In her book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl talks about her method of finding the true nature of the place she's reviewing - showing up disguised as someone else. Knowing that critics get all kinds of special treatment, Reichl developed several characters - each with her own clothing, hair, accessories, and personality - so she could get an idea of what her readers can realistically expect to experience.
Reichl says she was surprised to discover that each of her personae was treated a different way, and not just at restaurants. Her loud, gregarious redhead got lots of attention and made friends wherever she went. Her quiet, little old lady was often ignored and usually got poor service.
What's in appearances? Why do we put our resumes on resume paper? How does the use of slightly more expensive paper make us seem like more qualified candidates? Why do people respond better to bullet points? What's the point of watermarks?