Women in uniform

What is your team wearing and what is that saying about your brand? First impressions count, and dressing well is one of the few opportunities you have to really stand out in the crowd.

Clients will form their opinion on the quality of the product or service you are offering based on the first interaction with your team.

Team members will wake up each day and be reminded when getting dressed who they work for and what that represents.

Are they excited and motivated to put on their uniform? Does it resonate with what your company stands for?

Over the last 13 years I have worked with clients with as few as 10 employees, to those with 100,000 employees, and regardless of industry, size of client or brief, the uniform process is the same.

Over this time, I have seen what works, what doesn’t, and have had a range of experiences with clients’ good, bad, and ugly when it comes to design and implementation.

It never ceases to amaze me, the two opposite sides of the spectrum, and how this can make or break your company uniform design and launch.

Clients who are disconnected from their company purpose and objective are price-driven, rather than process- or quality-driven.

They don’t think through the details and often end up with an ill-fitting uniform that not only looks bad, but makes their team feel bad.

This ends up being far more costly, resulting in a poor team culture, attitude, and damage to your brand.

A great uniform reflects the changing market, exudes confidence, has a contemporary feel and inspires employees.

Like any element of brand marketing, a uniform design and implementation needs to be well thought out and planned.

The six don’ts of uniform design and implementation:

• Don’t try and be a designer; leave the designing to an expert.
• Don’t ask a brand agency to design the uniform unless they have a uniform side to their business.
• Don’t think cheap and drive the project on cost only; you get what you pay for.
• Don’t form a uniform committee with more than five people. The more people involved, the harder it is to reach an outcome.
• Don’t try and please everybody; it’s impossible.
• Don’t get more than three quotes; the more designs and product you see, the more confusing it can be.

The six do’s

• Do take the time to engage your staff for feedback about what they would like to see and wear.
• Do your homework and have a thorough understanding of who, why, when and where. The clearer the brief, the more fit for purpose the product and service.
• Do ensure marketing and HR requirements are taken into account when preparing your brief for the new supplier.
• Do insist your brand personality is communicated through the uniform.
• Do your homework on previous uniforms in your business – what has and hasn’t worked – and share your insights with your supplier.
• Do make sure the uniform design considers and caters to your demographic. Know your team; male/female ratio, average age, any cultural considerations.

An outfit can speak a thousand words and when repeated correctly by each employee, the message to clients and the public is priceless.

Companies that take the time to ensure their staff uniform represents the best version of their brand, culture and purpose are more likely to get ahead in sales and performance and remain market leaders in their field.

Pamela Jabbour is the founder and CEO of www.totalimagegroup.com.au, which designs, sources and manufactures uniforms for companies across Australia. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and China, they dress over 250,000 workers a day.

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