Friday, August 5, 2011



In today’s world, image management is the “in thing”.

Image has replaced Performance.

Personality has replaced Character.

It does not matter who you actually are.

What matters is the image you project of yourself.

Personality Development seems to be more important than Character Building.

Image Management has become an industry. In today’s environment, success does not depend on traditional factors like knowledge, sincerity, hard work, performance etc. It is the superficial image we project that counts and we are judged by what meets the eye.

Image Management plays a role in both your professional and personal life. So whether it is to get a job, to get married or to succeed in your business, everything depends on the first impression you create. Yes, first impression is most important now-a-days. You are judged by your clothes, your turnout, how you look, the way you dress, your grooming, your communication skills, the way you speak, your body language, your etiquette – all these superficial outward aspects play a more important role in creating an impression than your actual inherent character and innate qualities.

I have a contrarian view to all this and feel that it is better to be spontaneous and transparent. In my opinion it is better to act natural, be what your actually are and show the world your true self rather than project a false hyped-up image of yourself just to create good first impressions. If you resort to “image management” by employing the mask of pretence to project an artificial put-on hyped-up image of yourself, you will always be under constant inner stress to keep up appearances. When you live behind a mask you always have the fear of being found out, and the “fear of being found out” is one of the most stressful fears.

For how long can you sustain this image you have projected of yourself?

For how long can you masquerade being someone you are actually not?

You may manage to fake it and keep up appearances in short term relationships, but in the long term, one day the “mask” of mendacity will wear away and will come off and your true self will be revealed.

You may be able to create a fantastic first impression on your first date but can you sustain this image throughout your marriage?

Yes, “image management” may work in short term relationships like dating, social “hail fellow well met” friendships and quick-fix work encounters like in marketing etc but will not sustain you in the long-term in your career, marriage, professional and personal relationships.

Is Image Management desirable in today’s world? What is more important for the youth of today – to develop personality or to build character? Should you put on a mask and fake it, or is it better to be your natural self, as you are ? Should you manipulate and stage-manage your behaviour to suit the environment or should you be your spontaneous self?

Think about it.

Now-a-days image management has become relevant in in cyberspace too, as all of us who use the internet for social and professional networking have a “cyber image” to project and a “cyber reputation” to maintain.

In the next few posts, I will relate to you some examples of “Image Management” I encountered in my personal and professional life. Does image management work? Let’s see where Image Management works and where it ends in disaster, sometimes hilarious.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Saru Singhal said...

It's true and I think social networking websites are responsible for it. We live in a virtual world. Waiting for the next posts.

SuKupedia ™ :) :) said...

I think the whole concept of Image Management is based on the theory of First Impression. Image is the first thing you notice and that is the reason so much stress is given on improving it. Character is something you will have to look for in that person, he cannot show you, because how you behave when no one is watching you is Character and what you show others is Image.

Akhtar said...

I guess, social network helps building right personality that suits the world. Excess of anything is not helpful and so is true for social network website. To my mind, social network is great mechanism to track our own personalities in no time.
However, the two words "cyber image” and “cyber reputation" coined by Vikram Sir are new to me. I'm thinking how the "cyber image" is different than "real image" of a person. In general, to some extent, image of a person gets reflected from their writing style....

Anonymous said...

Lot of people feel that Image Management is a Superficial gloss, probably they do not realize the depth and value of it because they do not know how to go about Managing their own Image.

Image Management is the ongoing, pro-active process of evaluating and controlling the impact of your appearance on you, on others, and the achievement of your goals.
Some people have a natural talent or ability to present themselves appropriately and attractively. Some do not. The good news is that image management skills can be learned, then practiced till they become second nature.
People who cannot manage their Image will be left behind.
Sad but true, People who have know knowledge about Image Management will never be able to appreciate the value of it.

Suman R Agarwal

Tara said...

Not true. Image management is not just about the way you look. It has a lot to do with positivity, communication and an endeavour to be the person that YOU WANT TO BE. If the person you are did not matter, then every woman could become an Angelina Jolie and every man Brad Pitt - just by portraying an image. Why don't they? Well simply because every individual is different and therefore each persons image is different. Twins wearing the same clothes will still project different images.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ on your views, Mr. Karve. Image Management can be a basic necessity for some people, because it takes you ahead of who you are as a person to what you can become. With Image Management all the traditional factors that you mention viz: knowledge, sincerity, hard work, performance,etc. becomes all important for the indi-vidual. Please note that Image Management does not teach you to employ the mask of pretence but; in fact with the help of and after Image Management, one is able to put their refined self ahead which I believe every human-being should have the privilege of. Image Management is all about Reflecting Your Inner Attitude... Thank you for the opportunity your blog allows me to air my views. Hina Page

Vikram Waman Karve said...

I am so happy to see various view points on Image Management.
Suman(Anonymous)is right when she says that in today's world people who cannot manage their image will be left behind.
Tara has a point too - Image Management is not just about looks - it a holistic concept.
Saru - yes we do live in a virtual world.
Ahktar - yes, you better "manage" your image in cyberspace.
I liked what Sunita said the best about character and image.
Thanks Everyone for adding value to this blog by your insightful comments.
PS - Now I better go in for some "image management"

Jyo said...

There are a lot of misconceptions about Image Management. What people learn in Personality Development classes is not Image Management. True Image Management attempts to bring about a congruence in the inner self and outer image. It is precisely meant for all those sincere, hardworking people with character and integrity who are sometimes left behind for lack of proper projection of image. You could be all that and learn to project a positive image too?! Image Management brings about an awareness and knowledge on how best you can harmonize your outer image with your inner self. Mr Vikram, while writing your experiences, I also request you to give people a clarity on what exactly constitutes true Image Management. It could help a lot of people genuinely in need of image management.

Aashima Sood said...

I saw a mother of a nursery school child preparing her child for her first day at school. She was teaching her child to comb her hair and she was telling her to keep her clothes clean. She was telling her that she must sit quietly in class and be on time. This ladies and gentlemen, is the first and foremost step of image management. Not only today, but since ages Image management has been – “The In Thing”.
The teacher at school was happy to see that child. She taught the child a language to speak, imparted knowledge in books, groomed the child and enabled him to create her own individuality. And she imbibed in her students the moral values to be polite, be helpful and courteous to help a blind man cross the road, to help the needy and a lot more. Even that is Image management.
In my point of view Image management starts as soon as we are conscious in the initial years of growth.
We can actually say that Image Management is another parlance for character building
The Parents, the teachers, the Elders friends and any person whom a individual meets affect a person’s actions. That is why parents insist that their kids are in good company and not mixing around with hoodlums. They are again conscious of their kids image.
Image management does not in any way tell individuals to lose their sincerity, hard-work or character. Success does depend on traditional factors like knowledge, sincerity, hard work; performance etc at the same time projecting a right image at the right place helps you escalate the ladder of success more effectively.
Let me illustrate this with an example:
A raw diamond from a diamond mine is just like any other stone. However only when it is cut and polished to a brilliant shine and clarity does it attain its complete potential. Does that mean that diamond has lost its character or has it lost any other characteristic that it possessed – I do not think so.
Can I say then that the Image management of the diamond gave it its worth.
But it did not any way make it lose its characteristics.
And in a way this diamond was given a new character altogether. This diamond does have a new image which has given it a new character. It does not have to project a false image and it does not have to carry a false pretence. It does not have any mask.
It can have a relationship with any ornament for time immemorial and it loses nothing. When you are like the diamond above, your relationships have to be surely with ornaments.( By ornaments I mean equally accomplished beings)
Every individual is like the diamond above, and Image management merely polishes the individual and brings out the brilliance.
Image management in no way gives you a mask.
“You are what You are”.
Image Management in no way gives you a superficial outward appearance for a day or two but for the rest of your lives and in every way it enables you to project your real self in a more appropriate and desired way which makes you “A Confident You” and also gives you more respect, recognition and appreciation from others which everyone craves for all the time.

Jyothi said...

The comment showing 'Bona dea said..' was posted by me, Jyothi from Mumbai. I am not sure how Bona dea appeared. :)

Saurabh Sood said...

I do want to associate myself with a good school- one with a good reputation, a good university or college and a good institution or company where i work. all because I want to be known as an alumni of a reputed institute with a good image. I sure want to utilize this good image of my school/ institute/organization I work for. This is my way of image management.

And yes I fully agree with you that image management has come up as a big business today- Dont schools charge a fees worth a fortune even at the basic level of image management.......

So whats the Harm in Managing ones image....Image management is mentoring people to portray their real persona in the best possible manner.........

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Jyothi - Thanks for your comments. You are right - there seem to be misconceptions about image management and one needs to clearly define what the term means. I am impressed by your site and the work you are doing and image management, in a true sense, seems to be a positive thing for self improvement. Well, the comments have got me thinking and let me gather my thoughts and reflect on what really is image management. Thanks, once again, Jyothi.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Dear Friends: I am overwhelmed by your comments and am going to introspect and write some more on Image Management.
Thanks for your feedback.

@ Aashima - I am grateful for your views which I am carefully going through - you have a point.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Image Management Part 2

Vikram Waman Karve said...
The Dangers of Image Management