When it comes to personal branding, a visual identity is to business what faces are to people. Although it was once relatively simple to create different marks for competing businesses, the advance of capitalism has challenged designers to craft distinction in highly saturated world markets. (1)
Your personal brand is more than a logo, tagline, colours and fonts. It is the embodiment of your unique story, everything you are and why it is so important to you.
One way to distinguish your brand is to become the ‘face’ of it. There are countless articles on why you should show your face alongside your brand on social media, and in contrast, there are numerous Instagram accounts embracing ‘Faceless Digital Marketing’. Maybe you’re a camera-shy, anxious, introverted and/or a very private person and have spent much time deliberating over what you feel comfortable with sharing online in a way that complements your ethos and business goals, without oversharing personal details and worried if you don’t, you won’t achieve as much.
If you’ve been pondering whether to show your face or not in your brand marketing, I have compiled my top 3 reasons for and against appearing in your branding to help you decide.
Top 3 reasons how showing your face in your personal branding can help you book more clients
1. It creates familiarity and brand recognition
“Instagram posts with faces in them get 38% more likes than those without.”
How can you stand out when up against an endless supply of logos and pretty product ads? By simply showing your face. It enables an association such as “That’s Marie Forleo, the business coach” or “Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’”.
A commonly known marketing principle suggests you need around 7 exposures to the brand before someone makes a move.
Alas, you need to make a first move if they don’t know who you are yet. (2)
2. It builds authenticity and connection with your audience
For many start-ups and smaller businesses it can be a cost-effective strategy to connect with your audience and gives you an opportunity to talk about your organisation and facilitate your messaging, particularly for those with limited budgets for celebrity endorsements or otherwise.
“…Having an identifiable leader who can espouse the ‘why’ of their business and speak not just to what the company does, but what drives it. Nothing builds long-lasting and impactful reputations more than a firm’s leaders.”
Louis Rynsard, Account Director at SBC London (3)
3. It helps you find your tribe through telling your story
No one can sell your business as well as you do, and if you are in control of your brand’s image and narrative, you’re in a key position.
Your story is your motivation for what you do and the reason why you get up and keep going even when you’re not producing the results you’ve hoped for. In some ways people relate to your successes and flaws, or can take great emotive endearment to shared struggles, observing the journey of overcoming them or adapting. Plus, nothing falls short of a warm smile to build instant connection. (4)
Building successful ‘faceless’ brands
In comparison to the above, there is a marketing approach known as Faceless Digital Marketing, where the person behind the brand or marketing campaign remains anonymous or faceless. It is more an intentional decision to withhold personal info about specific individuals than imposing a lack of personality or identity. (5)
There may be valid reasons to employ this marketing strategy such as:
Preserving privacy: this could be the case of a parenting account with a need to preserve family privacy yet still wanting to share important insights into their world.
When the messaging is stronger without associating a brand with a person: for example, Crisis is a London charity for the homeless, with no one marketed at the forefront, pinpointing the focus on the relational stories from the homeless guests they are serving.
The personality and appearance of the marketer: they may have reservations as to why they would want to limit their ability to show themselves – shyness, culture, perceived ‘beauty’ standards, low self esteem, aversion to family and friends finding their account and so on.
However, all is not lost, although a face could be used as a tool to add authority and trust, the essence of a brand is not a face; it’s a feeling beyond looks.
Top 3 ideas to establish impactful branding without showing your face
1. Hone in on your visual identity and show up consistently
Using the core elements of your brand wisely will help you influence the feeling and energy you’re trying to exude. Creating a memorable experience with a consistent, distinct aesthetic is the most powerful way to create an audience perception.
2. Make being ‘faceless’ an attribute of your brand
You may inspire and bond with an audience that also relates to your reason for concealing yourself. Others will find, support and solace in the fact that it is not a hard fast rule that it is only possible to be visible online by showing their face. This can consequently help you find a community of like-minded people you never imagined you would have found otherwise.
3. Accentuate your thoughts and personality
Sharing your original thoughts, opinions and observations on a regular basis will help you establish expertise as a thought leader in a certain field, and help you be taken seriously on the account of your words, minimising additional judgements from a person photo.
Writing or recording your voice on a podcast for example, can also give opportunity for self-expression, humour, inspirational phrases or quirky idioms to help you become memorable. (6)
As the verdict stands, there is no set rule or hard evidence that showing your likeness is the best and only route to achieve your business or organisation goals. What matters is that your brand conveys the feeling you are trying to evoke to your audience, being memorable, creating value, providing the best service and experience you can for them.
Go put yourself out there – whether people can see you or not!
If you found this article helpful, share it with someone it may help.
- Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding (Book), p7. By David Airey
- How Showing your Face on Instagram will Help you Book More Clients, Molly Host Studio: https://mollyhostudio.com/blog/how-showing-your-face-on-instagram-will-help-you-book-more-clients#:~:text=According%20to%20SproutSocial%2C%20Instagram%20posts,so%20let’s%20break%20it%20down.
- Benefits of Being the Face of Your Brand, Just Entrepreneurs: https://justentrepreneurs.co.uk/blog/benefits-of-being-the-face-of-your-brand
- Define Your Brand by Showing your Face, Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/goldiechan/2023/05/05/define-your-brand-by-showing-your-face/
- The ultimate beginners guide – Growing your presence without showing your face (E-book), Fearless Digital Introvert @fearlessdigitalintrovert
- Build a Brand Without Showing Your Face, Seema Batavia: https://www.seemabatavia.com/post/build-a-brand-without-showing-your-face#:~:text=If%20you’re%20trying%20to,to%20build%20an%20instant%20connection!
Need help with your brand visual identity?
You’ve focused and worked on your brand mission and purpose to reflect your vision and values – now you need a stunning brand identity to drive your business to its next milestones.