June 8

What If The Wicked Witch Wore A Leather Jacket?


A few weeks ago I attended an exhibition at The Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts. On display were costumes from famous Hollywood movies of the past century. It was a beautiful layout of outfits worn in movies such as Indiana Jones, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and Ben Hur.

Next to each costume was a small sign describing what made the costume so unique or interesting.

I glanced at a few of the costumes and thought they were interesting.

As I walked through the exhibit and read the signs, however, it became clear just how important those costumes were to the overall legacy of the movie.

Imagine if Indiana Jones had a bow and arrow instead of a whip.

Imagine his fedora was a cowboy hat.

What if Harry Potter wore horn-rimmed glasses instead of round, wire ones? What if he wore a baseball cap?

The costumes that characters wear influence the way we perceive them. They help shape whether we like and relate to a character or find them unique in some way.

If Indiana Jones had a bow and arrow he wouldn’t have been nearly as cool. And a cowboy hat might have made him seem grandiose or foolish.

Likewise, Harry would have seemed too bookish or dorky with horn-rimmed glasses. And a baseball cap would have been way too American.

Did you know your business has costumes as well?

And they influence your buyer as subtly as the outfits of a film character influence the moviegoer.

All throughout your company you have little things in the background that welcome or repel your customers. Look around and see what you find when your eyes fall on:

  • The furniture in your lobby
  • Your work clothes
  • Your logo
  • The homepage of your website
  • The slide layout of your sales presentation
  • The first thing your client receives from you after a purchase
  • Your email font
  • Your headshot
  • Your product packaging
  • Your invoices

These are just a few of the backgrounds that influence how your customer sees you.

  1. Do all of these things represent the image you want the customer to have of you?
  2. Do all of these things fit together? (If not, it’s a bit like the wicked witch showing up in a leather jacket – it just wouldn’t fit into the movie at all)
  3. Do all of these things reflect your core values to your clients?

If they do, congratulations! You are one of the few companies who really get it!

If there is a disconnect in your costuming, put a few tasks on your list to clean them up. If that sort of thing isn’t your superpower, then hire an expert to help you. If you need a referral, let me know. I know some great people.


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