What We can Learn from Payless About Personal Brand

personal brand Feb 22, 2019

I was recently thinking about the Payless social experiment that happened late last year. Do you know the one I’m talking about? If not, click here to read about it.

So, it dawned on me that there are a few valuable lessons that we can learn from that experiment.

What I took away is that when it comes to brand, image is everything. But, of course I already knew this.

Payless proved that with the right imagery and packaging, they could sell their $50 shoes for $600 to social media fashion influencers.

(Line to get into the “Palessi” pop-up shop. [via Instagram])

What’s interesting about the experiment is that they didn’t target your regular ‘everyday’ people, but instead they wanted to prove that they could mislead even the most elite fashionistas and taste makers, who are supposed to know the difference between luxury and affordable.

(Fashion influencers at the “Palessi” pop-up. [via Instagram])

What Payless demonstrated is not only true for shoes and products, but also for people.

In the minds of most customers, what’s most important, at least initially, is the perceived value versus the actual value.

If something is ‘expensive’ and it has pretty packaging then it must be more valuable, and therefore worth it. In marketing, this is known as perception pricing.

This can also apply to individuals and their personal brand as well.

When you walk into an interview looking poised, polished, and professional it immediately raises the viewer’s perception of you.

Conversely, if you walk in looking disheveled, outdated, unprepared, or just simply not put together, then you are starting at an immediate deficit and it’s much harder to reverse the initial impression.

We can extend this further to the entrepreneur, who has a tremendous opportunity to leverage his/her image and personal brand to attract potential investors and higher paying clients.

People are often willing to pay more when things look better, and when YOU look better.

I get it. It’s not fair. But let’s face it…it’s reality.

Your website is yet another good example. If your website is outdated and riddled with errors, then people will be more likely to pass you by or take you less seriously. On the other hand, if your website looks modern and well designed, then they will assume that you are premium.

The bottom line is that building a premium brand or creating a premium image can be a tremendous asset to you as a professional, a job seeker, or as a business owner.

I recently had someone volunteer to design a new website for a special project that I am working on with a friend. He told my friend that he would do the website for us complimentary.

However, a day later and after reviewing my website, he changed his tune and told my friend that he needed to charge us. I believe it’s because he perceived me to be running a thriving, high-end business.

In a way it was flattering, but I was bummed that he changed his mind and wanted to charge. 🤨

Investing in your image can result in higher pay.

Redoing your website can convert more visitors to clients.

Putting a little more effort into your appearance can translate to an improved bottom line.

Payless evidenced that image, brand, and packaging does matter. Do you agree? Hit reply and share your thoughts.


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