A motivational pastor, with no car at the time, once told me something about packaging. If he was attending a conference with potential for networking, he would get off the public bus, walk close to the venue, and clean up the tip of his shoes before going in. “That is where they always look at, to know if you walked or drove,” he said. Elegant dressing would not successfully disguise poverty if a familiar sheen was missing on the shoes.
Yet such disguise can sometimes fail, lack refusing to be pimped into a fine print: great dressing can been marred by a skin lacking vitality. Or by the lack of social grace needed to pull off the pretended elitism. Like how labels on designer wear can be considered tacky.
Gucci, for instance, has products without the famous insignia. Simple-looking yet exotic. Some people with especially old money, who buy designer brands like we all buy regular stuff, don’t want the labels screaming down from their bodies. It’s like being a walking advertisement. So when they see someone with a rash of labels on the suitcase, shoes, shirt, trousers, etc., they recognize someone trying so hard to say something. The point being that packaging can sometimes achieve the opposite impression depending on who is looking.
In a way, we all “package,” to a larger or lesser degree—and that’s fine. Social media compels a certain sense of projection. A strange space, it is bursting with CEO profiles as job centers remain crowded. From Instagram, Linked-In to Twitter, there is this growing conspiracy of success. The other day I was asking a marketer proposing a business package: since everyone knows a picture is enhanced, the profile and its claims exaggerated, what’s the point packaging still? Is it not better to sell ourselves just the way we are, neither short nor more? He says I’m old-fashioned; I even learnt there actually are jet companies that offer their planes as photo studio without the client flying—for a good fee. The matter long.