many companies re-launch themselves with a fresh look, sometimes a new name or just a subtle re-positioning of their business.
With this in mind I've been thinking about the profile of road safety in the fleet sector, and its 'overall' brand in our market place.
When I look at how road safety is portrayed, what strikes me the most is how 'negative' the use of language is.
Don't drive too fast. Don't drink and drive. Don't tailgate. Don't use your mobile phone when driving.
I'm not for a minute suggesting these messages are wrong, but perhaps they need saying in a different, more upbeat way; essentially putting a positive spin on the outcome of good driving behaviour rather than simply saying 'Don't do this. Don't do that'.
The imagery used also offers some subliminal messages that I'm not convinced are useful. Images of danger, of distracted drivers on their phones, of blurry road images showing cars moving too fast, and of vehicles involved in accidents.
I find, when speaking to fleet operators, that many are quite negative about driver training. Seeing it as something 'they've got to do', being fed up with the number of accidents on their fleet, or considering it as a headache and a cost that they could well do without.
Ironic really, when you consider that most other forms of training, such as sales, marketing or management training, are treated very positively - to develop staff skills, improve human resources and their contribution to a business, to motivate people and invest in them. If we look at how these training companies brand themselves its with images and messages of success, happy staff, thriving businesses. I fear if the road safety sector was helping brand these companies they may show signs of closed down businesses, derelict industrial estates and messages that said 'Don't let your business go to the wall', 'Stop selling so badly', 'Get rid of your appalling management skills'. OK, perhaps I'm making light of an important issue, but hopefully you see my point.
It's very easy to blame others for not taking fleet risk management seriously, or seeing it as a hindrance. But, the question I ask myself is, "Is it the road safety industry's fault for how their services are perceived?"
In response to this, is it time for road safety to have its own facelift, be re-branded, and be re-positioned as the very positive thing that everyone involved knows it is?
Sadly, as an industry we may not have the budget to employ Saatchi and Saatchi for this exercise, however I do feel we may be looking like a tired, negative bunch who need to start changing the message if we're going to really make a difference.