Even if you don't recognize that name, you're probably familiar with Judah Friedlander. He's a comic who plays one of the writers on 30 Rock. He's always got on a ridiculous hat and he looks like he crawled out of his parents' basement -- you know the type.
Like so many comedians nowadays, he's got a unique style. On his most recent comedy tour he adopted the persona of the World Champion of the World, and acts like the greatest human to walk the Earth. A lot of the comedy comes from the fact that he intentionally looks, sounds, and dresses ridiculously. You can often spot him wearing a customized shirt, hat, or jacket -- possibly even a combination of all three. Judah uses these shirts to poke fun at himself with a tongue-in-cheek style of humor. So, did that goofy "World Champion of the World" custom hat help Judah Friedlander achieve world fame? Well, yes and no. I'm not going to tell you that his clothes made his career -- it was definitely Friedlander's humor and determination that brought him into the national spotlight. The clothes certainly helped, though.
Why? Well, it all comes down to his image. During his act as World Champion, Friedlander's sells himself as an arrogant martial artist who's completely oblivious to how dumb he looks. It's this image, this unique brand identity, that's helped Friedlander stand apart from the thousands of other comics who all want a piece of the spotlight. The shirt and hat promote that image by adding that final touch, that cherry on top that brings the whole brand together. The same principles apply with your business. If you want to send a certain message to your customers, then you can't just say, "This is what our company is" and expect your customers to get that message You need to sell it relentlessly in how your employees act, in your company policy, in your product, and -- yes -- in how your employees dress.
Image source: Nypost.com[/caption]
Okay, so, let's put aside Judah Friedlander's funny hats for a second. I'll acknowledge that he could probably still make an audience crack up if he's dressed like an everyday dude. But what if we give him the complete opposite wardrobe and put him on stage? Here's what Judah Friedlander looks like when he's not trying to look like an idiot.
Image source: Static.tvguide.com[/caption]
He cleans up pretty nicely, doesn't he? Now, watch the following skit and tell me if you think it would be as funny if he were wearing a formal suit. As you can see, it's not just about promoting the right image. It's also about not sending out the wrong message. I realize, of course, that most companies don't want to send out such an extreme message, how you convey your message is just as important as the message itself.
Take a page out of Friedlander's book and find the appropriate medium for your message. Are you trying to tell customers that your establishment is fun and relaxed? Go with laid back clothes. Are you aiming for a more professional and polished image? Stick with formal dress shirts and suits.