Career Woman

The uniform mistakes businesses need to avoid


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 12 years I have worked with clients with as little as 10 employees to as big as 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, and 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.

Client’s that are disconnected from their company purpose and objective, are price driven and not process or quality driven and don’t think through the details often end up with an ill-fitting uniform that not only looks bad but makes their team feel bad and this exercise ends up being far more costly resulting in a poor team culture, attitude and damaging to your brand.  A great uniform reflects the changing market, exudes confidence, has a contemporary feel and inspires employees. Like any element of brand and marketing a uniform design and implementation needs to be well thought out and planned.

The Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to uniform design and implementation:

  • Don’t try and be a designer and leave the designing to an expert
  • Don’t ask a brand agency to design the uniform unless they have a uniform side to the 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 over 5 people. The more people involved the harder it is to conclude
  • Don’t try and please everybody- It is impossible
  • Don’t get more than 3 quotes- the more designs and product you see the more confusing it can be
  • Do take the time to engage your staff and ask for feedback about what they would like to see
  • Do your homework and have a thorough understanding of the who, why when, 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 worked, hasn’t worked and share your insights with your supplier
  • Do make sure the uniform design caters to your demographic. Know your team- male/female ratio, average age, any culture considerations!

An Outfit can speak a thousand words and when repeated correctly by each employee, the message to clients and the public is priceless. The company that takes 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 be market leaders in their field.

About Pamela Jabbour

Pamela Jabbour is the founder and CEO of Total Image Group, which designs, sources and manufactures leading edge, quality uniforms for companies across Australia. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and China, they dress over 250 000 workers a day, with clients including 13CABS and the Australian Olympic Team and officials. For more information visit Total Image Group

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