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UPS uniforms help create loyal customers
Mar '08
From down-to-earth retail outlets to airlines circling the globe at sky-high altitudes, companies everywhere are recognizing the key role personalized employee uniforms can play in generating repeat business.

"It's what some social scientists have described as 'cognitive lock-in,'" explains Robert Isaacson, Director of Marketing at UniFirst Corp., a leading provider of personalized work apparel in North America.

"Customers have a natural tendency to link satisfying purchasing decisions with visual cues like easily identifiable company uniforms. And when those uniforms are personalized with logos, corporate colors, and wearer names, those links become more deeply embedded and foster repeat business."

Examples of cognitive lock-in would include customers who quickly associate satisfying package deliveries with the recognizable brown-and-gold UPS uniforms, or who associate thirst-quenching satisfaction when they see red-and-white Coca-Cola uniform shirts or the red, white, and blue Pepsi logo.

The power of cognitive lock-in with respect to customer purchasing decisions was illustrated in a study published last year in the Journal of Consumer Research. In that study, researchers found cognitive lock-in will cause customers to repeatedly ignore objectively better products and services in favor of those they've previously purchased and found satisfying. Such locked-in behavior also plays a central role behind many customer loyalty and reward programs.

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