The ‘Halo Effect’ and You

We’re not talking about Microsoft’s video game series.  The halo effect refers to a bias that people demonstrate towards one product or brand based on another product or brand.

Let’s look at the iPod.  Apple’s omnipresent music/video player merged into the iPhone over the years.  But when iPods started to get popular it opened a whole new world to people who used to describe themselves as “I’m a PC.”  Now, more of those consumers are considering a Mac or some other Apple product that they never would have thought of purchasing before.  All thanks to the halo effect.

Consumers had such great experiences with the iPod (after all it’s easy to use and has a great platform: iTunes) that they now broadened their computer horizons and considered Macs.  Their BlackBerry and other smart phones were now also at risk to Apple’s iPhone, the new category killer.  Apple, once a niche brand, was now an aspirational brand.  All thanks to the halo effect.

So what does this have to do with building a personal brand?

You want to make your brand aspirational in nature like Apple.  Which is to say, create demand around your product (read: yourself).  Utilizing the halo effect, you can associate yourself with brands, products, and other organizations–all of which can improve people’s perceptions of your brand (again, you).

Look at your Facebook ‘Like and Interests’ section.  What do you have listed there?  There are probably some brands, or products that you actually like (in real life) that you haven’t noted on your Facebook profile.  Consequently, you might “Like” the group Procrastinators Anonymous (by the way, nothing is anonymous on Facebook) and that would probably have a negative effect on your brand.  After all, who wants to hire someone who admittedly puts things off?

On Twitter, check out your followers. Who are you following that is worth re-tweeting?  When you re-tweet something you are practicing the halo effect.  Associating yourself with a highly thought of source of information by re-tweeting it is a way of producing the halo effect to your followers

So…what brands, products, and organizations do you “Like” on Facebook now? Would you have any issue with sharing those with your potential employer?  What would you cut, and what would you add?  On Twitter, have you been re-tweeting other user’s tweets?  If so, what were they?  Again, any issue showing that to your next boss?

In my first post, we looked at what brands you trusted.  These would make great associations to make online most likely.  In my second post, we looked at how your tone of voice could affect how people thought of you, and now, we just looked at the different associations we make online and how they can help us build our brands.  We’re well on our way to building a strong personal brand.


Jonathan has broad ranging experience and currently works in eMarketing at Thomson Reuters in the Twin Cities area.  He is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University where he majored in Marketing.  Prior to returning to Thomson Reuters, where he had an internship during college, he worked for Expedia in an account management role for their North American lodging business. Jonathan is an avid enthusiast of all things marketing, economics, and travel. And, he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@jonathanpetrino), LinkedIn, and his website.

Related posts:

  1. Social Networks and Your Job Search (Part 3)
  2. Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search
  3. Personal Branding: Enron

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