Image management is the ongoing process of evaluating and controlling the impact of your appearance and the resulting response on you and others. The concept of image management applies to anyone who has ever needed to improve self image, self confidence, capability, and credibility. It applies to anyone who has ever wanted to get an idea cross to someone else to influence opinion or action. It is creating an authentic, appropriate, attractive and affordable image. Intelligence, knowledge, ability, initiative, and effort are vital to success of any kind and ongoing image management can give you the personal or professional presence that you need.
As an individual living and working in a highly complex and competitive society, you must recognize and understand the impact of your image as it communicates first to you and then to others.
Image matters because people make assumptions and judgements based on very limited information. H. Andrew Michener, John D. Delamater and Daniel J. Myers explain in their book “Social Psychology” that when we observe a single physical characteristic or behaviour in someone, we tend to assume that person has a number of other qualities, too. For example, someone may be perceived as confident because they have a firm handshake. They may be seen as trustworthy because they make eye contact. They may be judged as capable, professional, successful−even wealthy or intelligent−because they are well dressed. The reverse is also true. According to Brian Tracy, author of “The Psychology of Achievement “, “many capable men and women are disqualified from job opportunities because they do not look the part.”
Caroline Dunn and Lucette Charette of the National Research Council of Canada found that “people are affected by your appearance whether or not they realize it, and whether or not they think appearance is important.” They found that a first impression has significant, measurable effect on the observer:
“Your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of your:
- Financial success
- Suitability for hire or promotion
Your personal presentation (communication skills and appearance) influences people’s behaviour toward you, including:
- Complying with your request
- Trusting you with information
- Giving you access to decision makers
- Paying you a certain salary or fee for contracted business
- Hiring you or purchasing your product
These perceptions and behaviours are consistent among observers and persistent over time. In other words, most people will tend to form the same kind of opinions about you based on your appearance.”
Our image can have a significant impact on our happiness by affecting the development of friendships and relationships.
It is therefore essential to be able to create the right first impression by managing your image.
For corporations and other organizations, image can affect the financial bottom line. Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of most admired companies has found a correlation between a company’s reputation and its profits. Companies can have the following benefits of having a good image.
- Larger market share
- Ability to charge a premium
- Being able to pull through tough times
- Greater attraction to talent
- Better retention and productivity of people
- Lower costs
- Better and favourable media coverage
- Better attraction for investors
If a company’s image is not as good as it could be, the company may lose out on all these benefits.