Avena: counteracting the risks of company branding  

July 8, 2024



Finding the balance between maintaining brand presence and suppressing the risks associated with it can be difficult. Elliott Garner, Marketing Lead at Avena looks at how companies can avoid these potential pitfalls.   

In today’s fiercely competitive business environment, maintaining a robust brand presence is more important than ever.  

Corporate uniforms, branded workwear and liveried vehicles are widely used marketing tools that enhance brand recognition and project an image of organisation and credibility.

These elements also foster team unity and accountability among employees and serve as a security measure by validating the authenticity and authority of personnel.   

However, these branding strategies can also pose significant risks to a company’s prosperity and survival.  

The vulnerabilities of branded workwear  

Branded workwear, while promoting a unified and professional appearance, also presents risks to both employees and the public.

Employees wearing recognisable uniforms can become targets for criminals who see them as easy routes to access company property, goods or sensitive information.  

Furthermore, stolen uniforms can be used for impersonation, leading to serious crimes such as theft, endangerment of the public and corporate financial loss.  

Disposal of used workwear is therefore a problem, particularly for businesses with a large workforce or a high employee turnover.

Some companies have resorted to long-term storage of discarded workwear, but this comes at a high cost and can never be a permanent solution.  

Avena Group is the first company in the UK to offer a secure destruction and recycling service for used workwear and corporate uniforms, protecting brands and minimising environmental impact by recycling a high percentage of fibres that would otherwise end up in landfills.  

This comprehensive solution includes secure collection, shredding and recycling, ensuring that branded workwear cannot be misused by unauthorised individuals.  

Environmental responsibility and brand image  

In today’s eco-conscious world, promoting corporate environmental credentials is crucial.

Consumers are increasingly expecting companies to adopt sustainable practices and failing to do so can lead to negative perceptions and loss of consumer trust.  

The issue of textile waste is particularly pressing, with global volumes reaching alarming levels.

Branded workwear, often unsuitable for donation, typically ends up in landfill sites or incinerators, contributing to environmental pollution.  

Avena Group, with its previously mentioned destruction and recycling service and ‘zero-waste-to-landfill’ policy in partnership with Nothern, offers a genuine, measurable solution. 

“Before partnering with Avena, our uniform disposal process was non-existent. Now, with a solid relationship in place, we have peace of mind knowing that the process is secure, safe and risk-free,” said Nothern Rail in a company statement.  

“We’ve significantly reduced the chances of our uniform ending up in the wrong hands.  

“Avena has been very reliable, ensuring smooth collections that meet our fluctuating site demands.  

“Since implementing Avena’s solution across 25 Northern sites, we’ve processed over 10 tonnes of materials to date, an achievement that directly contributes to our carbon savings.  

“We wholeheartedly recommend Avena. Their solution has enabled our staff to dispose of their end-of-life uniforms responsibly and securely.” 

Discarded workwear is first securely shredded and then segregated into three grades: high-quality fibres are spun into new yarn, second-grade fibres are repurposed into products such as upholstery padding and acoustic panels and any remaining material is used to generate efficient energy.  

Long-term environmental benefits  

By integrating sustainability into their operations, companies can build stronger relationships with environmentally conscious consumers and stakeholders.  

These practices demonstrate a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of business operations, which can be a powerful differentiator in a crowded market.  

The risk posed by counterfeit goods is a significant concern for fashion manufacturers and retailers and the more valuable a brand is, the more likely it will be targeted by counterfeiters.  

Today’s fake designer garments are often indistinguishable from genuine articles, both in design and quality.

This can severely undermine a brand’s value by flooding the market with high-quality imitations and reducing the perceived exclusivity of the brand.  

Strategies for brand protection  

The fashion industry can benefit greatly from collaborating with companies that specialise in secure destruction and recycling.

By ensuring that counterfeit goods are effectively removed from circulation, brands can protect their intellectual property and maintain their market position.  

Implementing robust tracking and monitoring systems for both raw materials and finished products can further safeguard against counterfeiting.  

Are branded vehicles a moving target?  

Branded vehicles are a common sight on the roads, acting as mobile billboards that advertise a company’s services and products.

They increase brand visibility, create a professional image and enhance customer recall.

However, this high visibility can backfire in unexpected ways. 

Any negative incident involving a branded vehicle, such as reckless driving, traffic accidents, or inappropriate driver behaviour can quickly escalate into a public relations nightmare.  

Such incidents can go viral within hours, significantly damaging brand loyalty, eroding customer and shareholder confidence and negatively impacting sales and long-term business relationships.  

Moreover, branded vehicles can attract unwanted attention from criminals.

The prominent logos and signage make it easier for thieves to identify potentially valuable contents such as expensive equipment or goods.  

To mitigate these risks, some companies have opted for unmarked vehicles.  

Avena Group doesn’t brand its vehicles and uses discreet CCTV cameras and real-time satellite tracking to monitor their fleet, ensuring the safe transportation of confidential documents, discarded workwear and digital media items without drawing unnecessary attention to the potential value of the vehicles’ contents.  

Navigating the complexities of brand management  

Brands play an integral role in corporate identity and marketing, but while they offer significant benefits they also come with potential pitfalls. 

Specialist companies that offer valuable services and expertise can help businesses navigate these challenges, ensuring that their brand remains a valuable asset rather than a liability.  

By adopting unmarked vehicles, implementing secure textile destruction and recycling services, and committing to sustainable practices, businesses can protect their brand integrity and enhance their corporate image.  

In an era where brand perception is closely tied to public and environmental responsibility, these strategies are not just beneficial but essential for long-term success.  

Moreover, employee training and awareness programs can play a crucial role in mitigating risks associated with branded workwear and vehicles.

Educating employees about the importance of maintaining a positive public image and the potential consequences of their actions can also help prevent incidents that could damage the brand.  

The key to effective brand management therefore lies in balancing visibility with security.

This article was originally published in the July Edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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