The Western State Endurance Run is a hundred miles long. When you finish in 24 hours or less—that’s 100 miles in one day, on foot—you get a belt buckle. Each buckle is handmade, and they draw instant respect and praise from endurance runners worldwide. That’s because, barring the odd eBay sale, you can’t buy a Western States buckle. You have to earn it.
Your organization’s goals likely don’t require ultramarathoning. However, effective branded incentives work on the same principle as those buckles: People want recognizable rewards that communicate their achievements instantly to peers. That’s one of the reasons branded apparel works.
Why Branded Apparel Works: Recognition
Only half of all employees feel valued, according to an American Psychological Association study. Barely over a third (36%) said they had received any form of recognition within the past year. People want to be valued and recognized. And a good incentive program can go a long way to fulfilling that need for your employees.
Branded apparel is a great fit for incentive programs. It’s not only an acknowledgment at the time it’s awarded, but it also draws compliments and recognition of the work behind the achievement every time it’s worn—if you make the requirements for earning apparel clear company-wide.
Those requirements are what make the effort worthwhile for employers as well: employee incentive plans that work provide a clear path to all rewards by laying out specific metrics that help the company achieve its strategic goals.
Another reason branded apparel is such an effective incentive is that it helps reinforce company culture. It creates a great feedback circle: Employees earn incentives, which their peers notice and compliment. That positive word-of-mouth makes the incentives more popular, increasing the likelihood that everyone will want to earn their own sharp-looking attire.
Why Branded Apparel Works: Rewards
Branded apparel also works because it’s a great reward: Most logoed shirts will see more use than a Texas-sized belt buckle. Most people want sharp-looking clothes. If their clothes also bring a thumbs-up and congratulations from peers, so much the better. Again, the key is to offer rewards that can only be earned. If you sell the same goods in your company store or simply give them away in raffles, that reduces the incentive.
Even if your team already wears branded apparel as part of a uniform, there are still lots of clothing options available for incentives. You can even make it part of a marketing strategy and add a logo specific to the program. Make sure to avoid overlap, however; don’t try to motivate someone with more items they already wear daily. If they already wear polos with embroidered logos, offer jackets or branded accessories like backpacks or day planners. You want to ensure that employees think it’s worth the effort. It will also act as branding for your firm, so you’ll want your company name and logo to be presented in the best possible light—especially if your employees interact with the public.
Screen-printed T-shirts not really your thing? We get it. Do what best suits your company culture. The branded apparel industry has come a long way and savvy decision-makers seek options that are just as high-class as your employees. Depending on your needs, you might offer:
- Garment Bags or Luggage
- Tool Kits or Camping Gear
- Aromatherapy or Spa Kits
- Stand Mixer, Crock Pot, or Single-Serve Coffee Maker
- Portable Chargers and Cell Phone Accessories
Why Branded Apparel Works: Results
Branded apparel, when awarded in recognition of achievement, helps engage your team while helping your organization reach its strategic goals. Performance-tied metrics boost employee engagement in particular, with a payoff: Gallup found that employees who felt that managers were tracking their performance were 2.5 times more likely to be engaged in their work than those who didn’t feel that way. The research firm put a price on the cost of disengaged employees, too: $7 trillion in lost productivity.
When used to recognize and motivate star players, branded apparel can also help improve employee retention. Engaged employees with tangible rewards for their efforts see themselves as part of a team—in this case, an elite team of high performers. That means your best people will feel valued and more likely to stay with you over the long term, giving your retention rate a big boost. Since turnover is expensive and can sap morale, increasing your retention rate today will help you maintain or increase it still more tomorrow.
One last benefit to branded apparel: It helps create a positive image with the people who represent your brand to others. That positive company image pays off in your ability to attract talent in competitive markets. When you’re good, the word spreads, and you can help it spread by using branded apparel when recognizing your best people. No marathon required.
If your organization needs to increase employee engagement and retention while raising key performance indicators, give us a call. Inproma has decades of experience creating high-end branded apparel that employees love and that represents employers well. Moreover, we create custom incentive programs for companies in a range of industries. Whatever your goals, we can help you meet them a program designed specifically to reach them.