Uniforms, Public Perception, and the AAF

Workplace uniforms are pretty common in the U.S. From fast food restaurants to hotels and commercial air carriers, employees are identified by the uniforms they wear. So what’s the deal? Why do employers insist on professional uniforms for their staff? It is all about public perception.

Company uniforms are intended to project a certain kind of image. As such, uniforms often reflect a company’s brand messaging. We see that as much in sports as we do any other industry. For purposes of illustration, let’s take a look at the Association of American Football (AAF), the latest spring football league hoping to find its place alongside the NFL.

Ranking AAF Uniforms

The AAF is by no means a fly-by-night organization. It was years in the making, being developed by well-known and experienced professionals in broadcasting, media relations, and the actual sport of football. One of the most interesting aspects of the league, apart from a few significant rule differences, are team uniforms.

Media outlets began ranking the uniforms within days of their release in 2018. Those reviews continue even with the league now fully engaged in its first season. For some reason, the media is enthralled with the uniforms of the eight teams of the AAF.

What surprises so many people is that the uniform designs are very NFL-like. That is a departure from what so many other leagues have done the past. Think of the World League of American Football (WLAN) and Vince McMahon’s XFL for comparison. The uniforms in both of those leagues were purposely ostentatious. Not so with the AAF. Their uniforms have been designed to complement the football rather than distract from it. They have certainly accomplished that.

So Far, So Good

So what do people think of the AAF uniforms? So far, so good. The uniforms do what they are intended to do: identify the individual teams with designs appropriate to the sport and the league they represent. And guess what? The positive perceptions expressed by new fans of the league are paying off.

Unlike some of the other leagues that predated the AAF, this league has already achieved respect. In just a few short weeks the AAF has been transformed from what many believed was just another spring football experiment into something a lot of people expect to stick around for a long time.

Establishing a Brand

Uniforms alone have not created the respect the AAF is now getting, explains Utah-based Alsco. But that doesn’t mean the uniforms have had no effect. Quite to the contrary, they have helped establish the AAF brand – the power of which should not be underestimated.

Branding is one of the key reasons that companies want custom-designed uniforms instead of generic, off-the-rack clothing. The very fact that employers are investing in uniforms leads many of them to feel as though spending on customization is well worth the cost. Alsco says they are absolutely right.

Company uniforms are an integral part of an organization’s brand. There is no question about that. We are seeing it now with the AAF and the eight teams that are working so hard to establish a spring league with a solid future ahead of it. The fact that so many people have been talking about the uniforms since 2018 is testament to their success as a branding tool.

An AAF without quality football wouldn’t survive regardless of what the uniforms look like. But combining high-quality play and professional looking uniforms have already positioned the AAF as a new football league worthy of fan consideration. Anyone who knows anything about public perception and branding should not be surprised.

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