15102009348Earlier this week I suggested that badges with positive messages could help local retailers to build relationships with shoppers in store. Today, I came face to face with a badge that, out of context, might hurt a brand. At a London bus stop an employee of the Pret-A-Manger sandwich chain was waiting, carrying a bag full of sandwiches and wearing a smart jacket with a slogan saying that his firm “delivers”. On his cap, he wore a huge badge with the single word “trainee” on the top – I took a picture of him (left).

Two ideas crept into my mind. First, if you had paid for some top-quality sandwiches to be delivered, surely you were not expecting them to be delivered by bus. Secondly, what was he training in? Catching a bus? Making a delivery?

Your marketing needs to be thought through. If you are going to get your staff to wear a trainee badge, then you need to ensure that they appear to be training in a skill that will be of value to the consumer. A trainee behind the delicatessen counter makes sense. A trainee sandwich-maker makes sense. One filling shelves? less so.

If you are investing in your brand, then you need to make sure the context that your investment is seen in helps build its value in the eyes of your customers.