First Impressions are Important,
But it's the Last Impression That Matters
Sharon Owens Robustelli
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression" is a common phrase actually coined in the advertising industry in a campaign for one of the first and most iconic brands on which I ever worked - Head & Shoulders. I helped lead the account for more than six years, shepherding it through a significant rebranding, as well as several product line extension launches. I was fortunate to have been instrumental in developing an award-winning campaign for the brand that wasn’t about first impressions, but about lasting impressions. In the end, the most provocative message we could deliver was that a product designed to treat dandruff actually delivered great-looking hair (surprise!).
While a first impression can mean the difference between landing that perfect job or getting a second date - the one that counts is the final and lasting impression. In my own life, I can count many instances where the person who made the absolute worst first impression proved to be a great friend, advocate, or business associate.
I’m certainly guilty of making less than stellar first impressions from time to time myself. For example, the first time I met my husband’s family, my hands shook so much from nerves that in an attempt to butter a piece of bread during dinner, I lost control of the butter knife and proceeded to butter his sister’s elbow - and quite liberally at that! Well, countless family dinners and twenty-one wedding anniversaries later, I can say that first cringe-worthy impression was far from a death knell.
In my experience, first impressions fall into the category of things beyond my control more often than I would like. So, on my best days in business and in life, I strive — through consistency of purpose and meaningful action — to leave positive, last(ing) impressions.