What message is your outfit sending you?

starburst4Isn’t it amazing how life is unfolding all around us? The warmth of Spring has brought with it a multitude of new colours. Don’t you feel more alive than you did during the cold, dull winter months? That’s the power of colour. Some colours uplift and inspire while others dull the senses. Some inspire confidence while others just make you want to climb back into bed. Imagine harnessing some of that power in your corporate wardrobe? Our team at Soapbox loves colour and we’ve found great pleasure in helping our clients use colour wisely for many years.

Let’s face the facts

Research done by CCICOLOR (the Institute for Colour Research), revealed that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, business or product within 90 seconds of first seeing them. Where does colour fit into the equation? Up to 85% of that initial 90 second brand assessment is based on colour alone! The use of colour sends messages to customers before we even say a word.

An expert’s point of view

In her book “7 Mistakes Most Business Owners Make With Their Branding Colours”, Karen Haller, a colour and branding expert, points out that one of the biggest mistakes that a business owner can make is when they don’t pull their brand colour though to their corporate wardrobe.

It is a problem when your uniform (or lack of uniform) gives a completely different message to what you are telling customers through your logo, tagline, and marketing content. Not getting the uniform in sync with the rest of the brand creates confusion for the consumer because they will know on a sub-conscious level that something isn’t right.

On the other hand, correctly branded corporate wear not only give staff a sense of pride, belonging and equality but it has overall benefits to the business brand and also builds trust with your customers. (You can read more about this in our free bonus at the end of the blog.)

‘Reinforcing your brand through your staff’s work wear of is a bit like identifying your favourite chocolate bar by the wrapper. You know what’s on the inside by what appears on the outside.”

Karen Haller

The many voices of colour

In Western society there are definitely general colour thinking patterns that have been proven from decades of research on the topic. Here’s a quick rundown of what popular colours could signify in your corporate outfits.



Blue is both friendly and powerful. It inspires confidence in the wearer and creates the perception of loyalty. It can help you establish a sense of trust, loyalty and credibility. Read more about blue…


Red is the most emotionally intense colour and stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It demands attention. Read more about red…


In general the rule is that the darker the colour, the more powerful the look. According to the experts, it’s hard for a male executive to be taken seriously in a beige suit. Whether you’re wearing a suit or not, using beige as the predominant colour in your outfit can make you look drab, dull and average.


White is popular because it is light, neutral, and goes with almost every other colour. Wear it when you want to enliven the other colours that you’re wearing. In the majority of western cultures it’s associated with peace, innocence, simplicity, and cleanliness. Read more about white…


Darker greens can signify power, class, strength and conservatism. Brighter greens tell people you’re sporty, more casual and often cheerful. Read more about green…


Men who wear pale pink or salmon accents tell the world they’re confident, daring and independent. Women can use it to soften a strong, dark-coloured suit and look more approachable. Read more about pink…


Cheerful, sunny yellow is an attention getter. It tells people you’re casual, playful, cheerful, approachable and not afraid to take risks. Read more about yellow…


Black is the colour that creates a perception of authority and power. It signifies control, seriousness and responsibility –  all qualities the boss is likely looking for. It is popular in fashion because it is stylish, timeless and makes people appear thinner.


Brown is a great substitute for black as it is not as severe or formal. Solid brown is the colour of reliability while light brown implies genuineness. Brown clothing has to have the right cut and fit to look good.

These descriptions are generalisations based on research. The good news for those who have already chosen a brand is that there is no right or wrong colour. Each colour has both a negative and positive impact on people’s thinking. Some carry a little more authority than others. The trick is to pick the right tones, the right combinations and the right proportions in relation to your brand.

The big test is not what colour you choose, but how your business uses it.

Decisions, decision, decisions…

Choosing the colour of your corporate wardrobe is both a science and an art. It is also one of our passions here at Soapbox.

We would love to give you free, no obligation advice about how to best incorporate your brand colour into your corporate wardrobe. We understand that corporate wear is a great investment and we want to help you make the right choice – not only on the colour but style as well. Contact us on 012 804 0066 for our expert advice or email us at sales@soapboxpromo.co.za . As always, you can see our catalogue and promotions at www.soapboxpromo.co.za

Free bonus link

We really enjoyed reading Karen Haller’s e-book and would love to share it with you.  We’re including a link to this information gem for those who want to go grab a copy for themselves. It’s free of charge when you request it through Karen’s website http://www.karenhaller.co.uk/freebook7mistakes.htm

We look forward to seeing the colours enfold in your teams as we enjoy the warmth of Spring together.

With you every stitch of the way

Your friends at Soapbox

The power of colour continued …


A peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals and can help you feel more relaxed if you’re stressed. It is also believed to make you more creative so keep that in mind for the next brainstorm session. Back to blog…


Red is powerful and strong and shows that the wearer is not afraid to stand out. It gets you attention!  Too much may make you appear intimidating so keep it to a splash of colour unless you intentionally want to stand out from the crowd. Back to blog…


White uniforms, like the ones used by a doctor or nurse, give the impression of sterility and demands that people give you the space to do your job. For this reason, plain white is perhaps not the best choice to encourage interaction. Back to blog…


Using different shades of green will be calming and soothing. Green is also refreshing and has been found to reduce stress in those who look at it. If your colleagues are feeling really overwhelmed during the last stretch of the year, add green to your outfits and you might find a more relaxed team in the morning. Back to blog…


Pale Pink is very calming, so don’t wear it if you need tons of energy. On the other extreme, bright, bubblegum pink or fuchsia worn from head to toe just hurts people’s eyes. Let’s not wear the fuchsia suits to work shall we. Back to blog…


Yellow is the perfect colour to cheer you up on a bad day. It is the most difficult colour for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Yellow is also the colour also associated with intelligence and inspiration. Back to blog…

Do your clothes control your mind?

active wear

You may think that the Soapbox team has lost its mind, but in our company we believe that clothes control a lot more than they allow us to believe. Oh yes, they could even convince us to behave in a certain way when we put them on. That perfect gym top not only makes you look good but convinces you to choose the treadmill over the couch. The clean cut tailored shirt will show you exactly how to climb the corporate ladder. Your clothes convince you willingly, without being asked, because the ability to convince us is embedded in their thread count.  And we’re not the only ones who believe this.

What are we thinking?

There’s a proven science that teaches us that the clothes we wear will have a direct influence on how we behave. This scientific phenomenon is called “enclothed cognition” or “embodied cognition”. And no, we’re not just making that up. The New York Times science desk published one of many available articles on the topic in April last year and a couple of sentences caught our attention.

Professor Adam Galinsky, who was quoted in the article, explained how we not only think with our brains but we also think with our bodies. He went on to explain that the clothes we wear help to shape the way that we think and behave while we are wearing them.

Apparently the phenomenon doesn’t work when you just look at an item of clothing in a closet or catalogue. You have to wear it, see it on your body and feel it on your skin for it to affect your thinking. Dr Galinsky’s conclusion after many years of research is that clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a specific psychological state.

How does the theory work in the real world?

As the weather warms up we find ourselves migrating away from winter woollies and triple layers, to t-shirts and strappy tops. As we dig out our summer wear from the bottom of our closets we also dig out the desire to look our best. From the research we’ve seen, we now also know that having the right gym wear can actually give us the attitude boost to get the job done. We believe that our clothes secretly know that the better they make you feel, the more you will choose to show them off. Just think about it. How often does your old worn out varsity sweatshirt make its way to the gym? It knows that it can’t inspire you to hit the gym and so it hides at the bottom of the winter pile. But the new Slazenger number? That’s a different story. The perfect fitting, well engineered gym accessory will whisper sweet inspiration to your mind simply by slipping it on. Clothe the body and you’ll clothe the mind.

How to make it work for your business

The gym is not the only place where we can create a great attitude by wearing great clothing. Can you imagine being able to influence the behaviour of your teams simply by making sure that they look the part? Every business that aims to bring out the best in their teams should consider the influence that the current employee outfits may have on current behaviour.

An employee who feels insignificant can be transformed into a confident member of the team when they have a uniform that they are proud to wear each day. A team that feels distant and disconnected can begin to feel like they belong to a greater purpose when they share a powerful brand image on their corporate wear. Why does this work? It’s an amazing function of the human brain. When you wear it, you feel it, you believe it and your mind automatically wants to achieve it.

How can we help you?

At Soapbox we believe in the power of clothing and we want to help you bring out the best in your teams. You may want to purchase some team motivation in the form of new branded summer wear. Or you may just have a need to replace your gym wear that mysteriously shrunk in the wash. Whatever your goal, we are here for you. We can help you feel and look great when you shed your winter woolies.

Take a look at our range of active wear at www.soapboxpromo.co.za or give us a call on 012 804 0066 to get expert advice and unbeatable service.

As always, we are with you every stitch of the way

Your friends at Soapbox

Secretary Day: The horse does the work and the coachman gets tipped?..

Some call themselves administrative assistants while others prefer to be called administrative professionals. And every so often you meet someone who doesn’t mind to be called by the older title of secretary. But no one can deny that most of these roses, by any other name, would still be indispensible to their organisations.


The other day I overheard one assistant saying to another: “Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.” (Sic).

Don’t worry ladies (and gentlemen), your day is coming – very soon.

At Soapbox we believe that next to excellence is the appreciation thereof. To all the bosses out there: Here are some tips on how to show more appreciation towards your right hand lady in the workplace.0544b

  • Show praise – No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. Appreciate everything your assistants do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise – they’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.
  • Ask Questions – Try to get to know your secretary, this will make them feel like you are interested in their lives outside of work too and make them feel valued and cared about.
  • Small gestures – everyone needs food, correct? When you run out to buy yourself something to eat, grab something for your secretary whether is peanuts or chocolates, everyone enjoys receiving something as it makes us feel special. It has been said that time is an illusion. For most assistants lunchtime is doubly so.
  • The extra mile – Your secretary goes the extra mile for you daily, try doing the same by decorating their table or office when it’s their birthday or when they have accomplished a personal or work related goal.
  • Gifts – small gifts show remarkable return on investment? An assistant who feels appreciated and acknowledged achieves more and has a better attitude. A good idea is to stock up on small gifts and periodically show your appreciation by giving a gift – don’t only wait for secretary day. If creative gift giving is not you thing, visit http://www.soapboxpromo.co.za and get a few ideas.

34766With that said, what does it take to be a good secretary? We looked at a few factors that make a good secretary, ensuring that your boss will appreciate your more.

  • Be punctual – Be on time for work, being late will obviously not impress your boss.
  • Expect the unexpected – Secretaries are second in line when it comes to knowing everything in the work environment, after the boss. Be prepared for any unexpected questions that your boss might need answers to, make sure you are always on track with goals and things happening within in the company.
  • Make your bosses diary your priority – Your boss has many other things to worry about so the probability of him/her forgetting something is a given. Ensure that you stay on top of your boss’s diary so that you can always remind them of any meetings or important tasks that need to be done.
  •  Pay Attention to detail – Listen to everything! If you find it difficult to remember certain things then try making notes.
  • Keep a secret will you – Your boss is likely to share a lot of confidential information with you regarding the company, thus confidentiality is a very important quality that is expected of a secretary.  Don’t share information that you know is not to be shared.
  • Be professional and LOOK professional – Since you are the first impression clients will get of your boss and your organisation, it is important to make a great first impression and then live up to that promise. Always wear clothes that speak of good taste and sophistication.

If you would like to spoil you secretary this Secretary’s Day contact Soapbox Promo & Gifts on 012 804 0066 or visit our website at www.soapboxpromo.co.za today!