Establish an Identity
The importance of corporate apparel cannot be overstated. It presents a unified front, shows professionalism, and promotes brand awareness. These benefits make it paramount for your boss to know what corporate apparel can do for your business and brand. So, what exactly should your boss know about corporate apparel?
People have strong reactions to “uniforms.” Doctors in white lab coats garner respect. The police establish authority with their badges and octagonal hats. We wave to mail carriers and we nod to soldiers wearing camouflage and thank them for serving our country.
The apparel garnered in these professions has established identities synonymous with the service the people who wear them provide. In these professions, the work apparel conveys an image representing the larger organization and has become iconic.
These apparel/brand relationships took time to develop, but ultimately they became memorable. In the same sense, corporate apparel can help brand your business and establish or strengthen your relationship with customers, especially with repeated, consistent exposure. Likewise, corporate apparel can bring a group of employees or teammates together.
Indeed, whether you work for a business or are part of a non-profit organization, the benefits of corporate apparel apply to businesses and organizations of any size.
Here are 8 things corporate apparel can do:
- Promote your brand
- Allow others to advertise for you
- Support employee unity
- Encourage employee collaboration
- Foster a work environment of equality
- Assert professionalism
- Synergize brand identity
- Contribute to an effective strategy
1. Promote your brand
Consumers today are savvy to advertising and don’t like to feel manipulated. This makes the word-of-mouth approach to business all the more important. A Nielsen study revealed 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth marketing more than any other form of advertising.
If you do it right and develop a compelling brand logo with corresponding corporate apparel, people will seek out information about your company instead of the other way around. A compelling story also doesn’t hurt. Get people talking about your brand and reinforce it with exposure through corporate apparel. Clothing functions similarly to word-of-mouth advertising in that an actual person vouches for the brand, rather than an actor or a slick ad. Word of mouth creating a buzz paired with clothing to support the buzz is key to getting your brand recognized.
Keep in mind that, besides your brand name sewn or printed on the clothing, the apparel itself communicates a message. Polo shirts suggest professionalism, while T-shirts are more appropriate for brands with a casual image. You don’t want to confuse potential customers about who you are by having an inconsistent identity.
Uniforms also reinforce trust and establish familiarity with customers. People like knowing what they’re going to get. Just look at McDonald’s and Starbucks across the globe. People appreciate consistency.
The bottom line, however, is that the more people who see your brand, the better – and the more impact your brand will have.
2. Allow others to advertise for you
Corporate apparel promotes your business outside of the company. If you already have a fan base it lets your brand advocates, also known as brand ambassadors, promote your company for you. Make their job as easy as possible!
Offer corporate apparel that can start a conversation about your business. Get creative. All the thought that goes into making Super Bowl ads pays off as the next day people talk about them at the water cooler. People who haven’t seen the ad might even seek it out on YouTube and post it on their Facebook page. Putting careful thought into your brand strategy might seem time consuming, but it can also pay off big time.
As with fans of the brand, when employees walk around they are promoting your company’s brand. Exposure leads to brand recognition and ultimately brand loyalty. So, why not seize every opportunity to get more exposure for your business?
3. Support employee unity
Not only does corporate apparel present a united front, it also makes employees feel united. This is especially important if you hold an event for employees and your business has multiple locations with staff who haven’t met each other. If employees are dressed similarly they feel a sense of belonging. This lifts team spirit and inspires a positive attitude among employees as well as company loyalty. The result is colleagues working together to achieve business goals.
When people wear their own clothes, the clothes function to define the person wearing the attire. The clothes highlight the person’s individuality. However, donning the same clothing puts the attention on the group. For example, orchestras wear all black so audiences concentrate on the music rather than individual musicians’ fashion statements.
Corporate apparel can also be used as one of the perks of the job. In some organizations, receiving a uniform is an honor. It signifies that an employee has reached a high achievement and is well regarded enough to represent the company. More practically, corporate apparel saves employees time and money, as they do not have to spend money or decide what to wear every day.
4. Encourage employee collaboration
This unity creates an environment for collaboration to thrive. When employees feel more unified, they are more apt to feel comfortable communicating and collaborating on projects.
5. Foster a work environment of equality
Corporate apparel creates a caring environment. It functions as the great equalizer, putting employees on a more equal level. Employees feel a greater sense that they are in it together, which ultimately benefits the company.
Similar to the debate over school uniforms, consultants debate corporate apparel’s effects on employees. Many experts view identical clothing as an equalizer. Without clothing sending messages of hierarchy, there is more focus on conversation and ideas rather than rank. This outcome is one of the best reasons for investing in corporate apparel.
6. Assert professionalism
Corporate apparel promotes professionalism. When a person wears clothes they often transform. Like an actor wearing a costume, employees step into the professional roles their work demands.
This is especially important in industries such as retail stores, hospitals, and restaurants which demand brand exposure that puts customers at ease.
When customers see the uniform it also lends an authority to your employees. Customers view your employees differently. By wearing corporate apparel, employees appear more official, both to customers and the employees themselves. For practical purposes, it also makes staff easily identifiable so customers can efficiently ask for assistance.
7. Synergize brand identity
Corporate apparel promotes brand identity. Ultimately, your brick-and-mortar store, your online presence, and any printed materials should coordinate with your corporate apparel to promote a consistent message across your brand. Keeping this in mind, when you select apparel, make sure it ultimately suits your particular business. Our designers here at T.R. McTaggart can help you through this process.
8. Contribute to an effective strategy
So, you’re convinced that your business should invest in corporate apparel, but what clothing items would be most effective?
Ask the employees. Whatever they will wear out and about the most will give you the most mileage for your money.
Whether your uniforms are formal or informal, consider providing a variety of corporate-branded apparel items to employees to fit their sense of style, their body type, and the weather conditions in their geographical area.
If you are also planning to give away apparel at a tradeshow or other promotional event, consider past consumer behavior. According to a Global Advertising Specialties Impression Study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), promotional products kept by U.S. recipients breaks down as:
- 58% T-shirts
- 50% Outerwear
- 41% Caps and headwear
- 33% Polo shirts
- 27% Performance wear
This list is consistent with industry trends.
Common corporate apparel includes:
- Shirts (polos, t-shirts, oxfords)
- Hats or visors
Note, a recent trend is “Made in the USA” products, so consider the country of origin label when choosing corporate apparel.
Make the brand identity yours
Work apparel can establish authority or be fun and link that fun to the brand. For example, firefighters have functional apparel that immediately communicates who they are to the public. On the other hand, clothing stores might have employees wear clothes the store sells. Bars and restaurants often have T-shirts with the brand’s logo that bartenders and wait staff wear.
The logo that is worn on corporate apparel is just as important as the style of the apparel, if not more. Make sure to be thoughtful when you establish a logo; once you establish a brand it’s easier to keep it and promote it than to try to re-brand yourself.
McDonald’s, Mickey Mouse, Coca-Cola… these are powerful brands. The combination of their colors, typography, and logo make them instantly recognizable to millions of people worldwide. This brand recognition, and the emotional reaction people often have to them, didn’t happen by accident. It took a lot of planning and years of fostering a brand image. So, now it’s time to get to work!
The take away
Corporate apparel with your logo on it serves as advertising to reinforce brand loyalty with your customers. You can cross promote your website with your work apparel, forming a cohesive message defining your brand.
Corporate apparel plays a big role in advertising your business. If you tell your boss these eight cases for investing in corporate apparel, he or she will be glad the office door was open!
Trust T.R. McTaggart for all of your corporate apparel needs
T.R. McTaggart has been providing quality corporate apparel for nearly four decades. Let our expertise in providing corporate apparel support and improve your brand by contacting us today!
We also offer a free online store service that allows employees to buy your company’s branded apparel 24/7 from your very own custom online store. So don’t forget to also tell your boss about this valuable service (okay, so we slipped in a ninth).
Contact us today to discuss your needs in greater detail or to request a quote. We look forward to hearing from you!