The idea of brand safety has been high on the agenda in recent years and rightly so.
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), define it as “keeping a brand’s reputation safe when they advertise online. In practice, this means avoiding placing ads next to inappropriate content or dangerous content leading to a risk of ad misplacement and a brand reputation.”
But Covid-19 has moved the brand safety debate from the digital to the physical world – brands need to have conversations with their customers in safe and secure environments. The benefits work on many levels but a customer’s state of mind will be much more engaged with a brand message when Maslow’s basic hierarchy of needs for safety is satisfied as a bare minimum.
On Monday 15th June, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City reopen their doors after 12 weeks of lockdown. The pent up consumption of the Great British consumer will spill into the giant, luxury malls that book end central London where, each year, close to 85m people visit, spending close to £2.5billion.
Based on what we have read in the press recently with five mile queues for IKEA, what can we expect from the retail treasure house of Westfield? I suspect that initial footfall will be close to normal levels as frustrated shoppers euphorically dust of their credit cards and hit Westfield with the reassurance that they will be in a well-managed and safe spending environment.
Westfield will deliver THE safest shopping environment in London. Plans have been meticulously made and will be policed to ensure that the shopping experience is as close to what the consumers and retailers have come to expect from the Westfield environments.
Which means brands can advertise with confidence knowing that all stages of the consumer journey through Westfield will be delivered according to robust health and safety measures. Neuroscience research links lower levels of stress to higher levels of memory encoding and purchasing behaviour.
Every store has strict instructions on what they need to adhere to in terms of social distancing arrangements, limits on the number of customers allowed inside and the frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces as laid out by the business secretary Alok Sharma this week.
No High Street can enforce such policies around health and safety and cleanliness with the same rigour, making Westfield truly the safest retail destination in London for both consumers and brands.
As we expect all those advertising eyeballs to march into Westfield next week, they can do so with confidence. Westfield are the absolute masters of crowd management, having learned lessons from the 2012 Olympics in Stratford where they were processing 250,000 people a day.
Fortuitously for Ocean, the crowd management and new entrance and exit configuration maps itself around our screen portfolio which will lead to greater dwell times and higher footfall levels.
A double win then for advertisers – a more engaged consumer delivered in a safe environment, a combination that every brand post Covid-19 will be looking for.
View all of Ocean’s Westfield locations at oceanoutdoor.com/westfield