BOSTON, MA () by Ronald D. Croatti - What's the next big thing on Madison Avenue? According to new research the answer, for many companies, isn't a new social medium, ad network, or internet technology, but a decidedly "low tech" tactic aimed squarely at face-to-face customer interactions: company uniforms.
The study, conducted at Suffolk University's Sawyer Business School, is entitled "Are Uniforms an Effective Marketing Tool?" and includes a survey of more than 260 companies in 14 different industries throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The findings: companies which outfit customer-facing employees in branded company uniforms report—by margins of up to 9 to 1—that their employee uniforms outperform internet, newspaper, TV, radio and billboard advertising as a marketing tool.
Marketing analyst Ashwini Poojary, Director of Marketing and Communications of the Suffolk University Graduate Student Association, designed the research and analyzed results. UniFirst Corporation provided data center services and randomized selects from its uniform program customer list to aid in the survey. The research summary is available on their website.
Among the findings:
- 80% of General Building Contractors said their company uniforms were more effective than internet advertising.
- 80% of Food Manufacturers said their company uniforms were more effective than TV advertising.
- 90% of Local Passenger Transit companies said their company uniforms were more effective than radio advertising.
- 90% of Wholesalers said their company uniforms were more effective than billboard advertising.
- 90% of Agricultural Production companies said their company uniforms were more effective than yellow pages advertising.
"This report is a great example of why marketers must expand their perception of what media is today," says Harry J. Gold, CEO of Overdrive Interactive, a leading Boston-based interactive marketing agency. He adds, "Like point of purchase display and search marketing — uniforms deliver impressions to the most important consumers, your active customers when they are about to buy!"
UniFirst (NYSE: UNF), a North American leader in the supply and servicing of uniforms, workwear, and protective clothing, outfits more than 1.5 million workers each business day. The company's most popular brands include UniWeave®, SofTwill®, UniWear®, and Armorex FR®. UniFirst also offers Facility Service Programs including floor mats, mops, and restroom products. For more information, contact UniFirst at 800-455-7654 or visit www.unifirst.com.