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15th November 2017

The Effect of Faces in Marketing

Even as babies, before the muscles around our eyes are capable of focusing, we turn to face our mothers. This hardwired instinct is extremely powerful.

Professor Richard Wiseman carried out the famous ‘lost wallet’ study to analyse the effect of people on emotion and physical action.

He and his colleagues left wallets on the streets of Edinburgh to monitor how many were returned. The wallets contained either no photo, or one of four photos: a baby, a puppy, a family or an elderly couple.

15% of wallets with no photos were returned, but a staggering 88% of wallets with a picture of a baby were returned. The other wallets with photos also had a much higher return rate than the wallets with no photo.

Did the baby subconsciously trigger feelings of caring and generosity which the finders acted upon? Can we as businesses utilise the powerful wiring in our brains to connect with target markets using faces?

Connect with People

It can be difficult to relate to a company. Large, faceless corporations can feel a world away from what you care about.

Putting a face to your brand allows people to connect with you on a personal level. The faces you use will tell a viewer if they are like the people on screen. If there is a positive match there is a higher chance of engagement as they can relate to your brand.

Dell EMC’s “Meet Dennis” campaign is a perfect example of using people to tell the story of a technical product in a personal way that relates to the audience.

Forget B2B and B2C, think P2P. People buy from people.

Create a Tone

Emotions can be carried from person to person to set the tone for an interaction. That emotion can be anything, from happiness to anger.

In order to drive user engagement, the idea is to use faces that portray the right emotion for your brand.

Smiling, happy faces are everywhere you look in marketing. It has been found that when people feel good it affects their information processing and decision making as consumers. The positive emotion evoked by a smile becomes associated with the brand if done effectively.

The fashion industry is a little different. Models express emotions that relate to a lifestyle that viewers aspire to. This indirectly leads to positive emotions towards the brand.

Cheesy stock photos can have an adverse effect, so be careful! The more real the people look in your images, the more trustworthy they become.

Establish Trust

You can quite easily begin to establish trust of your brand by using faces in your marketing communications.

Seeing the people behind an organisation helps to establish trust, be that through staff profiles on your website, or even holding talks or workshops for customers.

Testimonials with a picture of your customer builds further trust as readers relate to real people. It’s much easier to relate to an image than just text on a screen.

Using imagery of people interacting with your product or service in a positive way is also a sure-fire way of building trust. If the viewer can relate to the people enjoying your product they will automatically build positive associations.

Faces are powerful tools that can be harnessed in marketing to build a strong and relatable brand. When used properly, the use of people and faces can help you create a tone, establish trust and encourage strong connections between customers and your brand.

Let’s face it, we need to utilise this tool more!