I’m not going to lie, I am pinching myself that we’re at this milestone already. It feels like only yesterday that I started talking to friends about this ‘idea’ – a concept inspired by a print glitch of all things. Today we have a small range of shirts and wearable tech within some of the shirts themselves. We’ve come a long way with DressCode in a small space of time and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us – thank you.

A living case study

DressCode presents a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate the work we deliver week in week out for clients both large and small within Busy as AB. For good reasons, the majority of our clients like to keep us under the radar, in a kind of secret weapon style. We’re really happy with that, but there are times when we are exploring the scope of a project that we feel a little constrained, unable to disclose some of the work we’ve done in similar sectors for our clients. DressCode is different, it’s a living, breathing case study of everything that we do. We are really proud of what this brand has achieved within a couple of years. It’s not all plain sailing by any means, so here’s a few things that have stood out, helped and taught us valuable lessons.

What have we learnt?

The short answer is loads, but that’s not very helpful, so we’re going to share a few of the stand out moments.

Planning

Life happens we all know that, this year has demonstrated just how unpredictable things can be. At any time, having a plan is really important. It gives you the space to breathe. Yes you can, and we do, need to be responsive and dynamic, but if you’re operating like that all of the time you miss more than you gain.

The space to think and ensure that you get the most from every available opportunity is invaluable. This is particularly true when it comes to building a brand. There is no one element that defines a brand – branding is everything – every aspect, every function, product, delivery and presence of a business. There’s simply no way you can be consistent and deliver anything of meaning without a plan.

S, M, L and XL

Sorry but there is no one size fits all, we wish there was. We have some big plans, 5 and 10 year goals. These are in place to steer us. They’re not some vanity metric, there to make us feel good, they give us direction, so we can look at what we are doing and investigate the smaller steps that we need to take as a brand and marketing company to move DressCode towards those goals.

Planning for disruption

This year has tested everyone, no one escaped the Covid-19 impact. The mixture of business, home schooling and personal relationships has put everyone under extra stress and strain, it’s meant big decisions have had to be made. As a virtual business, or ‘digital first’ as it’s often called, Busy as AB already operated remotely, and has done so for over 6 years. When it came to developing the DressCode business we went for our tried and tested approach, using the same methodology and approaches across both businesses. Thankfully the impact of Covid19 wasn’t as pronounced for us as it was for others in our sector.

Pivoting

Where we will always need to be agile was in our response to the changing face of fashion. Something that anyone who follows any form of art, design or fashion will tell you, never stops, it’s constantly evolving. However, Covid brought a new dimension into these changes – face masks!

Covering up

Peoples needs changed and they are still changing really quickly. Suddenly there was a need for, what was to many, an entirely new piece of clothing. It was not something we envisaged being a part of the brand when we made our plans for DressCode, but we could see this was here to stay. Taking the big picture view, listening to the concerns of the DressCode customers and others we embraced the new fashion whole heartedly and within a week adapted the pocket square stock to be face masks complete with photo shoot and social promotions.

New elements of the brand experience.

Face masks have brought many new elements to the DressCode business. For a start they are a much cheaper item. They’re also a great way for us to demonstrate our working principles – supporting local people, respecting the environment and giving people a first class product. We have many new stories to share around face masks and how DressCode produces them. We have also forged some great new relationships with other people in the fashion sector, particularly stylists and personal shoppers, both of whom are embracing Face Masks as part of their work.

Adapting

So this year plan has changed, I don’t think that there’s a single business that hasn’t adapted to Covid19. Our plans for the direction of travel remain the same, we have the same goals and some new opportunities along the way. Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight, this year is probably the first of many hurdles that we will need to overcome. Change happens because life happens, accepting that some things are outside of your control is really important. How you (as a brand) react to these changes is even more important. We build so many human traits into the business we call brands, so naturally people are looking to brands to behave like people, with humanity. There’s been a few brands that have got things wrong during the pandemic, to be fair, it is completely uncharted territory for many. What it has highlighted is the relationships brands have with people, how they work and what is expected on both sides, because just like a human relationship, there’s work to be done on both sides – something that some big brands have finally woken up to.

Listening

Listening is probably one of the most important aspects of building a brand. When you listen to others you learn and understand what people do and don’t want from you. There’s never been easier ways to listen to what the ‘mood in the room’ is like, which is why people are no longer prepared to accept a dictatorial relationship with a brand. The relationship has evolved way past this. Today it’s all about experience, what it feels like when you ‘touch’ the business. These touches can come from many different places and they’re different for everyone and every brand or business.

Helping others

Helping others is what Busy as AB has always been about. We work hard behind the scenes, helping businesses connect better, develop new exciting services and products, connecting with human values to create a buzz for your business. If you’d like to know more about what we do and how we can support your business, please get in touch.

www.dresscodeshirts.co.uk