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…

My blood is green once more…

I can almost hear PJ Powers and Ladismith Black Mambazo singing: “The world in union…” as I prepare to once again put on my green Springbok supporters shirt for the much anticipated match of the Springboks against Argentine Pumas on Saturday. What a thrill to see, when all falls into place and 22 individual players become ONE TEAM.

The American star basket ball player, Michael Jordan, has been quoted as saying the following:

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Much has been said over the years about teamwork in business and theoretically it should be just as exhilarating to work together in a team in a business as it is when our sports icons do it. Then why is it not? I believe the answer lies with TEAM SPIRIT and not merely in TEAMWORK.

When I think of TEAMWORK it makes me think of a clock with a great number of gears and parts performing with great efficiency – each part doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing, when it’s supposed to be doing it. Yet the whole process is not particularly inspired.

TEAM SPIRIT however is much greater than TEAMWORK – it is inspired efficiency and it helps the team achieve much more.


  1. Identify a common goal.
    Many will tell you that the secret to setting a goal is making sure that it is achievable. For most people this translates as “not too high”. However when you set a “not too high”-goal it is hardly inspiring. Be bold and set audacious goals that inspire your team to be greater than they have ever been. The Springboks always aim to be world champs, not merely to make the final rounds.
  2. Have fun!
    Incorporate fun activities into the everyday routine. Team building and retreats have their place, but most people find it hard to bring the team spirit back to the office after a retreat. Instead create a silly game that you can play every day at lunch time with a scoreboard to keep track of the game.
  3. Unite for a cause.
    There are few things as inspiring as a great charitable cause. Knowing that the team is making a difference in the community gives everyone a sense of achievement. This outside achievement creates momentum for success, spilling over into the business. Most top level sports teams are involved with some charity or another and I would like to believe that it provides them with inspiration as much as it is a good PR exercise.
  4. Create a team uniform.
    Whether working with a sports team or a sales team, having matching uniforms for special events can help everyone like they are part of a team.

Hopefully, this weekend we will once again see team spirit in action when the Springboks thrash the Pumas.

If you would like to support the Springboks by wearing a Springbok Jersey or T-Shirt please contact Soapbox Promo & Gifts on 012 804 0066 or www.soapbox.co.za and place your order!