Scroll through LinkedIn for long enough and you’re bound to see one thing; a wide-eyed new hire showing off the almost inconceivable amount off free company merch awaiting them at their desk.
We often brush these sorts of things off as just another start-up gimmick, akin to the open-concept office or in-house yoga studio. The sort of things made infamous by shows like Silicon Valley. However, these t-shirts, coffee mugs, and stickers might have more of an impact than first thought.
In his book, Leaders Eat Last, (the Predictive Success book club book for the month of November), Simon Sinek makes the case that as humans, our number one drive comes from a primal desire to be part of a group. If that is true, (which Sinek’s unbelievably thorough research would point to,) it is easy to make the conclusion that company merch makes us feel part of a team, which releases the ever so addicting chemical dopamine.
But the power of company merch goes back even further than that.
The “Jersey” Theory
As children, our first sense of comradery is often a sports team. In Canada, many of us received our first hockey jersey at a young age, wearing it until it was more “hole,” than “jersey.” Similar memories can be found in various sports worldwide. As we grew up, we maintained that sense of comradery. It’s the reason you can see fans of the “away” team high fiving at sporting events. We build our entire self-concepts off of the teams we cheer for and the logo on our chests.
When we see someone wearing the same logo as us, we feel a bond, (its the reason companies like Nike were so successful when they first started sponsoring athletes.
Our company merch is just another jersey in our life. It is added to our repertoire of logos we are proud to wear and becomes another pillar of our self-concept.
At Predictive Success, the company clothing you own is a sort of badge of how long you have been a part of the team. At a recent all-team, our Vice-President had a shirt dating back to the first year of Predictive Success. A badge of years growing together.
Our merchandise commemorates achievements, (like our recent nomination to The Globe and Mail Top Growing Companies List), and moments in time, (like our transfer to the new wave of Talent Optimization). Although there are decades between our oldest and youngest employees, the team can connect over the logo we all wear.
Team merchandise is also incredibly easy to create. With stores like Vistaprint or Entripy, you can create custom products from major manufacturers in a matter of minutes. Another pillar in your business culture.