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The Halo Effect for Business

The Halo Effect is a phenomenon that describes the tendency for people to assume that because someone or something has a certain quality, that person must have other, unrelated qualities. This concept can be applied to a variety of areas in life and is especially important when it comes to leaving impressions through appearance.

A research study conducted in 1968 by Rosenthal and Jacobson discovered that teachers “generally develop expectations for their students based not merely on the school record but also on their physical appearance.” The results indicated that the teachers’ expectations concerning the child’s academic future were significantly associated with the child’s attractiveness or presentation.


Another study, in the workplace, by Parrett (2015) examined the impact of beauty on earnings based on the tipping data of restaurants in Virginia. It was discovered that more attractive servers earned over a thousand dollars more annually than their counterparts considered less attractive. It was concluded that the appearance of the servers created other positive qualities in the customer’s mind, although they were unrelated attributes.

From school to the workplace, your appearance plays a significant role in how others perceive you and your skills. Clearly, it is wise to take advantage of this by optimizing your self-image to influence how others will judge you and your work. In an increasingly digital world, your online image has an exponentially increasing level of importance in influencing your progress in life.


The British Royals have gone by the adage “never complain, never explain” over many years, thought to date back to the early 19th Century. The idea behind this was to retain the mystique and dignity of royalty, and to be associated with certain values even if their private actions were in stark contrast. Once members of the family broke this unwritten rule, the veil was removed, and they could no longer get any benefit from the Halo Effect.

First supported with empirical evidence by Edward Thorndike almost a hundred years ago, the Halo Effect is a well-defined mental shortcut that everyone is susceptible to. So, why not use this fact to your advantage by taking your online appearance to the next level? By presenting yourself in the most confident, presentable, and professional way, people are more likely to see you as a credible authority, respected and trusted. It’s said that looks are only skin deep, however ask any celebrity, politician or successful business and they will explain that in the eye of the audience, perception is everything.


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