Halo effect in Project Management

The halo effect has a close relationship with marketing. Marketing is the number one field where halo effect is successfully used.

Halo effect simply explains the biasness showed by customers to certain products or services based on some favourable or pleasant experience with some other products or services offered by the same manufacturer.

Let’s take an example. Apple introduced the iPod some years ago and it was creative in its functions and design. Apple iPod introduced a gateway to novel thinking and extremely eye-pleasing experience for iPod users.

The positive perception about Apple’s iPod then had a positive effect on other Apple products. With the introduction of iPod, Apple noticed a high demand and increased sales for rest of their products.

This is again common in the automotive industry. An automaker may introduce a halo vehicle in order to create positive perception of their products in the hope of increasing sales of their other vehicle models as well. The halo cars are mostly sports cars that are mostly related to eye-pleasing designs, superior performance, and technology.

Reverse of Halo Effect:

Halo effect has its drawbacks as well. Although one halo product can make a huge difference in sales, one bad product can also ruin the reputation of an entire company. This is the reverse of halo effect.

Toyoto Prius, the hybrid car, is one of the best examples of reverse halo effect in the recent times. Toyota is usually considered as the best quality car manufacturer in Japan.

But recently, an issue cropped up with the latest Prius model where, it had a fauly accelerator pad. Due to this issue, Prius gas padel could jam once pressed hard and could lead to accidents as well. Once this was uncovered by a few customers, Toyota recalled thousands of Prius cars to replace the faulty gas padel.

The issue did not stop there. Customers then started noticing similar problems, not essentially related to the gas padels, in other, more established models, where there were no issues reported earlier. This is an incident describing reverse halo effect.

Unconscious Judgements:

Halo effect is best described using the concept of unconscious judgement. When we judge something, we may run through an analysis and critical thinking. But, there is part of judgement which is done unconsciously. We are not consciously aware of this judgement process. This is why we cannot explain why we are attracted to certain products from certain companies more than the same products from other companies.

Halo Effect in a our professional life:

The biggest usage of halo effect may not be marketing area, but it is in our daily life. One good project and the project manager is made the hero of the system, on the other side one bad one would have made the project manager get banished for life. He / she falls from grace.

Think how we get haoled when a developer does an excellent job, sits over night completes the project, goes out of the way and helps the customer / client. This guy becomes the star of the system, He is the current flavour. Now image a few months later, the same system develops major issues and crashes, What will happen to our dear friend?

This concept of halo effect is due to a few elements in any organization who tend to sway the opinion about any individual. I still feel threatened when I am delivering a training workshop, as after 23 years also, one is always under the radar.

It time that we stop this approach of judging people in any organization, A classic case in current times is MS Dhoni, Indian Cricket Team caption, when we won the world cup, he was the son that every mother wanted to have, he was Mr. Perfect, and then in a space of 8 months, when we lost to England and Australia, Dhoni’s head was on the call, Come again 1 week ago, when he hit 224 runs in the match, He was the HERO. 

Conclusion:

The halo effect is one of the best tools for marketing. Marketing concepts and strategies employ the halo effect in order to get the best results when it comes to promoting products and services.

Although a halo product or a service is used for making a positive impact on a customer’s mind in order to sell rest of the goods or services, sometimes other techniques are also used. One of the popular tricks is to use ‘go green’ or ‘save environment’ themes to create a positive perception among the customers.

The pleasent experience the customer may have with such campaigns maybe useful for selling more products and services to them.

Athough halo effect is useful and advantageous for businesses, it is not quite beneficial for the end customers. Judging a product or service by some other product or service from the same manufacturer may mislead them in their buying process.

In such cases, people you do not assess the pros and cons of the product or the service they want to buy. Instead they allow the perceptions to influence their buying decision.

Hope the Halo effect will be contained and retained only for products as sold and would not be applied to individuals in an organization.

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