The multi million pound cosmetics industry is acutely aware
of the value of packaging. You”ll know this if you”ve ever
bought anything from those glamorous ladies whose counters
are always just inside the front door of Department stores.
However, from time to time we”re presented with surveys
about the creams we rub on our bodies which take years off
our age and make our skin as soft as a baby”s bottie. The
surveys tell us “Buy the cheap stuff or the own label one
from the supermarket, “cause they”re all the same.”
But do we? Of course we don”t. Human beings are driven by
emotions not logic and never more so when spending their
money. People buy with their eyes, we love packaging. The
marketing and merchandising experts have it down to a fine
art and know the colours and shapes that we”re most likely
to buy. They then design their packaging accordingly and
make sure it grabs our attention.
The product in the packaging has to do what it says it”ll
do, however if it looks like it can do the business, then
we”re more likely to believe it can.
It”s just the same with people. Whether we like it or not,
people are likely to make judgements about us by the way
we”re packaged. They”ll then decide whether they like us,
whether they”ll give us a job or even just believe what we
This seems to be so obvious. Yet I”ve seen professional
speakers with scuffed shoes, business leaders with outdated
suits and politicians wearing clothes that don”t fit them or
suit their shape.
A few months ago I attended a function where an accountant
was invited to speak about his business. He told the
assembled audience how efficient his business was and about
their attention to detail. However his tie was undone and
his shirt looked like he was breaking it in for a smaller
friend. His suit, though probably expensive, wasn”t the
right colour for him and merely drew attention to the fact
that its wearer liked his grub.
All of the things he was saying were totally contradicted by
how he was packaged.
Lawyers, accountants, plumbers or software engineers; it
doesn”t matter what you do, other people are very liable to
make a judgement about your abilities by how you”re
packaged. Your colleagues and your boss will all make
decisions about the quality of your work and your promotion
prospects by your dress and image.
There”s the famous story about the 1960″s pre-election
television debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard
Nixon. These debates were also heard on radio, which was
much more popular at the time. After the debates a poll was
taken of how TV and radio audiences had reacted to the two
participants. The radio audience voted for Nixon, however
the TV audience voted overwhelmingly for Kennedy. The TV
audience liked the look of Kennedy better than Nixon – they
liked the packaging.
We also tend to make decisions very quickly about people we
come into contact with. Psychologists have established that
we subconsciously make around eleven decisions about other
people within the first six seconds of meeting them.
Personnel managers have admitted in surveys to making a
decision about a job applicant within the first thirty
seconds of an interview, these decisions being made
primarily on how the people looked and carried themselves.
How we look will confirm or contradict what we say. Imagine
someone in a policeman”s uniform at your door telling you
he”s come to read the gas meter, I doubt if you”d believe
him. First impressions are also lasting impressions and
take a lot of changing.
Okay, so we can”t all have the perfect looks or the perfect
body, what ever that is. It doesn”t matter what shape you
are but it does matter how you package that shape, if you
want to make an impact on other people.
How you package yourself can also make a huge difference to
your self-confidence. Have you ever noticed how confident
and self-assured you feel when you dress in something you
feel good in? Particularly when someone genuinely
compliments you. How you dress can have a huge impact on how
you carry yourself and project to other people.
The problem is that many of us don”t have a clue as to what
really suits us and compliments our shape. This is why so
many business people are turning to an image consultant to
improve their personal impact. This may seem like a costly
luxury however consider the cost of restricting your career
or possibly not winning a new account.
Dress down Friday is a particular challenge for men. The
temptation for many guys is to pull on an old pair of chinos
and a worn out polo shirt and hope for the best. The only
thing is you end up looking scruffy and certainly don”t
So what do you do? Well you could ask your nearest and
dearest to be honest with you and tell you what they really
think about what you wear. The thing is, you really need to
listen and take heed of what they say.
Buy some of the fashion magazines and keep up to date on the
latest fashion. It can also help to find a good clothes
store where the sales assistants will give unbiased advice.
It”s also important to look after the details. Do your
spectacles suit your face? Are you in need of a more modern
haircut? What does that cheap plastic watch say about you?
Men need to be careful about novelty ties and fancy socks
with a business suit. Women need to take care with make-up,
colours and perfume.
You may have a lot more to offer than a jar of anti wrinkle
cream or a packet of cornflakes; however no one is going to
pick you off the shelf if they don”t like your packaging.