Why are faces important in marketing blog post title image

Why are faces important in marketing? How to build brand trust now.

Why are faces important in marketing? Well, guess what we all love to look at more than anything else?⁠


Our brains prioritise what we pay attention to.

Above all, our reactions are mainly driven by instinct, not logic.⁠

I’m Sue Moore, UK-based freelance copywriter and founder of Virtual Gold Dust. I’m always on alert for ways to build the psychology of persuasion into your marketing strategy.

Our instinct for faces

⁠One of our strongest instincts is responding to faces. Our brains fire up when we see them.

Even from birth, images of faces are magnetic for us. ⁠⠀

In other words, if there’s a face anywhere in an image, that’s almost always the place where we rest our gaze first. And for longest.⁠⠀

Why are faces important in marketing?

Face patterns

Secondly, science has shown the effect of faces and face images (pareidolia) on consumers.

Our brains tune into patterns that look like faces.

That’s why we often try to find them in other objects.⠀

Selfies optional

So here’s the good news. You have some easy options for including faces in your digital content.

No selfies required! Unless you want to.⠀⠀

Why are faces important in marketing & when to show your face?

Similarly, if you’re a personal brand, you can include your face in images to tell your story.

If it’s in your comfort zone (but especially if you’re a creator or personal brand) show your own face every now and then on your digital content.

You don’t need to be looking directly at the camera.

Experiment with how you do it.

Just introduce yourself to your audience occasionally by showing them your face.

Find faces in other things

According to a Pop Neuro article, our brain fires up when it sees our own face.

However, the brain also tunes into patterns that look like faces. ⁠

In other words, even if there isn’t an actual face in a photograph, your brain may still try to find one.⁠⠀

After all, there’s a good reason why car designers call the front of cars the “face”.

I read recently that, after doing some neuromarketing research, Mercedes tweaked a design so that it looked more like, you’ve guessed it, a face!⁠ Apparently, sales rose by 12% in one quarter.

We just can’t ignore them. 

If you produce home/lifestyle content, it’s often easy to feature “found” faces like these. With buildings, typically it’s the windows and doors.⁠⠀
To sum up, we can’t ignore a face and we love to find them in other things.

How to direct viewer’s gaze using faces

Eye tracking research established that viewers follow the gaze of a person in a photo. Big brand advertisers understand this already.

According to this article by New Neuromarketing, when a model looks away from the camera, the viewer finds it easier to place themselves in the story.

It also means that viewers look where the model appears to be looking. ⁠⠀
If you include people in your marketing photos, positioning them to look directly at the camera is not always the best option.⁠⠀
It’s often better for them to look at the thing you want to be noticed – maybe your product?
Or go one step further and be even more literal. Show the person doing what you want the viewer to do. ⁠

For example, if you want newsletter sign ups, picture a person doing just that. ⁠⠀
Top takeaway – include a face in your photos, but always ask yourself if it should be looking directly at the camera.⁠⠀

Why are faces important in marketing? How to add a face.

Now you know the human brain can’t ignore faces, here’s how to leverage that in your marketing.⁠⠀

Get out your sharpie & add one.

For example, this Easter Egg flower crown was my most popular social media post of 2020.

It’s the stylist’s equivalent of drawing on a moustache!⁠⠀

Create the shape of a face with styled objects.

Above all, have fun creating “faces” out of different shaped props – you just need a couple of rounded shapes and something vaguely mouth-like.

Espresso cup eyes and hydrangea hair anyone?⁠⠀

⁠Include faces in your packaging & branding.

According to this article, consumers prefer brands with faces on labels.

This is a great example on Crabtree & Evelyn candle packaging.

Why are faces important in marketing? A bonus tip.

Go backstage with your people shots, rather than shooting posed pics.

Show your processes, creativity or just the shape of your day behind the scenes. Importantly, include a face.

Looking for more marketing psychology tips?

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