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Like it or not, your customers have got you labelled

Like it or not, your customers have got you labelled

April 26, 2011

People do indeed judge a "book by its cover." In fact, people who wear a designer label that others can see are more likely to make more money, get noticed and get hired, according to a recent study. The labels we wear tell others quite a bit about ourselves. What do your labels say about you?

We shouldn't judge a book by its cover, right?

Seems as though that's just wishful thinking. Like it or not, a new study shows most of us do just that ' and it can have a major impact on how others perceive you.

Honestly, I wanted to vomit when I saw this. But there's no denying the impact that it can have on you and your business.

Designers of fancy clothes aren't vomiting, though. They're toasting champagne after the results a new study that that will soon be published in Evolution and Human Behavior. Rob Nelissen and Marijn Meijers of Tilburg University in the Netherlands examimed people's reactions to people who wore brand names clothes made by Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, according to The Economist.

In one of the experiments, a female assistant asked people in a shopping mall to stop and answer survey questions. This is interesting. 'One day she wore a sweater with a designer logo; the next, an identical sweater with no logo. Some 52% of people agreed to take the survey when faced with the Tommy Hilfiger label, compared with only 13% who saw no logo,' the article says.

Here are more results from the experiments in the study. When people see someone wearing designer clothes with the logo they are more likely to:

  • Rate someone else as 'higher status' and wealthier.
  • Award a job to a candidate and get this ' give him a 9% pay increase.
  • And give twice as much charitable contributions to the person wearing the designer shirt with a logo.

Why? Because people see designer labels as a signal of underlying quality. Only the best can afford to them.

What's the lesson? Your customers, clients and prospects are always judging you, not only by your products and services but also by the labels you wear. What labels are you wearing? What do those labels say about you?

But this goes beyond just what we wear. Labels have a powerful effect on how others perceive you. So what labels do your customers see when they pick up a product or open your website? What signs of 'success' do you project?

For example, if you're a B2C business you may want to have a Better Business Bureau logo prominently displayed on your website. When customers make a payment online from your site, you may also want to have a VeriSign or Authorize.Net logo displayed to give customers a sense of assurance that their payment is secure.

I'm sure we would all want to tell everyone, 'Judge us by what's inside. Don't judge a book by its cover.' But here's the deal: Everyone DOES judge a book by its cover.

You have a choice. You can choose to play the game or rebel against it and choose not to be influenced by such external, superficial trappings. But you can't ignore it. Whatever you decide, do it consciously because it's happening whether you like it or not.

To see the full article about this study in The Economist, go here.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman, President