If Communication Tools Were Clothing Brands
It might seem like a bit of an odd comparison, pairing business communication tools with high-street clothing brands. That’s because it is. Yet there we were engaged in our lunchtime conversations, someone mentioned Slack, someone else was talking about fashion and…well…the discussion went sideways.
So here is the comparison you never knew you needed. What modern-day communications platforms would be if – strictly in our own opinion – they were famous clothing companies instead.
Comms tool: Slack
Clothing brand: Patagonia
Our reasoning: Slack is undoubtedly the trendiest comms tool on the market right now. Founded back in 2009, it was originally designed as an internal tool to assist with the development of a game called Glitch. It then became the fastest-growing SaaS startup in history, used by 77% of the Fortune 100. Slack offers an element of fun, as well as being fully customisable – helping it to fit easily with different companies’ needs – and can be integrated with a number of other productivity tools. You can also play a number of games with your teams through it, or on your own if you’re…slacking.
Patagonia, on the other hand, has been going for about 50 years now. It never tried to be cool, it was just there casually making high-quality clothing with as small an environmental footprint as possible. Today, it also makes gear for skiing, surfing, climbing and a variety of other sports, as well as its own craft beer. In an era when sustainability is a major value for so many, craft beer has become an increasingly popular trend, and skiing, surfing and climbing remain as cool as ever – its easy to see how Patagonia became fashion’s favourite outdoor brand.
Key Takeaway: Both are effortlessly cool in their own right.
Comms tool: Google Meet
Clothing brand: Nike
Our reasoning: Google Meet is functional, reliable and very well known. Offering a clean, easy to understand interface, alongside the ability to join straight through the browser, it is a hassle-free tool perfect for those ad-hoc meeting and ‘quick’ catchups. It is, of course, also part of the tech giant ‘Google’ which has experienced the occasional faux pas (such as plummeting shares after it first released Bard), but in general is pretty well regarded and a strong video conferencing choice.
Nike is, of course, a huge name in athletics wear, footwear, and sports equipment. Its trainers are still hugely popular, and it is highly likely that you, or someone you know, have some sort of Nike clothing in the wardrobe. Also experiencing the odd blunder of its own, such as deciding not to manufacture Mary Earps replica shirt (yes, we are English, yes, we are bitter about it), it still maintains a fairly strong image as a dependable option for sporting goods.
Key Takeaway: Both ‘just do it’.
Comms tool: Microsoft Teams
Clothing brand: H&M
Our reasoning: Microsoft Teams is another option wrapped in reliability, but unlike Google Meet, there is nothing exciting about it. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t dislike Teams. In fact, we use it all the time. It is effective, efficient, and exactly what you need when organising the internal and external calendars of various different partners, clients and teams. But exactly what you need is rarely a thrill.
H&M is one of those clothing brands that, if someone was to say they had just bought something from there, you’d find it hard to reply with anything more than ‘fair enough’. Its t-shirts are t-shirts, its jeans are jeans. You get some clothes from there and they will stop you being naked and cold. Enough said.
Key takeaway: Both are ‘safe’. Nothing more, nothing less.
Comms tool: Zoom
Clothing brand: Forever 21
Our reasoning: Zoom became hugely popular over the pandemic, as businesses quickly adapted to the new remote working environment, and friends and families went online to stay in touch. Over recent years, however, popularity has waned considerably. People are apparently still using Zoom, but we’re not sure who.
Forever 21 was once the biggest name in fast fashion, with its inexpensive clothing proving a hit among teens and 20-somethings. But that isn’t the case anymore. A slow move to e-commerce, along with a string of lawsuits, hit the company hard and in 2019 it filled for bankruptcy. Remarkably though, it was bought by a new owner and is still going now.
Key takeaway: Both are still (just about) going.
Comms tool: WhatsApp
Clothing brand: Victoria’s Secret
Our reasoning: WhatsApp has become the go-to for messaging. To the point that it even feels a little bit weird now if a friend texts you instead. That, however, doesn’t automatically mean it is an appropriate business communication tool. Some things should be kept out of the corporate world, and WhatsApp has a personal feel to it…and it should probably stay that way.
Victoria’s Secret is arguably the world’s most famous lingerie brand. Most people will have heard of it and, let’s be fair, the clothes they sell look pretty good. Once again though, that doesn’t automatically make it appropriate for the office.
Key takeaway: Both are great, but neither are designed for business.