The rich know that value is perceived in relation to presentation and packaging

New entrepreneurs often severely underestimate the value of good packaging. I call this neglecting the ribbon. Putting a proverbial ribbon around your product makes the experience of buying anything from you exponentially more enjoyable. It elevates perceptions of your standards, permitting you to charge more.

Presentation is a big part of the impression you create for your brand, and different perceptions affect how much you can charge and earn. Perceptions apply to everything. In a corporate company, you are more likely to advance, and be paid more, if you are well groomed, well dressed, and present yourself with a winning energy and confident bearing. The office slob is simply not a good bet for promotion.

As you become your own boss, potential customers – as opposed to a pay cheque – become your source of income. They react just as strongly to your presentation – not only your personal presentation, but the story told by your visual cues.

Have you ever noticed that a Mercedes workshop looks very different from the premises of Joe’s Mechanical Services? Mercedes, and other high-level brands, understand that presenting themselves to the world as premium and high-end makes a huge difference to their income.

When Mercedes services your car, not only do you not sit on a greasy bench beside an old copy of Playboy, but they even add theatrical touches like a cappuccino with the Mercedes logo drawn into the foam as you sit in the pristine client-service area.

The employees are trained differently, too. At Joe’s, the mechanic scratches whatever is itching while disinterestedly handing you a greasy bill. At Mercedes, even the cleaning staff have been trained to greet you.

Image, perceptions and packaging are not nice-to-haves. They are a wealth imperative. They overcome arguments about credibility. They prove, even more than your basic competence, that you are worth it. I know of at least one person whose business continually struggles, which I believe to be based entirely on his refusal to add ribbons. I believe that his ‘it’ll do’ approach is the primary reason for his poverty.

Volumes of books have been written about branding and presentation. For our purposes, I simply want you to become aware of how high-end businesses introduce themselves to you visually. Take a look at the branded stationery of a premium hotel. Notice how expensive clothing and jewellery stores use light and open spaces, whereas cheaper stores cram as much product as they can into the small space available. Some truly top-of-the-range fashion outlets will have only one or two items under a spotlight, surrounded by swathes of open room, instead of shelf upon shelf of bundled goods.

Display communicates. Every visual cue says something about how seriously you take your business and about how much you’re worth.

Digital cues, like websites, videos and photos, speak volumes about you, announcing to the world in no uncertain terms whether you are a cheap mom-and-pop operation or the Cartier of your industry.

Whether you are climbing the ladder in a company or running one yourself, take your packaging and presentation extremely seriously. Study the successful businesses and leading brands. Learn why they get to be expensive.


Poverty mindset: It’ll do. 

Wealth mindset: Does this say Gucci? And could the lighting be better?


Douglas Kruger is a business author and professional speaker. See him in action, or read his articles, at Douglas’s books, including ‘Is Your Thinking Keeping You Poor? 50 Ways the Rich Think Differently,’ are available at Exclusive Books, Estoril, CNA, and as ebooks from


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