Uniforms : The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

TOMA… the acronym for “Top of Mind Awareness,” according to Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top-of-mind_awareness “is a brand or specific product coming first in customers’ minds when thinking of a particular industry.Companies attempt to build brand awareness – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand_awareness through media exposure on channels such as internet, radio, newspapers, television, magazines, and social media – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media .” Awesome right? But when does TOMA become “too much”?

Uniforms are considered a great way to build brand unity. Being uniformly dressed also helps with enforcing that dress code those certain few people at the office always seem to push. But I beg to ask the question, is dressing your marketer in a strict uniform the best idea?

I was at an expo the other week held for some group of insurance agents when I completely forgot to put my name tag on. Because I don’t wear a uniform, there was no mark on my clothes that told anyone what company I was with. Riding in the elevator, I found myself shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of agents. The unassumingly looked at me and asked if I were here for the expo. When I told them I was an exhibitor, we got into the details of what our restoration company could offer and by the time the elevator doors had opened, I was handing off my business card to the group.

Later that day, I was riding in the same elevator, this time, wear a badge the indicated my name and who I worked for. I was with a group of agents and proceeded to make small talk. Before they responded, each one looked down at my name tag, then who I worked with. The conversation was a bit stiff and no one asked for my business card.

What changed? Did I have something in my teeth? Oh I know… toilet paper stuck to my heel. Wait, could it be… could it be… that they had seen my badge and prejudged my intentions before I’d even said hello?

Now before you run to your seamstress and tell her she’s fired and you don’t have any use for her embroidery capabilities anymore, I’m not saying that branding clothing with your company name is a bad idea. I think it’s a great idea. But I have a problem with companies who require both men and women to wear the same uniform. Obviously, there are some physical differences between the genders, and I think that uniforms should capitalize on them rather than tuck them away under a unisex suit coat with built in shoulder pads (everyone who is still dressing in their 80’s clothes, I’m looking at you too).

When choosing uniforms, don’t go with a suit jacket – that looks professionally stuffy. But don’t let it be a free-for-all brandless circus either. In summary, TOMA is a great thing in moderation. When it comes to uniforms, give your restoration marketers some general guide lines, allow them to choose their own outfits, and get those labeled with your company name. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the land of shopping malls, it’s that one size definitely does not fit all.

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FAQ

Q: What are some benefits of having uniforms in the workplace?

A: Benefits of having uniforms in the workplace include improved brand recognition and professionalism, enhanced safety and security, and increased employee morale and unity.

Q: What are some characteristics of a good uniform?

A: Characteristics of a good uniform include being comfortable and practical for the work being performed, representing the brand or company in a positive way, and being easy to identify and distinguish from other uniforms or clothing.

Q: What are some drawbacks of having uniforms in the workplace?

A: Drawbacks of having uniforms in the workplace include the cost of purchasing and maintaining uniforms, the potential for employees to feel restricted or uncomfortable, and the possibility of negative connotations or associations with certain types of uniforms.

Q: How can companies ensure that their uniforms are well-received by employees?

A: Companies can ensure that their uniforms are well-received by employees by involving them in the design and selection process, offering different styles or options to choose from, and providing incentives or benefits for wearing the uniform.

Q: What are some examples of bad or poorly designed uniforms?

A: Examples of bad or poorly designed uniforms include uniforms that are uncomfortable or impractical for the work being performed, uniforms that are unattractive or unprofessional in appearance, and uniforms that have negative connotations or associations.

Q: How can companies address negative perceptions or associations with certain types of uniforms?

A: Companies can address negative perceptions or associations with certain types of uniforms by rebranding or redesigning the uniform, providing education or training about the purpose and benefits of the uniform, or offering alternatives or options for employees who may not be comfortable wearing the uniform.

Q: How can companies ensure that their uniforms are safe and compliant with regulations?

A: Companies can ensure that their uniforms are safe and compliant with regulations by conducting thorough research and testing, consulting with experts in the field, and regularly reviewing and updating their uniform policies and procedures.

Q: What are some emerging trends in uniform design and use?

A: Emerging trends in uniform design and use include the use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials, customization and personalization options for employees, and the incorporation of technology and smart fabrics into the uniform.

Q: How can companies use their uniforms as a marketing tool?

A: Companies can use their uniforms as a marketing tool by incorporating branding elements, such as logos or slogans, into the design, and by promoting the uniform and its benefits through social media and other marketing channels.

Q: What are some best practices for implementing a uniform policy in the workplace?

A: Best practices for implementing a uniform policy in the workplace include involving employees in the decision-making process, clearly communicating the purpose and benefits of the uniform, and providing support and resources for employees to comply with the policy.

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