Is It Time To Replace Your Staff Uniform?
Among the many well-meaning resolutions we make come the start of January, one of the most common is wanting to improve our looks or update our wardrobe. Have you taken a look at your corporate workwear lately and considered whether it’s ripe for a makeover? Here are some of the most common reasons for companies to replace their uniforms.
Time For A New Look: Familiarity Breeds Contempt
What’s worse than being noticed? Not being noticed. We all get comfortable with a style or look, but after a while, there’s a danger your customers (and staff) may develop the perception that your uniform is tired and boring, notice you less, or worse, consider you dowdy and outdated, perceptions that they may then associate with your brand.
While having strong customer recognition is a good thing, familiarity can also breed contempt. By updating your staff clothing, incorporating more modern tailoring, recent fabric innovations and a colour refresh, you can transform that perception and bring more relevant appeal to your front-of-house team and your brand. Refreshing your uniform or giving it a complete overhaul will breathe new life not only into the uniform, and your brand, but you will notice your staff walk with a spring in their step too.
Sending A Message: Use Your Uniform To Reinforce Your Brand
If your organisation is undergoing a rebranding exercise, don’t forget to include your corporate wear. It’s an integral part of your brand. If you’ve gone to the trouble to tell your customers that you’re creating a different identity and changing the way you’re doing things, simply slapping on a new logo to the old uniform is potentially undermining the message you’re trying to communicate. Think of the staff uniform as part of the rebranding package alongside name changes, logos, slogans and packaging – and plan any changes concurrently. After all, when we describe a person’s image, one of the first things we recall is often what they are wearing.
Differentiating from your competitors plays a key role in a rebrand. Off-the-shelf suppliers cannot guarantee something original that truly represents your brand. By collaborating with a bespoke corporate designer, you can create a staff wardrobe that truly speaks to who you are as a company and how you want to relate to your customers.
Contractual And Regulatory Considerations: Give Yourselves Plenty Of Time
If you have a uniform contract with a supplier, be sure to stay abreast of when it is up for re-tender. This issue is more common for the public sector but given that redesigning a uniform can take two years from brief to distribution, it’s best to be ahead of the curve in your planning.
Regulatory changes may also influence your decision to change your uniform. Whether it’s ensuring you meet your company’s CSR guidelines or respond to union demands or employee complaints, you may find yourself forced to replace your existing uniform. The best way to guarantee your uniform conforms to local regulations, sustainability and ethical manufacturing commitments is to use a bespoke supplier. Off-the-shelf providers may not always know the provenance of their stock and will not have been involved in the sourcing process.
Benchmarking Suppliers: Are You Getting The Best Deal?
Firstly, you’d be surprised how many companies have no idea how much they spend annually on their staff uniforms. They may not know how many suppliers they’re using, who is wearing their uniforms, how much wastage there is, what the shelf-life of a uniform is, and whether the quality of the uniform has impacted that. Conducting internal employee research and a supplier benchmarking exercise will help you identify if you’re getting the best value from your current uniform. If not, it’s time to look at maximising your uniform budget, improving cost efficiency and maybe changing suppliers. And, if you’re going through this process anyway, then rather than ask a new supplier to just copy the existing range, it’s the perfect time to redesign your uniform to be even better.
Business Expansion: Are You A Growing Organisation With Changing Needs?
Growth is another reason why companies choose to replace their staff uniforms. As a company grows, its needs change and things need to be up-scaled. Small businesses won’t necessarily see the benefit of bespoke uniforms for relatively few employees, but as a company expands, there are more cost benefits to seeking out a bespoke solution.
Whatever the reason for deciding on a change, the main thing to bear in mind is to start the process early. Commit to the project, collaborate closely with your design partners, and you will create a uniform that your company and your employees can be truly proud of.