There I was wandering the aisles of a local store looking around aimlessly and getting more frustrated by the moment. I was new to the area and also new to this store and, despite wandering the aisles lost for some time I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Nor could I find someone to point me in the right direction. So I left.
And wrote a nasty review on Yelp.
For those who don’t know I live in such a small community that, if you sneeze on one side of the giant lake that is in the heart of this community, you’ll likely hear “bless you” from the other side of the lake. Not that the community is physically small - it’s just that there aren’t a whole lot of people here. And everybody knows everybody else.
So the owner called me on my review and actually sent me an email. And in this email exchange he promised to buy aprons for all the team members much like those you see Home Depot employees wear. I’m now a regular and very happy customer and I could spot the employees even without the aprons. But they look much nicer with them.
The point here is that every business should have some sort of brand. From the colors that you use to represent yourself to the appearance of the team, your business’ voice is very important. It’s also good to be able to recognize the team if you’re not a regular customer.
When you go to Disneyland not only is it obvious who the employees, er, cast members are, but the outfit changes from land to land. Disney is very good at branding. While you won’t see a Matterhorn cast member running Space Mountain, you’ll still know absolutely who the Disneyland cast member is.
There are a lot of businesses who will disagree with this, saying that uniforms are bad. Yet no police department, fire department, military branch, or postal service around the world would disagree with this statement.
And we all know one very important brand - if you go to a wedding you’ll instantly know who the bride is.
To this end I’m going to brag on two local business owners in the area who really get this.
The first are James and Tiffany Meek from The Soap Shack, Baby. Before they even had their store where locals know they can get incredible soap products and other items, they would go to street fairs. You’d be able to spot them there wearing matching t-shirts with their company logo on them. They would also have other items that spoke to their brand so their booth always stood out and was easy to find.
Another local business, Business Design Services, is run by Robert Boccabella. Robert is one of the best interior design specialists I've ever met and he knows about design and style. His brand is “red” and you never see Robert wearing anything but a red shirt, carrying red pens and he even has red chairs in his office.
While I’m not sure we should all be going the extent of wearing uniforms, per se, but branding your business makes a big difference. And things like vests or name tags or even shirts of a specific color can make a difference. Disneyland has very specific name tags that identify the cast member along with outfits that are associated with each ride.
Making it easy to find your team members can be just one less obstacle to making happy customer.