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What's In An Image

Ernest Dichter (Member of the American Psychological Association, American Marketing Association, American Management Association and American Sociological Association)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 1 January 1985



The concept of “image” can be applied to a political candidate, a product, a country. It describes not individual traits or qualities, but the total impression an entity makes on the minds of others. It is a most powerful influence in the way people perceive things, and should be a crucial concept in shaping our marketing, advertising, and communications efforts. Thus, more attention must be paid to the overall impression, the “melody,” of an advertising or marketing campaign, rather than to its specific claims. An image is not anchored in just objective data and details. It is the configuration of the whole field of the object, the advertising, and, most important, the customer's disposition and the attitudinal screen through which he observes. A politician who suddenly starts wearing glasses can radically change his impression on others. Wearing dark glasses will do so even more. Yet he remains the same person. It is his aura, his image, that people have reacted to. By the same token, repackaging a product that has been on the market for decades can make it seem “young” again. The product hasn't changed, but its image has.


Dichter, E. (1985), "What's In An Image", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 75-81.




Copyright © 1985, MCB UP Limited

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