Building a Corporate Identity through Branded Uniform
Why are branded uniforms so important to building a corporate identity? Uniforms have long been used to convey a sense of loyalty and consistency across a group, and can help to remove distinctions when people are working together. In business terms, a good uniform can form part of a broader marketing and branding effort, whereby a focus is placed on consistency in terms of logos and colour schemes. At Matrix Uniforms, we emphasise quality and attention to detail with our uniforms, and view them as a crucial contribution to creating a strong corporate identity. We design and manufacture our uniforms in the UK, taking time to understand a clients’ needs, brand and working environment before creating their perfect staff uniform. It’s worth looking, then, at why branded uniforms are so important:
The Importance of Uniforms
Traditionally, uniforms offer a simple way to distinguish work clothes from everyday or casual clothing. A uniform confers purpose and can serve multiple purposes from reminding people of authority, as is the case with policemen or doctors, or providing a way for a large group to recognise itself each other, as is the case with the military or schools. Uniforms effectively provide a visual marker in terms of knowledge and function, and in business terms can create a positive and reassuring impression, delivering brand uniformity (excuse the pun) for customers’ assurance and for is crucial in boosting staff morale.
For businesses, a well made uniform is all about extending an existing brand, and about putting customers in the right frame of mind when they encounter an employee. A clean, well presented uniform has been consistently viewed as an important part of how customers perceive the relative authority or quality of a company.
Branding through Uniforms
If we can consider branding as a process, involving the development of positive associations between a product and audiences, then a uniform represents one way in which values can be reinforced. For example, uniforms can indicate quality through a prominent design and logo, as well as cleanliness to signify reliability. In certain areas where trust is potentially an issue, our customers’ feedback is especially strong using uniforms to quash trust issues. A large mobile valeting company Matrix recently supplied, informed us that customers trust was a key issue for them as they are handing over their cars to total strangers. Shortly after implementing a staff uniform, which was colour and brand coded to reflect their business, customers satisfaction and ease of interaction improved dramatically since as the well-presented, logo identified staff appeared more “official”. Moreover, uniforms that share the general colours of a brand can work to identify it with a particular audience.
Control over a brand image can make it easier for companies to maintain a consistent identity for dealing with clients. When building a corporate identity, strong branding can involve creating advertising campaigns that both highlight key products and services, but also convey a strong sense of the appeal of a brand by using particular colours and slogans. Uniforms contribute to this overall branding effort by reinforcing colour and logo connections, while also providing a physical link between employees and the perception of a brand.
Company Culture and Safety Benefits
Using a branded uniform can also have a positive impact upon employee culture, with staff able to take pride in a high quality design. Matching staff to a brand can similarly make it easier to bring together different training plans, whereby there is a clear sense of what the values of a company are, and how wearing of a uniform can tie into that. Moreover, staff can benefit from an enhanced team spirit between colleagues when working in busy environments.
Branding benefits aside, there are crucial safety regulations for industrial environments where quality is essential to protecting staff should an accident occur. At Matrix Uniforms we provide workwear that’s legally standardized for a wide range of different environments, from EN343 waterproof clothing and highly durable hi visibility traffic jackets, to EN conforming Cold Store protection garments. To this end, it’s worth remembering that the best branded uniforms carry not only a branding advantage, but a safety, insurance and employee benefit.
Studies such as the Emerald Management Reviews have shown that a company’s investment in uniform and a consistent brand identity can have far reaching effects in terms of customer and employee satisfaction. This kind of research has been particularly carried out for the hotel and restaurant industry, and indicates how employees that have been involved in the design and style of a uniform often have a more positive attitude towards their work.
As a result, it’s important to take the time to carefully consider what kind of values are being communicated by a branded uniform, and whether employees are comfortable with how that message is being conveyed; this is particularly important for a small business, where investing in a low quality or poorly designed uniform during a public launch can cause damage and negative impressions, while doing little to encourage staff confidence.
The promotional role of a branded uniform for small and medium enterprises should not be undervalued, and particularly when developing campaigns. A uniform can work well in a retail context for communicating new offers and information, and can be adapted to suit different circumstances. The consistency of a branded uniform can, then, be varied depending on seasons or around specific promotions to widen the general appeal of a corporate identity.
Over time, a well designed uniform can act as a form of ongoing promotion, effectively acting as a ‘walking billboard’ for your brand. The more you invest in making your uniform an essential part of your corporate culture, the more likely that you’ll be able to benefit from a strong sense of trust at point of sale and during staff and customer interactions. Moreover, by using a uniform to include details of promotions and slogans, you can reinforce messages when staff interact with customers.
From a practical standpoint, designing a branded uniform should involve comparing different colours and deciding on how to best adapt an approach you’ve used for other promotional materials to a uniform; this can also mean considering whether you can combine a new uniform with a more general rebrand of your company – branding advice frequently points to the importance of communicating values through uniforms, whereby you should ‘never underestimate the impact your brand’s visual components have on people’.
We understand the process of finding the right branded uniform for your business, and always try to emphasise affordability and comfort with work uniforms. In terms of a corporate brand, it’s also important to remember that practicality can be just as important as finding the right blend of colours and way of presenting your slogans and logo. Taking the time to get your branded uniform right is consequently crucial to defining your corporate identity.