Keeping the brands image, uniformBY Zoe Thompson
How uniforms are more than just an item of clothing.
The current retail environment is overflowing with online and global competitors altering consumer preferences, which has placed an immense amount of pressure on Australian retailers to alter their business structure to align with these developing trends.
As a response, some retailers have turned to social media and online channels to increase brand awareness through implementing creative imagery and savvy marketing techniques. While these techniques have proven to be effective methods of engaging with consumers, there is a much easier way of communicating your brands key messages and values and that can be through something as simple as a uniform.
Often overlooked, uniforms have been noted to be one of the more inexpensive and effective ways of communicating the brand’s core values to both consumers and employees. Uniforms withhold the power to reflect a business’s culture, construct a unified team and contribute to the brand’s overall image.
A retailer well-versed in the uniform and retail space is Pamela Jabbour, CEO of Total Image Group. After completing her university degree, she created a business plan breaking down the businesses and industries that wore uniforms and employed the most staff. She devised a strategy on how to target these industries and set her sights on the retail industry.
“When we first entered the market, we noticed a gap with the uniform options available to retailers. The uniform space at the time was filled with more traditional manufacturing type businesses and we entered the market with a young and fresh perspective which provided a point of difference, ” Ms Jabbour said.
Following a prosperous 13 years, Pamela and the Total Image Group have dressed over 300,000 people across the nation and have worked with some of the biggest brands in Australia including Ford Australia, Pandora Jewellery and Fantastic Furniture.
“I love working with brand savvy retailers who see value in investing in their people and marketing through uniforms. Our primary focus lies on connecting uniforms to a company’s brand message while also being comfortable and fit for a purpose.”
After years of recognising stable year on year growth, the business appeared to hit a major brick wall, the result of growth and client retention. In order to revamp the organisation and gain new prospects Pamela sought out the opportunity to grow by acquiring another uniform company.
“As you become more established, it’s easy to become complacent and stop pushing to be better and different. We knew that acquiring this company would help us to grow and thrive,” Ms Jabbour said.
“We have been lucky enough to continue our path of growth and even though the process may have had its fair share of stressful moments, it seems to be one of the best decisions we have ever made.”
As the retail landscape continues to face major disruptions with the influence of global and online competitors, Pamela emphasises the importance of being an active player on the social media space.
“I feel that retailers have always been more comfortable operating in a traditional space, particularly in Australia and we have witnessed firsthand the effects of being late to the online social media game,” Ms Jabbour said.
“We now focus on actively engaging our employees, clients and stakeholders via social media as it is a great way to communicate quickly and efficiently.”
Throughout her career, Pamela has faced many challenges but has always strived to reinvent herself and realign her goals to push the boundaries and progress herself into the next chapter of her career journey.
“Over the years I have learnt so much about myself. I have struggled with self-doubt, guilt and overall lack of confidence particularly in the early stages of the business. As women, we tend to be our own biggest critics and I now understand that challenges a valuable component in shaping who I am as a person. I now feel as if I have the tools I need to deal with issues any issues that may arise.”
For more information on Pamela’s retail career and The Total Image Group, look out for the Australian Retailers Association’s Women in Retail Series retail.org.au/womeninretail
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zoe is the Marketing and Communications Officer for the Australian Retailers Association