According to Birdwell (2008), image of a business is a major factor that influences the behavior of customers. The quantity of a product demanded from a particular business depends heavily on its public image. In marketing, one of the problems experienced by researchers is the understanding of why people prefer to consume a specific product from a list of close substitutes (Birdwell, 2008, p. 35). Managements of different companies have worked hard to improve the quality of their brands but the customers have failed to respond as expected. In addition, innovative entrepreneurs have been disappointed by minimal or no demand of their products in the market. Reports from experts indicate that business image is one of the factors that have contributed to failure of some brands in the market (Birdwell, 2008, p. 36).
According to Whetherly (2010), for a manager to have good relations with the clients and business colleagues, s/he needs to do more than just presenting his/her case. It is important for a business person to have a professional personal contact to coordinate people with elegance and ease, in all aspects. This elusive quality is only possessed by a few (Whetherly, 2010, p. 10). Image has a significant impact on personal value and leadership. This is because it builds more on an individual’s personality (Birdwell, 2008, p. 36).
The outward representation of a person or thing in drawing or in a sculpture communicates to the outside world about that person or thing (Harod, 2002, p. 75). It is the tendency of people to feel attracted to good looking images. Good adverts for a certain product attract a large number of customers (Qin, 2009, p. 29). This is advantageous to the business since the sales volume increases as well. This has the effect of increasing the profits for the benefit of shareholders. In addition, customers are satisfied with the products or services they get from such a business. Having a good image is not only determined by the brands of products and pictures portrayed in adverts. Reputation of management and other members of staff in a business contribute to the building of the business image (Blythe & Zimmerman, 2005, p. 292). The quality of services offered to the customers also reflects the business image.
According to Whetherly (2010), international business organizations that have succeeded in global markets have approached image consultants for advice on the kinds of images to use on their brands. These include Barclays Bank plc, P&O, IBM, ExxonMobil, Nokia, Aon Consulting, B&Q, Cable & Wireless and PWC (Whetherly, 2010, p. 1). These organizations conduct business in different parts of the World including the United Kingdom. The use of good attracting images designed by experts has contributed significantly to their success.
According to Norwood (2010), places with good images in the United Kingdom continue to attract investors. These investors have perceptions that consumers will be attracted to the good looking environments. Examples of these places include Kent, Milton Keynes, Exeter, Aberdeenshire, Corby, Yorkshire market towns, Basingstoke, Oxford, Newport and Central Birmingham (Norwood, 2011, para 1). Good images have positive impact on business since they attract more customers. Moreover, the images build more on the confidence of consumers on the brands of the company.
Image as Prejudice
According to Humphry (2011), society in the United Kingdom has built pressure on people to conform to certain standards of beauty. Women are advised to be thin with related prejudice against overweight people in the society. There are many people living on earth and each person has his/her own uniqueness in personality, color, features and size (Humphrey, 2011, p. 1). In addition, some people are big, some are small, others are boys, others are girls, some are dark and some are fair. This implies that every person in the world is unique in a way. The small percentage of people in the media therefore creates prejudice by explaining that good looking people should portray certain images (Humphrey, 2011, p. 1).
According to Abrams (2011), prejudice is a bias that degrades some people based on perceptions that they belong to a certain social group in the society. In the intergroup context prejudice refers to the ways in which people in a certain social group view others from different social groups. In the United Kingdom, the image portrayed about overweight people is prejudice (Abrams, 2011, p. 4). Images have been drawn in magazines and newspapers in the United Kingdom to show that people should conform to certain standards of beauty.
Before the 20th century, North Americans and Europeans had interests in larger women since they appeared healthier and stronger (Humphrey, 2011, p. 2). However in the modern world, thinness is the most admired trait and people want to be thin. Statistics shows that 80% of people in the United Kingdom including the 11 year olds want to be thin (Humphrey, 2011, p. 2). This has resulted to stigmatization of the overweight people.
In the United Kingdom and North America, obesity is considered as one of the social prejudices. At the age of six years, children have already started to relate obesity with stupidity, laziness and unworthiness (Humphrey, 2011, p. 3). Pictures have been drawn to show that thin women have the figure that a beautiful woman should portray (Brontė & Francis, 2009, p. 7). This has separated people in to different social classes within the societies of the United Kingdom. Thin women have high self esteem (Heatherton, 2003, p. 174).
The fat and the overweight persons have been stigmatized which has isolated them from the society (Kennedy & Markula, 2010, p. 85). People do not want to be associated with the overweight which has separated the community in to groups of the thin, the medium sized and the overweight. This has increased enmity among the people in the societies of the United Kingdom.
According to Chall (2003), the image of a person has an impact on his/her personality in the society. In addition, people have clear understanding of their outlook and appearance in the society. Images of thin people in magazines and books have created social groups in the United Kingdom (Chall, 2003, p. 112). Spread of the prejudice is based on failure of people to understand that every person is unique in one way or the other.
Statistics shows that 80% of women in the United Kingdom dislike their bodies (Humphrey, 2011, p. 4). In addition, dieting has become a major issue among 90% women of all ages in the United Kingdom. This has created perceptions that overweight women eat too much and hence their condition. This has increased hatred among people thereby creating different social classes.
Psychological effects of Image
According to Lockwood (2009), self image is an integral part in sexuality and psyche of a person. The way people see themselves affect their feelings and actions for example if a person feels “ugly” it would be difficult for her to give response to overtures of affection (Lockwood, 2009, p. 209). Psychologists have found that treatment of some diseases for example breast cancer has significant impact on the image of women. The scars left after surgery reminds women of what cancer have done to their bodies and lives. This makes them to feel less self-confident and unattractive (Lockwood, 2009, p. 210).
According to Javidi and Okano (2002), images that are stereoscopic have a stronger sense of reality based on the depth of information they give. People have developed perceptions that 3-D images provide deep information than 2-D images (Javidi & Okano, 2002, p. 7). This has increased the confidence of scientists who use 3-D images in their presentations. On the other hand, the scientists who use 2-D images in their presentations feel less confident and defeated. This implies that images affect the psychology of people in all fields whether humanities, social sciences or technological fields.
According to Russell (2012), horror movies disgust and also inspire terror to the viewers. The adults are able to tolerate the images in horror movies but children are affected psychologically. This is mainly because their minds are not fully developed and therefore they cannot differentiate between reality and fiction (Russell, 2012, para 1). Images from horror movies create disturbances in the minds of children which further evokes violence. Other images may cause sleeplessness or facilitate development of phobias for example a child may fear to sleep in dark rooms or very quiet environments. Moreover, other images can cause autism and fainting incidences.
According to Manome (2011), image reflects the natural color in the modern world. Manome further expresses that color contains a lot of information in an image. The color of images have different psychological effects in the lives of people for example these effects have been used to determine the colors used on road signs. In addition, psychological effects of colors of images have been used to determine the colors used in rooms and magazines or newspapers (Manome, 2008, p. 1).
People associate some colors with danger, others with happiness, and others with nature depending on the image that the colors put in their minds. This is a reflection of psychological effects for example the Red color is associated with danger, Green is associated with nature while white is associated with happiness (Manome, 2008, p. 2). This explains why people are selective when they choose the colors of their business premises, adverts, clothes and gifts. They associate certain colors of images with their psychological effects to the people. Colors have effects on emotional processing of information in the minds of people (Patrick, 2006, p. 95). Movie producers and publishers of magazines and newspapers understand the psychological impacts of images in the minds of people. This determines why they use some images and colors for the background and specific colors for some scenes to capture the minds of people.
Physical effects of image
Images have physical effects on people for example anorexia. According to Rumney (2009), anorexia is a mental illness in which a person starves willfully to remain thin. Anorexia ranks the third of the chronic illnesses that are affecting the teenage girls (Halse, Honey, & Boughtwood, 2008, p. 15). Emotional feelings, hunger and fatigue are major symptoms of anorexia (Rumney, 2009, p. 16). The teenage girls and other young people in the society are affected by anorexia in their attempts to have bodies similar to those of celebrities.
Images in the televisions, magazines and movies show thin women as the preferred characters and beauty consultants. In addition, the fat women are advised to undertake exercises and diet controls to become thin (Trudeau, 2006, p. 56). This has facilitated development of anorexia among the teenage girls in the United Kingdom in fear of gaining more weight. This problem is also developing in other parts of the world and soon it will become a global problem.
Women have developed perceptions that being fat is being “ugly” to the extent that overweight women are discriminated by the society. Women at all ages have also started a program of becoming thin by undertaking physical exercises and controlling their diet habits. In addition, some women have reduced their working hours to attend gyms with the ultimate aim being reduction of body weights.
According to Sharp (2011), images determine the physical gains that a woman can enjoy in a day. An experiment was conducted to test how the physical appearance of a woman affected her probability of getting free services and commodities such as cab drives and ice creams. The woman dressed in two different ways to test which of the two ways was pleasant to the public. The research revealed that the woman received more free services when she conformed to the standards of beauty from a feminine approach (Sharp, 2011, p.1). The images were published in a magazine to advice women on how their bodies should look like. This created perceptions that fat women were undesirable in the society and as such they should react to their condition. This increased the number of people with anorexia. There was also increase in the number of women in the gyms to cut weights.
Domestic violence has also increased in homes especially when the men talk to their women about the issue of losing weight (Olds & London, 2004, p. 84). Most of the women may feel as if their husbands do not appreciate their looks and femininity. This may facilitate development of low self esteem and violence in homes. The men can also consider having mistresses if their wives do not have the thin bodies. They are accused of promiscuity which further increases domestic violence in homes. It has also led to marriage break ups in some societies. Images of all forms have an implication in any society and therefore measures should be taken to avoid the negative physical effects. Parents have punished their children for portraying images that are displayed in the media especially if such images are associated with immoral characters in the society. These may include the images that show membership to a gang group, use of a certain drug or following a certain religion or cult.
Pros and Cons of use of Image in a Society
According to Aubert and Kornprobst (2006), society can be described as an information society or an image society. The image is a tool of communication that can be understood by many people. In addition, the image presents a simplified way of explaining the features of the physical world (Lew, Sebe, & Eakins, 2002, p. 101). In schools, teachers make use of images to explain concepts to the learners in a simplified way. In the medical, field, the use of images started in the early days through devices such as scanners, ultrasounds and X-rays to increase efficiency of medical services (Aubert & Kornprobst, 2006, p. 1).
According to Ruby (2000), images have been used to represent the cultures of different communities in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. Images are used by designers to advice people on the dress codes of certain seasons depending on their culture (Ruby, 2000, p. 178). In addition, images are used to distinguish between the brands of closely related products through trade marks (Weitz & Wensley, 2002, p. 158). A certain company has a specific image that is used by its customers as the trade mark in the market. The use of such image by another business entity is illegal.
According to Campilho (2010), the use of images on roads is inevitable for safety of travelers. Images relay certain information that determines the actions taken by drivers while on the roads. This minimizes probability of accidents in the roads to save human life. Road signs have different images and colors depending on the kind of information they contain. The importance of information contained in the road signs is that any one who can see can understand even if they cannot hear. High resolution images have been used to increase the efficiency of communication to the road users (Campilho, 2010, p. 420).
According to Carol (2010), images are currently spread at a very high with the increase in use of social networking sites such as the Facebook and Twitter. This has the effect of increasing immorality among the youths in the United Kingdom for example pornographic images in you tube and other sites in the internet facilitate faster spread of immorality among the young people. Funny images in internet and magazines shorten attention span of students in learning institutions, promote narcissism and also lower productivity of workers (Carol, 2011, para 1).
According to Hanson, Venturelli and Fleckenstein (2011), the use of image can increase the number of people vulnerable to drugs in the society. Drug traffickers use some images that are only recognized by the users. This is because their actions are illegal and therefore they use certain images to avoid attention of authorities. It may take a long time before the government authorities understands the essence of a particular image. This promotes usage of drugs especially among the teenagers (Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein, 2011, p. 78).
Hanson, Venturelli and Fleckenstein (2011) developed the labeling theory in which the perceptions that people have on a particular person creates an image of that person in the society. For example people can exaggerate the amount of drug taken by a person which can evoke more use of drugs by that person. Use of images has also facilitated development of disorders such as anorexia in the society (Rumney, 2009, p. 43). This has happened mainly because images have been all over the media that thinness is the style for women. The young teenage girls have therefore restricted themselves from eating which have affected them in a negative manner. Images have also facilitated low self esteem among some people in the society.
Media and Fashion as big promoters of Image
According to Geneva (2008), the media is the channel through which images are spread to most people in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. In addition, the media is relied upon by the young people as the channel that determines the current trends in life. In the recent times, the media has advocated for certain styles to make people fit in the society. For example it has been argued that women should be thin (Ganeva, 2008, p. 98). Images have then been displayed over in televisions, movies newspapers and magazines about this issue. On the other hand, fashion designers have used thin women as models for their products. Movie directors have selected thin women as the characters in the most conspicuous scenes.
People want to be in fashion in order to fit in the current society (Hortulanus, Machielse, & Meeuwesen, 2006, p. 85). This has increased their reliance on the media and fashion houses to determine the new lifestyles. The media and fashion are therefore the avenues that set the image of the society in the United Kingdom. Workers in the media and fashion houses lead as examples by living to the current standards of life. This influences other people in the society hence creating a new image. Celebrities such as David Beckham have inspired people through their bodies and fashion (McBride, 2012, para 1). People relate his success with his fashion.
There are several ways through which media and fashion promotes image in the United Kingdom and other societies in the world. One of the ways is that the media conducts most of advertisements in the United Kingdom (Gallagher, 2001, p. 94). Companies and businesses enterprises use the media to advertise their products. The media channels used include the television, the radio, newspapers and the magazines. This implies that all images that are intended to reach the entire community are spread through the media. The media has experts that advice people on the best of ways of life. The experts are from different fields of specialization for example the health expertise advice people on how to feed. They use images of well fed people and poorly fed. People admire the well fed and therefore they adjust accordingly.
Most of the adverts are presented by celebrities who are the most admired people in the society. These people are highly demanded by the powerful companies to market their brands through advertisement in different media channels such as the television, newspapers and magazines. The image they present is taken positively by the entire community. Celebrities are always dressed in the new fashion (Steele, 2010, p. 127). In addition, their fashion designers advice them on the best images they should present to the public. High profile people consider getting their brands from the best fashion designers to maintain their public image. Fashion therefore promotes image by attracting celebrities and other high profile people in the society. This attracts attention of the people to certain designs of products.
Abrams, D 2011, Process of prejudice: Theory, evidence and intervention. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/
Aubert, G, & Kornprobst, P 2006, Mathematical Problems in Image Processing: Partial Differential Equations And the Calculus of Variations. New York: Springer.
Birdwell, E 2008, A Study of the Influence of Image Congruence on Consumer Choice. Journal of International Business , 27 (3), pp34-56.
Blythe, J, & Zimmerman, AS 2005, Business-to-business marketing management: a global perspective. New York: Cengage Learning EMEA.
Brontė, B, & Francis, P 2009, Jane Eyre. London: Windmill Books.
Campilho, A 2010, Image Analysis and Recognition: 7th International Conference, Iciar 2010, Povoa De Varzim, Portugal, June 21-23, 2010, Proceedings. New York: Springer.
Carol, L 2011, Are social networking sites good for our society? Retrieved April 11, 2012, from http://socialnetworking.procon.org/
Chall, LP 2003, Sociological abstracts, Volume 51, Issue 4. Columbia: Sociological Abstracts.
Gallagher, M 2001, Gender Setting: New Agendas for Media Monitoring and Advocacy. London: Zed Books.
Ganeva, M 2008, Women in Weimar Fashion: Discourses and Displays in German Culture, 1918-1933. Sydney: Camden House.
Halse, C, Honey, A, & Boughtwood, D 2008, Inside Anorexia: The Experiences of Girls and Their Families. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Hanson, GR, Venturelli, PJ, & Fleckenstein, AE 2011, Drugs and Society. Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Harod, P 2002, Arts magazine, Volume 42. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
Heatherton, TF 2003, The Social Psychology of Stigma. New York : Guilford Press.
Hortulanus, RP, Machielse, A, & Meeuwesen, L 2006, Social Isolation in Modern Society. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.
Humphrey, J 2011, Prejudice and Body Image. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/lessons/elementary/body_image/upload/Prejudice-and-Body-Image-Lesson-Kit.pdf
Javidi, B, & Okano, F 2002, Three-Dimensional Television, Video and Display Technology. New York: Springer.
Kennedy, E, & Markula, P 2010, Women and Exercise: The Body, Health and Consumerism. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.
Lew, MS, Sebe, N, & Eakins, JP 2002, Image and Video Retrieval: International Conference, CIVR 2002, London, UK, July 18-19, 2002 : Proceedings. New York: Springer.
Lockwood, S 2009, Contemporary Issues in Women’s Cancers. Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Manome, M 2008, Psychological effects of color and its application to expression of an image. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.bunkyo.ac.jp/faculty/gs-info/thesis/2006/manome-abst-e.pdf
McBride, HC 2012, The Media Told Me I’m Fat! How Celebrity Figures Promote an Unhealthy Body Image. Retrieved April 11, 2012, from http://www.texaseatingdisorders.com/celebrity-unhealthy-body-image.php
Norwood, G 2011, Top 10 places to buy in the UK. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/countiesofbritain/8460572/Top-10-places-to-buy-in-the-UK.html
Olds, SB, & London, ML 2004, Maternal-newborn nursing and women’s health care, Volume 1. London: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Patrick, J 2006, Effects of picture content and intensity on affective physiological response. psychological effects of image , 43 (1), 93–103.
Qin, Z 2009, Introduction to E-Commerce. New York: Springer.
Ruby, J 2000, Picturing Culture: Explorations of Film & Anthropology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Rumney, A 2009, Dying to Please: Anorexia, Treatment and Recovery. McFarland: McFarland.
Russell, S 2012, Psychological Effects of Horror Movie Images on Kids. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.ehow.com/list_6760871_psychological-horror-movie-images-kids.html
Sharp, G 2011, The Effects of Physical Appearance. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/05/30/the-effects-of-physical-appearance/
Steele, V 2010, The Berg Companion to Fashion. Moselle: Berg.
Trudeau, K 2006, Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About. Birmingham: Alliance Publishing Group.
Weitz, BA, & Wensley, R 2002, Handbook of Marketing. New York: SAGE.
Whetherly, L 2010, Omage Impact and Influence in Business. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.northbrookpark.co.uk/file_download/13