CatWe live in a world where books are judged by their covers. People are judged by their appearance. And prices are judged by the packaging.

Of course, the quality of what you offer should be what matters. Your value should be based on what’s inside. What’s on the outside shouldn’t make a difference.

But it does.

Letting the cat out of the bag

Years ago, I was working as a Saturday girl at Allders of Croydon. I was asked to look after the Easter egg stall for a day.

It was a tiered stand at the foot of a busy escalator.

I arrived to find all the boxes piled up in a higgledy-piggledy fashion. It was a mess.

The first thing I did was tidy the display, stacking matching boxes into colour-coded piles, arranging similar designs in neat clusters, and hiding any broken eggs under the counter.

The Easter eggs started flying off the shelves. I was kept busy, continually rearranging what was left to make the display as attractive as possible. Soon, there was more empty shelf space than there were eggs to cover it.

Afterwards, my boss told me no-one had ever sold more Easter eggs.

”That’s weird,” I thought, “I didn’t do any selling. All I did was tidy the display and keep it tidy. The customers did the rest. I just took their money.”

It’s all about the packaging.

Another memory of Allders is when I worked on the Christmas wrapping stall. I stood in a booth (like a Punch and Judy stand), with rolls of wrapping paper on the wall behind me, cardboard boxes at my feet, and reels of tape and ribbon in front of me.

There was a constant queue of people wanting their gifts to be wrapped with neatly folded ‘hospital’ corners, tape hidden behind a clever pleat, then finished off with curling ribbon and a silk flower.

Why did so many people invest time and money for this service? Because it made their gifts look fabulous.

It was – literally – all about the packaging.

Negotiator, Derek Arden, uses the example of a tea-tray at a car boot sale. There, it would probably be worth a couple of quid. On the shelf at Harrods, the exact same tea-tray could be worth a couple of hundred.

It’s all about the packaging.

I spent a year being mentored by Moe Nawaz. We used to meet at amazing venues such as the Ritz in London, or the House of Commons. He argued that you had to hang around in the places where your target customers might be, and that you really should be targeting customers at the ‘top of the pond’.

He also introduced me to Dartmouth House in Mayfair, which is where I now meet clients instead of in a High Street coffee shop.

It’s all about the packaging.

I love a little two-seater convertible. In corporate life, my company car was an MGF. Eventually, I leased one as a freelancer (it was an extremely good day when I realised I could afford it). Later, I drove an MX5 – and, oh, how I loved that.

But a few clients made snarky comments such as: “Oh, I see where my fees are going.”

This is unfair. Where do they think their fees are going? Of course their fees pay for my mortgage, my car, my holidays… and my food, and my electricity, and the clothes on my back. Client fees are the only income I have.

If I am seen to drive a beaten-up old banger, prospects will think I’m not successful so can’t be very good at what I do. If I drive a flashy sports car, they’ll think I overcharge. The car I drive now is a brand new Seat Ibiza FR. It’s sporty enough to satisfy my need for speed, but in the right kind of price bracket to match my brand positioning.

Because it’s all about the packaging.

An image consultant has advised me on the best shapes and colours to wear.

JacketWhen I speak or train, I dress one level higher than my audience. So I might wear a bright colour, or my ‘rockstar’ jacket. This is to help me stand out on stage and in photos, and to get me noticed when I’m mingling before and after the talk.

I also ensure I bother with full make-up, and have my hair and nails done.

I wish I didn’t have to, but it’s all about the packaging.

What this means to you…

Spelling mistakes reflect badly on you. They make your business seem unprofessional. Badly written copy doesn’t do justice to your brand, your product or your service. Missing key marketing tricks means you’re missing potential sales.

As soon as you can afford it, it’s wise to invest in the visuals and copy that will package your message well.

And when something is well packaged, the perceived value is higher.

For help with this, give me a call.

P.S. You might also like this video summary, made using Lumen5 by AppSumo.

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