Power of Perception (through Packaging)

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Don’t judge a book by its cover, right?

Especially nowadays in this uber politically correct world we live in. How dare we judge someone or something by it’s OUTWARD appearances, right?

So, here’s a question for you…

Despite probably being told NOT to judge people or things by their appearances…

Do you still do it? Do you judge by appearances?

If I was a betting man (which I’m not) AND if you were brutally honest with yourself…

Chances are the answer is YES – you more than likely pass judgment based on appearances all day long.

But, look. I’m not here on the other end of this article wagging my condemning, self righteous finger at you. I’m in the same boat as you.

You see, we all do this. We ALL judge based on appearances.

But, listen, it’s not your fault. It’s our human nature and it’s essentially hard-wired into us.

So, whether we like this or not, is beside the point.

You can either fight and kick and try to swim against the current of human nature… or… you can harness it’s power and strength to your advantage.

Sooooo, what does this have to do with your business?

Before we jump into that in a minute…

Let’s look at a pretty cool experiment done several years ago that exemplifies this exact point of snap judgments based on appearances.

Have you ever heard of Joshua Bell? He’s a world renowned violinist. Just to sit in the nose bleed section of an amphitheater and hear this guy play, you’re paying upwards of $100. No joke.

I heard him play here at the Pittsburgh Symphony a few years back. And let me tell you… this guy is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. What he can do with a violin will make your jaw drop.

So, here was this experiment.

Teaming up with the Washington Post, he dressed in blue jeans, a T shirt and topped off his attire with a baseball cap.

Standing in the lobby of a busy D.C. metro during rush hour, he started to play his world class music to passerbys in exchange for tips.

I mean here was the chance to stand 5 feet from this world famous violinist and experience his music. You couldn’t have had a better seat if you dished out $1,000 for a balcony seat at Carnegie Hall.

So I’m curious. How many people do you think stopped to take it all in?

How much in tips do you think people poured into his violin case sitting on the ground in front of him.

Surely, blue jeans and a T shirt wouldn’t skew people’s judgment. I mean they can hear how great the music is, right? Surely that will be proof enough and reason to shrug off his less-than-professional look.

Let’s take a look and see what happens…


So, how much did he take in that day, you ask.

A whopping $32. 17. That’s right, 32 measly bucks.

So, we ask WHY did he make so little?

It certainly wasn’t the music. He played the same genius-caliber music he plays to standing room only crowds in theaters around the world.

The answer is his APPEARANCE and the PERCEIVED VALUE people placed on him.

In an instant, as people walked by, they consciously and unconsciously “sized up” Joshua by his appearance.

You see, visual cues are one of the major determinants people use when assigning value to something.

I guess it’s for this same reason that people, when interviewing for a job, don’t show up in shorts and flip flops, right?

As Al Ries and Jack Trout famously state in their book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, because our perception is how we experience the world, it’s all we have.


So, when it comes to your business, rest assured, people are passing judgment and assigning values merely on appearance. Whether it be consciously or unconsciously.

Opinions are being formed based on the look of your business, the decor, how employees are dressed, and of course…

Based on your PACKAGING.

Is it fair? NO.

Will people continue to do it? ABSOLUTLEY.

Now, you’re obviously a smart and savvy businessperson already and understand that packaging and branding is important. Otherwise you wouldn’t be a client or subscriber of MrTakeOutBags.

But, if you’re ever looking to add to your perceived value and marketing efforts or have any questions about custom printing your packaging, give us a call at 888-321-2248. We’d love to talk packaging and help you explore some possibilities.


Learn How 3 Savvy Business Are Putting a Spin on Custom Packaging

These 3 clients are using their packaging in unique ways to increase their sales and build customer loyalty.

Click here to read HOW they’re doing it!


Title photo credit: Let books be your dining table, And you shall be full of delights Let them be your mattress And you shall sleep restful nights. ~Author Unknown via photopin (license)

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