How Custom Uniforms Can Avoid Identity Mix-ups
[caption id="attachment_1826" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Image source: Hellodoyouworkhere.websiteanimal.com[/caption] How unique should your company uniform be? That's a question that every business owner will need to address at some point. Your first inclination might be that unique uniforms are inherently better because they stand out, but some business owners actually prefer a bit of subtlety. A company that employs maids and waitstaff, for example, would probably be better off with a neutral uniform that doesn't draw too much attention. When designing uniforms, there is one important question that you need to consider: "Excuse me, Sir. Do you work here?" Most of the time the answer to that question is "yes," but sometimes customers might get a "no." Every once in a while, a customer will wear an outfit that closely resembles your company's custom uniform and cause confusion among customers and employees. [caption id="attachment_1823" align="alignnone" width="1250"] Image source: Mgroup.mvinquirer.com[/caption] Granted, mistaken identity isn't a huge problem (unless customers manage to penetrate airport security, like this woman did). When it does pop up, though, it can leave customers confused and irritated. You're better off cutting this complication out of the equation entirely by designing an appropriately unique uniform. Confusing customers is only a minor complication -- the big threat lies in the fact that disguised customers might be able to sneak out merchandise. For example, let's take this viral video of a flash mob in a Best Buy store. Best Buy has a fairly well known uniform -- pale khakis matched with a blue polo shirt. That uniform is incredibly easy to replicate, so much so that some average Joes might accidentally wear a Best Buy uniform to work without even realizing it. The flash mob bewilders everybody in the store and you can clearly see that security teams are worried about people swiping merchandise. In a similar incident, one brazen thief dressed up as a Walmart employee managed to walk out of the store with four flat screen TVs. http://youtu.be/KgUIbPfhSuo If you pay attention, you'll notice a few tiny distinctions between the members of the flash mob and the Best Buy employees. All of the official uniforms have the Best Buy logo on the front of the shirt, but most customers won't care enough to notice the difference. Walmart fixes this mix-up problem by giving employees blue vests. The only catch? They aren't exactly stylish. [caption id="attachment_1824" align="alignnone" width="600"] Image source: Nytimes.com[/caption] In contrast, Apple did an amazing job setting employees apart with an iconic uniform. I mean, look at the uniforms of Best Buy, Walmart, and Apple side by side. They all happen to be blue, but only one of them is both unique and trendy. You're never going to have someone mistake a customer for an Apple employee unless he intentionally wears a blue Apple shirt to the store. Even then, those white lanyards will distinguish official employees from customers in cognito. [caption id="attachment_1825" align="alignnone" width="905"] Image source: Doglovermagazine.com, Philipgraham.net, Monstersandcritics.com[/caption] Don't overlook the uniqueness of your company uniform. It's vitally important that your employees stand out -- both from their competitors and from customers.