Uniforms as a competitive tool in Service Marketing:
Marketers are known for their famous 7 P’s in Service Marketing as shown above, and I would like to focus on one of them, namely PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. No, this is not CSI-talk about blood & murder weapons, but those elements which customers can actually see or experience when they use a service, and which contribute to the perceived quality of the service, e.g. the physical evidence of an airline would include the uniforms of the flight attendants.
I love uniforms of all kinds in the service industry. I believe that a uniform is a “walking billboard”, and if done correctly is an extremely useful tool to promote your business.
My favourite uniform is those of Singapore Airlines. The male flight attendants get to wear regular lounge suits, but the women wear the iconic “Singapore Girl” uniform, a sarong kebaya, with the long, slim, slits up the front, fitted skirt, and the breathtakingly tight tops.
When you notice them not only in flight but walking in the airport you can immediately associate them with Singapore Airlines.
Chris Baumann wrote an interesting article on “The impact of uniforms on consumer brand preferences” in January 2016. He mentioned the following “In an industry increasingly characterised by deregulation, privatisation, and low-cost carriers carving market share from full-service carriers, airlines are struggling to differentiate themselves from the competition. Visual brand elements, such as the flight attendant’s uniform, may provide a competitive point of difference”.
According to studies done by Global Traveler reader survey, China Airlines uniform was voted nr 1 in the world for 2015. The new uniform design is part of the China Airlines “NexGen (Next Generation)” Plan and was designed by William Cheung.
“What I designed is a fashion wear, not a uniform.” William Cheung
Effective Branding Is In The Details:
However, no uniform discussion is complete without a special mention to the uniforms of Emirates Airlines. The red signature lipstick, called “Emirates red” worn by flight attendants needs to be a certain shade of red and match the red in their uniform perfectly (Clarins Paris is the exclusive beauty brand of Emirates Airlines).
Forget about Pantone colours, these girls are branding-on-the-go!
The message is clear: Uniforms can be viewed as a competitive tool to promote visual brand consistency. And that is the reason why I love the uniforms in the service industry!
Which uniform do you like the best?