Have you considered whether your employees are representing your brand well? Once a judgement is made, a first impression is hard to shift. Implementing a company uniform is becoming more prevalent in businesses looking to stand out in often-crowded markets.
The reality is we live in a competitive business environment, and company branding trickles right down to your staff – your brand is key in building trust and confidence in the marketplace.
Knowing where to start in building your uniform brand can be the most challenging. There are several elements and the process can take some time.
Where most companies can fall short is in recognising the number one rule. They dive head first into buying the first uniform they see, without asking some key questions.
The following questions (usually directed at HR and Marketing) are essential before shopping for a uniform.
Without the answers to these questions putting together your team brand will be more challenging:
1. What is the intention of the uniform and what are your objectives?
This is incredibly important as the intention and objectives will determine the style of uniform you choose.
If you want to enhance your brand, then what are your brand objectives and what does the uniform need to look like?
On the other-hand if your objective is simply to provide a stress-free option for your staff and making it accessible for all staff to look their best, then you may need to explore a different concept.
As you can these two objectives which will achieve different outcomes.
2. What is your budget per person and how will this be funded?
This is a big one! The sky is the limit in terms of what you spend and if the budget isn’t bedded down from the beginning, the brief will be too vast and cause confusion.
Set your expectations so that you find something that suits your budget. No point finding the dream product only to realise it’s out of reach.
The other key factor is deciding how the uniform will be funded. Is it a company paid initiative, salary sacrificed or a combination of both?
3. When and where will it be worn?
Make sure you know when the uniform will be worn and where. Is it every day, four days a week, for conferences? Where it will be worn will determine the style of uniforms, quantities required per person, as well as the best fabrics to use.
4. Is it compulsory for all staff? Who will wear the uniform?
Decide up front if the uniform is to be worn by all staff and if it is compulsory.
Some companies like to create complimenting looks for different divisions so that the company brand is ‘uniform’.
That way different looks can be created for different needs. For example, reception team and front line staff may need to wear the uniform daily, however back of house staff may only need to wear the uniform at conferences or if client facing.
If your company doesn’t want a compulsory uniform, then creating a few company branded pieces of clothing that are optional can be a great starting point.
5. What do you want it to look like?
Be very clear on your branding objectives so that the uniform style and colours you choose will communicate your company message clearly to the outside world.
Team members in uniform are a walking billboard. Work with your corporate colours and choose clothing items and styles that reflect your company personality.
For example, a traditional, conservative business may opt for classic business shirts and tailored trousers and skirts in neutral colours. A young, innovative business may take a more casual approach and introduce vibrant colours in their shirts and a take on a more casual approach in the overall look.
Whatever you choose, be true to your brand!
Fiona Anchal is the creative director at Shirt Studio Corporate.