[In the Office] They've Got the Look

Features - Business Strategy

Dial Pest Control’s new uniforms are an example of how to cultivate and maintain a successful brand image in the pest management industry. And they’ve cut costs as well.

November 30, 2012
Kelly Mannes
Office staff at Dial Pest Control (left to right): Laurie Cavalieri, Geraldine Loconsole, Barbara Racioppi, JoAnn Hempel.

Walk down any aisle of the supermarket and you’ll likely find at least one well-known product that’s changed its packaging recently. Though altering a recognized brand image can be a risk, these redesigns usually aren’t about enhancing the product — they’re about drawing attention to familiar products in order to keep the brand image strong and fresh in consumers’ minds. This marketing technique is a kind of brand strategy, and, in the service industry, fresh branding is just as relevant to the service professionals as it is to the products they’re selling.

Recently, Dial Pest Control, a $2 million pest management business based in New Jersey, found a unique way to tap into the company’s brand strategy by providing its four-person office staff with new uniforms. But they’re not just any uniforms — employees are now wearing medical office-type scrubs. Not only are these scrubs functional, comfortable and cost effective, but their style also has given the office a unified look that invites attention and enhances the company’s playful image, said Laurie Cavalieri, Dial’s office manager.

“Within our office staff we were accustomed to ‘loose’ uniforms and (this year we) wanted to streamline our attire and come up with an out-of-the-ordinary uniform,” said Cavalieri, who proposed and implemented the idea.

The New Look. Previously, the staff had been given a catalogue from the company’s uniform provider, Aramark (which outfits Dial’s technicians), and everyone could choose what she wanted to wear. “If you wanted to wear Oxfords, you could, or golf shirts, even t-shirts,” Cavalieri said. “All of (the shirts) had our logo on them, so, it’s not like we came to work without any company image. We just didn’t have the same dress code.”

Now, with the logo-emblazoned office scrubs, staff members still get to individualize their styles, but they do so by choosing what colors they would like to wear. “There are three different colors, black, gray and navy,” said Cavalieri. “We don’t all have to wear the same color every day, so we can be unique, but also look coordinated.”

The scrubs she chose for the staff are Medgear sets that she orders from the online provider Allheart. Not only do these scrubs have piping to add some fun and contrast to the look, she said, but they are more fitted than typical doctor’s scrubs, thereby giving the all-female staff a slightly more tailored, feminine look. To go along with their scrubs, staff members also have matching cardigans from Land’s End.

Lots of Advantages. She says the scrubs help the company cultivate and maintain a personalized style, while also being more cost-efficient than other proposed uniforms. “It actually ended up, from a cost standpoint, less than what it would be to have an Oxford top. Each piece was $30, and then I took it to a local embroidery company that I use, and they charge us $12 to embroider,” she said. “So, for, $42 we have a complete outfit.”

The scrubs are also wash-and-wear ready, which means the staff members don’t have to spend additional money or time for special laundering or ironing.

Dial’s office staff have only been wearing their new uniforms since January, but Cavalieri says the change has been nothing but positive. “Everyone seems to be really happy and adapting well to it. It’s a way to uniform our staff, keep us comfortable and have others take a double look at our logo,” she said.

And though Dial’s office staff have very limited face-to-face interaction with customers, Cavalieri has found that simply wearing the uniforms in public has been a new way to bring attention to the company. “I’ve never seen [scrubs] outside of a nail salon or doctor’s office. People don’t expect them on a pest control company, so, everyone does take a second look, definitely,” she said.


The author is a PCT contributing writer and can be contacted at kmannes@giemedia.com.