Friday, July 30, 2010


Meet the “Man your man could smell like”. That’s the new viral-video that’s clearly broken all previous viral-video records. It features Isaiah Mustafa who has now achieved a pop-icon status. Since the time this man showed the ladies how their man could “smell” like him, even though they didn’t “look” like him, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has been “smelling” money in every market. After the viral-video produced by Wieden & Kennedy hit the Internet, the P&G brand Old Spice has been constantly gaining market share. The viral showed in an interesting tongue-in-cheek manner how anything is possible when you smell right. It may sound a little over the top, but it’s a fact – when you smell right, dress right, you have higher chances of success!

Carmine Gallo, a popular communications expert once had the chance to interview Commander Matt Eversmann. He was the military hero who led his troops into battle in Somalia in 1993, and he also inspired the movie Black Hawk Down. Gallo asked him, “What’s the secret of leadership?” Eversmann answered: “It starts with how a leader wears his uniform.” That’s not a “mantra” or “gyan” many would give about leadership. However, as Eversmann said, his whites were whiter than his subordinates’, his clothes were better ironed, his shoes shinier! That’s where leadership starts.

You never get a record chance
Great leaders, if you thought, were about great speeches, great deeds, then think again. A lot depends on that “something” which happens even before you get a chance to speak. Many a time you find someone very lively and enthusiastic and you assume he is smart, likable and successful – without any proof of him being any of those things. It’s called the ‘halo effect’. A person who complains might be viewed as boring, negative, cynical, unsociable. It’s called the ‘horns effect’. That’s the way we perceive things around us. The sad part is that you never get a second chance to create that first impression, that ‘halo or horn’ effect. People size you up and decide whether they will like you or not on the basis of first impressions which are formed in – hold your breath – three to four seconds. Yes, even before you utter a word (forget about delivering a whole speech), even before you do something, chances are that people would have categorised you. Remember telling someone, “He looks like a leader,” even without knowing anything about that ‘leader’?! Dialogues like “She has a positive aura around her,” or “He looks dependable” or “There is something disturbing about him” are often used to judge people. These are nothing but people creating first impressions, which are not just created in a jiffy, but also are nearly impossible to change.

To create that great first impression you need to wear two things: (a) good clothes; (b) a great smile. Look at any great leader, from the various Presidents of America to the heads of corporations and you realise that they all come across as likeable and dependable, depending on the way they carry themselves and the way they smile. The optimism & enthusiasm of their personalities is reflected the moment you see them, and this is an unwritten law – “Leaders always stand out and dress better than their subordinates.” Today, it’s important to know what suits you and fits you the best and makes you look good.

Be it Donald Trump or Arnold Schwarzenegger, each one realised that to be a leader, you need to first look like one. They all dressed best, for a first impression takes just a few seconds to be created and you don’t get a second chance.

Do you look the part?
This man is so famous that people in almost every country have heard about him. A highly educated and qualified man, he was immensely proud of his country. Once he went to see the Queen of England. Anyone else would have dressed in his best suit and tie, but this man decided to wear a ‘dhoti’. You guessed it right – the man was none other than Mahatma Gandhi. He was fighting India’s War of Independence and knew that if he had to win this war, he had to dress like the poorest of the poor of his country and if the Queen wanted to meet him, she had to accept this. She did. The world took notice and soon people were convinced that this man would take India to victory. Every part of this man showed how deeply he believed in the cause he was fighting for. You just had to see him once to realise how committed he was. He looked the part he played.

Born in a Catholic home, and christened Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, this child grew up hearing stories of Catholic missionaries. She was so inspired that she became a nun herself. Mother Teresa went on to help thousands and thousands of the poor of Calcutta. She loved them and wanted to change their world. She even dressed like them in a simple white sari with a blue border. Even when she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, it was in this simple sari that she went to receive her award. She looked the part.

Donald Trump never really cared about the way he dressed. In his book How to Get Rich, he states that very soon he realized his folly and realised that if he had to get rich, he needed to look and behave that way too.

This determined young Indian girl worked as a receptionist from midnight to sunrise while studying in Yale, just so that she could collect $50 to buy a western suit for a job interview. Not well versed with Western wear, the young lady landed up buying a pair of trousers that reached down only to her ankles. Indra Nooyi was rejected. She went back to her professor at Yale who told her to dress like herself. She went for her next interview in a sari and was selected. She had found the “look” that would work for her.

If looks could kill
In today’s very competitive job market, it’s important to “look” your part. A well groomed appearance is as important as having a strong resume. You may have heard of killer looks, but if your looks are not right, they could definitely kill your career.

A well groomed look is simple to achieve – be fit and wear clothes that fit you well. If you dress well, it gives the other person the impression that this occasion was important for you and you put in efforts to look good. When you dress brightly and look happy, you attract attention in a positive way. Trendy dressers come across as young, lively and successful. It’s important to “look” appropriate. Barack Obama looked the right package to bring about change in America. His looks – a black man with a Muslim father – struck a chord with Americans. Making him win gave them a chance to prove once again to the world that this was a country where dreams come true.

So before you put your speech together, before you plan your presentation, check your wardrobe and dress to kill – competition that is! Today, careers, perceptions and images are built in seconds. It’s very important for you to figure out your winning look!


  1. Yes Ma'am,
    Could you have been more right.
    Leaders change the world.
    Leaders are mass opium.
    That is the reason why leaders should be exemplery in behaviour.
    But today we find corruption in leaders of politics and armed forces.
    This is very bad.
    A man with the right values in a wrong society may be perceived with Horn effect.
    So when values change we need to adapt to the new social order.

    Rajeev Vashisht


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