How to wear your heart on your sleeve

Posted on: 23rd Aug 2017 by: Jane Phillips

Your people are your them wear it well.

As a business, your brand is one of your greatest assets. Your people of course, should be number one since they create that important first impression and continue to deliver the values of your brand in their day to day job.

Combine the two and your people wearing your brand is a very powerful tool in communicating the ethos and the story behind your business. It also makes you look like a professional outfit and your staff will feel part of the team and for most, rejoice in not having to think about what to wear to work every day.

Just like your brand, identity and your tone of voice, how you dress your people must appeal to your target audience. Your position in the market place, be it budget or high-end, is communicated by what your frontline staff look like. We are all guided by image and the brands we associate with help to define us; it is human nature to want to be part of a tribe.

So, what does your customer tribe look like? Cool, compassionate, contemporary, safe, traditional? Each of these values can be communicated through a staff uniform so it is worth paying close attention to the message you want to get across.

As a professional uniform stylist, I work closely with travel, transport and tourism businesses in guiding them in how to translate the story of their brand through their staff uniform and workwear.

Here are some of my guiding principles when it comes to designing a new uniform:

1. Get Practical
Consider the practicalities of the day to day job. From personal protective equipment (PPE) for hands-on manufacturing and installation roles to smart customer-friendly service roles, uniform can have a seamless style across various roles within your organisation.

2. Listen to staff
Look closely at what your staff are already wearing, you may find your company already has an unofficial uniform. This can influence your own ideas, and even be phased in one polo-shirt at a time, to save on costs. If you are introducing a new uniform, then involve your staff, they should be consulted and take part in the decision-making process. Form a small consultation group with elected representatives from different departments. Create a pop-up display using samples to gain feedback and input before you make a big commitment. You will never please everyone but partial agreement is always a good start.

3. Make colour work for you
Colour should reflect your brand, but also bear in mind the colour your industry and service is associated with. Read our colour blog to find out more about the psychology of colour, how you can use it to enhance your image and bring your story to life in an exciting and adventurous way. It doesn't have to be a revolution; an evolution in your colour and styling can be just as effective.

4. Get creative
It is worth spending time thinking about how your competitors dress and whether you want to set your company apart. Also look to what other brands you personally admire to get some ideas. Just because it has always been done a certain way in your industry, doesn't mean you can't break all the rules. Design, colour and how you brand your uniform can give you the edge, especially if it effectively reflects your brand values.

5. Put yourself in your customer's shoes
What does your business means to your customers? Ask yourself, 'What do our customers see? Why do they buy from us?'

6. Consider your business, past, present and future
Are you heading in a new direction? Do you need to attract new markets? You should of course communicate your vision for the future, but don't do this at the expense of your history. Many customers will have a nostalgic memory of you and their story will need to be acknowledged as part of the process too.

7. Create a mood board
Get started by putting together a list of all your staff and their roles, and start creating a mood board. On it place all the things that reflect some aspect of your business, including the values. Go to magazines for images of brands and colours, textures, styles, shapes, swatches and words you want to project about your story.

If you are interested in talking to me about how to bring your brand to life through your staff uniform, whether this is for the first time, or for a re-brand project, then I'd be happy to help.


Tags: Uniforms, travel, tourism, Jane Phillips, livery, branding, corporate clothing, staff uniforms, workwear, coaches, buses, coach uniform,