The old saying says that the clothes don’t make the man. But science might be able to prove that wisdom wrong.
According to a recent study, people who wore expensive clothes from recognizable brands tended to be more confident. The researchers also found a correlation between smart dressers and higher levels of performance.
Of course, it was not the clothes themselves that resulted in a job well done. But the clothes on your back have a significant placebo effect that is hard to ignore.
In the study, researchers told participants that they were using a Nike golf putter when swinging their club. In reality, they were using a generic club. When the participants believed they were holding the same clubs that golf pros like Rory McIlroy uses, their performance improved by around 20%.
Yet, the boost is not all physical. The researchers also gave a math quiz to some participants while the participants wore earplugs. The researchers told them that the earplugs came from 3M and were a high performance variety.
The participant performance on the math quiz improved by 20% when they thought their earplugs were high end.
Basically, this study proves that your lucky suit or lucky glove is not lucky per say. But these items might really have the boost on your performance that you believe they do. That’s good news
Frank Germann, an assistant professor at Notre Dame who worked on the study, said “when you think that you have this performance brand, you have higher-state self-esteem. As a result, you feel better and your self-confidence is elevated at a certain task. In turn, you’re less anxious, and because of that, you’re performing better.”
That means, if you’re going on a work trip any time suit, it would be a good idea to pack your favorite suit, because you’ll get much more out of a conference or networking event if you do.
Great Marketing Performance
The products themselves don’t just have an effect on how you feel about yourself. In fact, the brand power alone can change the way you think and act.
In another study performed at Duke University and published in 2008, researchers found that people’s exposure to logos may cause people to change their behavior. The behavior changers are based on the traits they associate with the brand attached to the logo.
In the study, participants were asked to complete a task after seeing to an Apple logo or an IBM logo. Those who saw the Apple logo completed the task with a creative flair compared to those exposed to the IBM logo.
Apple ran a now infamous “Think Differently” marketing campaign in the late 1990s. It featured advertisements that included prominent creative figures like Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Jim Henson and John Lennon.
It helped prominently position Apple against established companies and made IBM look like a dinosaur.
The “Think Differently” campaign would go on to cause viewers to associate Apple with genius and creativity.
Similarly, participants exposed to the Disney Channel television logo behaved more honestly than those who viewed the E! Entertainment channel logo.
The innocence of Mickey Mouse likely had a strong impact on those who saw the logo. This was especially true in comparison to the channel best known for hosting the Kardashian clan.
The strange thing about the change in these behaviors was that the change was automatic. People weren’t thinking about them and they weren’t shown the emotive advertisements. They reacted to the images in real time and adjusted themselves according to their perceptions of the brand.
A Real Placebo Effect
Through these studies, science is telling people what they already know. A great outfit or product is like social armor. The right item can make you feel empowered, confident, humble, smart or strong. The closer your attachment is to it, the stronger your feelings will be.
So don’t deny yourself the flashy tie or Jimmy Choo heels. If you associate them with positivity and success, these items may help bring it to you in spades.