Posted on: 22nd Jan 2020 by: Pride & Joy Clothing
As a business, your people and your brand are two of your best assets. Your people of course, are number one since they create that important first impression and continue to deliver the values of the organisation in their day to day job.
These two powerful assets combined can be a winning formula 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, be very relieved that they don’t have to in 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, 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. If you don’t yet have a uniform…
Let the unofficial uniform be your guide, 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. We also like to bring staff into the decision-making process through consultation; such as forming a small focus group with elected representatives from different departments. Create a pop-up display using samples to gain feedback and input into the design, fabric and fit, before you make a big commitment.
2. Choose a practical uniform that won’t restrict movement
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 should be practical and be flexible enough to move. Comfortable clothing that stays put when driving, or lifting and moving around, and of course it needs to be washable and hardwearing. Purpose-made uniform takes all of this into account, off the peg high street clothing is not made for everyday wear, day in, day out, wash after wash.
3. Call on colour
Colourways can be selected to reflect your brand, but also bear in mind the colour your industry and service is associated with. Look out for our colour trends report to keep up with fashion if you’d like your business to be seen as on trend and also read our blog about the psychology of colour If considering a new colour scheme for your uniform, an evolution can prove to be an effective approach to a uniform update and think about recycling your old uniform too.
4. Differentiate from the competition
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. Customer research
What does your business mean to your customers? Ask yourself, 'What do our customers see? Why do they buy from us?'
6. Where is your brand headed?
Are you heading in a new direction? Do you need to attract new markets? You can of course communicate your vision for the future, whilst many customers will have a nostalgic view of heritage brands and this can all 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.
8. Call on an expert
A uniform stylist can not only advise on latest trends, fabrics and colour schemes, they can refer to many years of experience in dressing staff in similar roles. They will be invaluable in guiding you through the process of putting a uniform together and can organise staff consultations, measuring up and setting up ordering processes.
As professional uniform buyers they will have relationships with many different manufacturers and have an in-depth product knowledge. They can really be your independent guide, and rather than selling you an off the peg solution, really work from scratch in creating a smart new uniform that is tailored to suit your business, brand and people.
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