When we hear the word ‘uniform’, we generally imagine a blue or white business shirt, pleated business pants or a polyester polo with a logo. But as times have changed, as too have uniforms, particularly across customer-facing roles.
Successful business owners understand the importance of projecting the right look and message for their brand and know uniform is a key area of focus in a marketing strategy. In a customer-facing industry, its inherently important to have an on-trend, fit-for-purpose uniform that your employees want to wear and that customers can easily identify.
A uniform is so much more than just a branded shirt or polo, it’s a real opportunity to create excitement with your team and clients about your business’ purpose and culture.
Uniforms reinforce the message your business projects to the market and ensure your team reflects the quality of product and level of service and experience that can be expected when interacting with your brand. For well-established businesses, it is important that uniforms are regularly evaluated to determine whether the brand message is being conveyed visually through staff and what they are wearing.
The world of uniforms has evolved, and while there certainly has to be a practical consideration to the design, today’s uniforms are more about fashion, style, colour and providing choices for the employees who wear them.
An on-trend uniform ensures your brand and staff are professional and approachable, show differentiation from the competition, and projects the perception that you are keeping up with the times.
You must be successful if you look successful right?
Considering many companies spend little time thinking about their uniform and its impact on branding, having an on-trend uniform can provide an immediate point of difference. Simply put, it’s a cost-effective marketing strategy to ensure your brand and team stand out.
If you are looking to revamp and refresh your team uniform it is important to consider the following trends.
1. Approachable and relatable
Gone are the days where most offices were a sea of suits and everyone wore formal wear to work.
Companies are about embracing the cool and comfortable and a lot of major brands have implemented a smart casual uniform in their workplace.
It is more about understanding your customers and culture and ensuring the uniform communicates this tone.
If your customers don’t wear ties, then is it necessary for your team to?
Get SmartCompany FREE to your inbox every weekday.
In a fast-paced and ever-changing market, companies no longer expect their uniform range to last five-plus years and are more focused on implementing stylish and fashion-forward uniforms.
I suggest a uniform refresh every 12 months, where pieces or designs that are not moving or are seasonal are phased out and new pieces phased in. This ensures the team continue to be interested in what they are wearing, and their uniform remains fresh.
I also suggest working through a complete uniform overhaul every three years to ensure your team and brand stay on-trend.
3. Statement piece
When shouting out to the world about your business and what it stands for, there is no better way than to have a statement piece in your uniform — think a statement tee, polo or accessory that strongly represents the brand in a fun and flamboyant way.
A statement piece is often used for the month of launch, or as a fun casual-Friday piece for the 12 months after the uniform launch. It sends a statement to both the market and your team about the change you have made and sets the tone with brand expectations.
1. Tops and teamwear
Uniforms today are all about mix and match and companies are no longer sticking to the one-shirt-fits-all approach.
Adding a variety of complementary pieces ensure team members have an option for each day of the week, creating a teamwear concept as opposed to a one-piece wardrobe.
Tops are the new black, and most new corporate wear ranges include a wash-and-wear blouse option for the ladies. Tops are comfortable, easy care and work for a range of body sizes.
2. Checks and chinos
Fun, approachable, comfortable and on-trend. Uniforms today have seen a total revamp from suit and tie to checks and chinos. Casual button-up shirts that tab up, can be worn tucked in or out, and don’t require a tie, is a trend you’ll see everywhere.
3. Denim on denim
Who would have thought we would ever see the denim on denim look make a comeback?
Hotels, clubs, cafes, restaurants and food chains are all about creating the funky, cool vibe. Denim shirts paired with denim aprons are all the rage and really transitioning the traditional formal hospitality vibe back to trendy urban.
Businesses are ever-changing and evolving — striving to consistently be ahead of the times. With the need to stay current and on-trend, uniforms can be a simple and cost-effective way to project brand evolution. A simple refresh can help businesses by providing a point of difference, projecting key brand messaging and supporting workplace culture.
With first impressions being key, an on-trend, staff-considered uniform range can really boost your brand perception and morale.
What is your team wearing and what is that saying about your brand?