Note: The following is an excerpt from 30 Ideas to Build and Live Your Brand. For a free copy of the complete book, click here.
Everything you do, and everything you stand for is part of your brand, including your employee dress code. In the past, financial institutions were relatively conservative with their dress codes. As casual dress permeates more and more company dress codes, however, younger employees are challenging financial institutions with their wardrobe choices.
You can avoid this by going straight to logo wear. It ensures that everyone looks professional and avoids differing interpretations of the term business casual. More importantly, it provides a unified look across the organization, just as your signage and other marketing collateral does.
Remember the three C’s of branding? Clarity. Consistency. Constancy. Standardized dress accomplishes all three of these. When your customers or members come to a branch office, they are clear about which people work there, because every employee is dressed consistently, every time these consumers come in. It’s that cut and dry. Logo wear or standardized dress sets a standard that consumers expect to see. People really do notice – even people you might not expect.
A friend of mine purchased a car recently from a dealership with a standardized dress code. While she was sitting with her family in the reception area, waiting for her car to be delivered, her 11-year-old son turned to her and said, “Everyone who works here is wearing the same white shirt.” He wasn’t sure what to make of it, but he knew exactly how to differentiate the employees from the customers. They all had on the same logo wear.
Standardized dress also creates a certain level of staff unity, which is good for your brand. If you think about why some public schools require uniforms, logo wear in business settings accomplishes the same thing. It puts all employees on a level playing field. Employee A might make twice as much money as employee B, but that doesn’t come through in the clothes they wear. Dressed alike, they are all playing for the same team.
These are points you need to mention during employee brand training. Focus on the positives – professionalism and unity. This is not a move to stifle individual expression through clothing. It’s just branding, plain and simple. You still may have employees who don’t like it, but with everyone dressed the same way (including senior leaders), they’ll recognize that fighting it is futile – especially if you are furnishing the clothing.
Yes, you need to build logo wear into your budget. Either commit to providing five logo shirts for each employee or give each employee a clothing allowance. Nothing will kill your brand faster than employees who feel ripped off because you are requiring them to wear something they wouldn’t otherwise buy for themselves and making them pay for it with their own money.
Having a workforce that displays the professional attitudes of your financial institution gives consumers better insight into your corporate values and leads to increased consumer trust in your brand.
For a free copy of 30 Ideas to Build and Live Your Brand, click here.