The New Brand Differentiator — Keeping Staff & Customers Safe From COVID-19
Differentiate your brand with a COVID-19 mitigation plan! A smart COVID-19 strategy is a must if you want your business to stand out. See more in our blog then head over to the WhenToTest Workplace Testing Planner to get started.
After being stuck in dry dock during the first pandemic year, the cruise industry was ready to set sail early this summer. Passengers were returning to the seas, confident that nearly all employees and guests would be vaccinated. Against this backdrop, Carnival Cruises’ Vista set sail in July 2021 from Galveston, Texas for a cruise to Central America. Within days, 27 coronavirus infections were reported. One 77-year-old passenger, who was fully vaccinated, later died. Even though the outbreak was contained, the news spread and cruise bookings took a hit — along with the industry’s stock prices.
Carnival Cruises’ big mistake? Failing to test vaccinated passengers before they boarded the Vista.
This unfortunate episode highlights two important lessons for business leaders.
First, a COVID-19 outbreak at your company is not only a public health problem, it’s a marketing crisis. If consumers associate a business with COVID-19, they’ll be less likely to patronize it. And this problem can extend beyond a single company, affecting all the establishments in a region. After the July outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, businesses throughout the town saw a decline in traffic and revenues, with one popular restaurant reporting sales down by a third.
Second, while vaccination is the most important COVID-19 risk-mitigation tool we have, businesses cannot forget other tools like testing and masking to lower the risk even further. Following the outbreak, Carnival Cruises has required that passengers not only attest to being vaccinated, but also to show a negative PCR or antigen test within three days of sailing. This new requirement has helped keep COVID-19 in check on subsequent Carnival cruises.
WhenToTest.org can help businesses consider a wide range of factors when designing their COVID-19 mitigation plans such as: vaccination rates, mask-wearing compliance, and community transmission. Based on these variables, the WhenToTest.org Workplace Testing Planner provides guidance on the frequency of testing needed to reduce the risk of an outbreak.
In fact, sophisticated businesses are realizing that a smart COVID-19 strategy can do more than just lower the risk of a public health and marketing blow — it can proactively attract customers. In a recent survey, Deloitte found that 44% of consumers are aware of brands that are taking measures to protect the health and wellness of their employees during the pandemic. Consumers are more likely to go to a business that’s taking precautions to keep them and their staff safe.
Having an effective COVID-19 mitigation plan – one that takes into account vaccination rates, testing, masking, and other factors – is not only the right thing to do for employees and customers, it is the smart business decision to positively stand out in the market.