marketing psychology example faces visibility

How to use faces to build extra brand trust now

Guess what we all love to look at more than anything else?⁠ Faces.

Our brains prioritise what we look at.

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

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.⁠⠀

Face patterns

Secondly, our brains also 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 on your social media posts. No selfies required! (Unless you want to)⠀⠀

Show your face

Similarly, if you’re a personal brand, you can include your face in social media posts 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 & then on social media.

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

Experiment with how you do it.

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

Find faces in other things

Your brain fires up when it see faces. However, it 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!⁠

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

How to direct viewers’ gaze using faces

Eye tracking research established that viewers follow the gaze of a person in a photo.

In other words, that means viewers look where the person 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 & 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.⁠⠀

Adding faces

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 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 & something vaguely mouth-like.

Espresso cup eyes & hydrangea hair anyone?⁠⠀

⁠Include faces in your packaging & branding.

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

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.

More ideas

You can find more ideas for including faces on social media in my free guide.

Looking for more marketing psychology tips?

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