Have you ever noticed that the packaging for Apple products is simply beautiful? I hate to throw these things away – its obvious great attention and time goes into each one. Steve Jobs personally spent time on the design of the packaging for the iPhone, believing that it set the tone for the experience. He put his own stamp onto every facet of the product so that there was intention behind every aspect of it.
“They ‘do’ judge a book by its cover.” -Steve Jobs
Everybody utilizes first impressions to make judgements. Patients ascribe (or ‘impute’) characteristics to their therapist based on the packaging. Can we intentionally design the patient’s first impression to create confidence that we can solve their problem? I suggest that how we appear and how we dress plays a role in patient confidence, and thus in our ultimate outcome with that patient.
How do we want to be perceived? I think patient’s for the most part don’t really know where to put us in the hierarchy of healthcare professionals. What style of dress gives the best impression? Is it different for different people? There has been a little bit of research in this area, but nothing all that definitive and it seems obvious to me that setting makes a difference. Interestingly, this research did not include the style I would choose for men in outpatient settings (dress shirt no tie).
‘Scrubs’ – I loved that show. Have you washed those recently?
‘The Coach’ – Are physical therapists like really smart personal trainers? Hey – P.T. – the initials are the same!
‘The Golfer’ – Are physical therapists like athletic trainers? I had one of those in high school.
‘Business Casual’ – Nice shirt! Is that stain from massage lotion?
‘The Coat and Tie’ – Did you just come from the bank? Is that tie uncomfortable?
’The White Coat’ – Are physical therapists like physicians?
What kind of ‘packaging’ sends the best message in your opinion? I’d love to discuss it with you below and we’ll be #browdering on twitter as well.