Imagine Hugh Grant. He seems a nice guy, always playing in romantic movies, he seems to be a romantic heart, a person every woman would want to have. You imagine that he must be a generous guy, a trustworthy loving husband who would be the perfect man for a woman. But the reality is quite different. Ηe cheated on his previous wife, and he has a, not so quite stable personal life, changing women, leaving babies etc. So now you believe he must be a horrible buy. Not quite yet. The reality is that we don’t know. You don’t know. If you are not someone very close to him, his father, his best friend, you do not know a lot of things about him. We were making assumptions, based on his career, based on his kind face and the roles he was playing, about his personality. This is what called the halo effect.
What we believe
We tend to think that if someone is kind or good-looking, he must be good at his work, or other good aspects could attribute to the person’s personality, maybe funny or clever. The same applies to products. Ιf a company produces an amazing product we think that this could be the occasion for the other products of this company. For example when Apple released the iPod, and it became mainstream, the sales of all the other Apple products increased, people thought that all the other products were good too.
What is the reality
The truth is that we cannot make any judgment about a person by one characteristic. We can’t infer what this person could be, depending on one piece of, a lot of the times, ambitious information. And I say ambitious because in a small meeting it is too early to judge someone as kind, this might be a play on his/her part. But even if someone is kind, it doesn’t mean anything about his/her characteristics, like being charitable. The same goes for products and companies. If a product of α company is amazing, it doesn’t mean that all the other products that this company is going to release are going to be awesome too.
How it works
Halo effect is the tendency to make inferences from one trait of a person, a company or a product, about other traits of them. We use global characteristics like how attractive is someone, to make conclusions about more specific characteristics, such as generosity or kindness.
How to avoid it
When you are seeing a person you just met, do not be too hasty to judge him, do not make estimations about the person’s character from the first impression, try to evaluate the aspects of the character that are you are interested in. Even for people you previously met, try to figure out, if you have actually found evidence about their characters, or you have only made some deductions based on your first impressions.
When you are going to vote, make an analysis of the candidates, what they have previously done, are they able to deliver depending on their past? What is their program? Do you agree with their program? The fluency in speech and “clean face” is not a factor in their other abilities.
As far as companies are concerned, when you are going to make a call about buying something, do some research, is this the product any good comparing to other from other brands. Volkswagen may have manufactured an amazing model of a car, but that doesn’t make necessary that all the other cars it produces are good.
And always remember do not judge a person by its look!!
How to gain from it
Know your good points as a person and try to show them. Try to make a good first impression to other people, to be more easy to convince them about your points. This can give you points in some job interview, or in an important meeting. But pay attention, do not be an impostor, do not play another person than you really are, maybe on the short term you will gain something, but on the long run you will get caught, plus it is unethical.
Finally, if you are building a product or company, try to put on the front line the best of your products or services, make a strong brand with them, and then do the opposite we said previously on how to avoid the halo effect, try to sell your other products too. Of course, you should continue building amazing products, because even the halo effect can have an end, but if you keep on doing a good job, you can create a snowball and on the long term reach much higher targets.