Think of one of your favourite brands and in all likelihood you will relate it with a person or a voice that promoted that brand. For years, celebrities, sports stars, models and even well-known entrepreneurs have appeared as the ‘face’ of a brand, helping to them to sell thousands, if not millions, of products. Why does this work? Because people relate to other people emotionally. In fact, sometimes only a voice is needed because the tone of a well-known voice is familiar and comforting.

The cold face of B2B marketing

So the question is, why don’t more B2B businesses use real people as part of their branding? We’re not talking expensive celebrities here – we’re talking about everyday people becoming the face of a B2B brand.

The power of emotional connection

We all know the power of the ’emotional sell’ in marketing, and yet the majority of businesses, large corporations through to SME’s, lack any kind of ‘personal’ connection with their audience.

Businesses are often faceless and rely on words and static photographs to carry their messages. Are businesses missing a trick? A recent study by The European Journal of Social Psychology revealed that when people see faces in branding materials, their likeability for that brand goes up.

The study also showed that people who are lonely or lack interpersonal relationships are more likely to seek out faces as visuals because they are motivated to actively search for a connection. The findings of the study were that people have a fundamental need to belong and a desire to form and sustain relationships. For those that lack social connections they attempt to fill the void through their purchasing habits. Interesting stuff!

Emotional buy-in

Without really being conscious of it, we all make purchasing decisions based on our emotions (88% of purchases are based on emotion) – if you exclude the charity and Christmas adverts that we see (particularly during the winter months), which tug on the heartstrings of even the hardiest of us, we still tend to buy products that in some way connect to us on a human level.

So, back to B2B. Videos are much of a norm today for businesses and the reason that they work so well is the things that are being viewed are real and more often than not have people in them – they are relatable. Even a video which is showing a big piece of machinery can be engaging, particularly if it includes real engineers or technicians in the film because we subconsciously think that they are the people who built it.

B2B brands have a real opportunity to engage with more people by adding real people into their brand messaging or at the forefront of a campaign.

Many businesses have in-house brand ambassadors who would love to take part in videos or photography. Maybe the MD can be the face of the business, or maybe someone who is well known in their industry?

The one thing to remember is that whoever you choose, get their permission in writing (unless it’s the boss of course!) to ensure that you can use their face, and put a time period on it – just in case you fall out half way through a campaign!

Case study

There are B2B brands out there that are already putting faces to their brands really well.

Our client Easypack is a great example. They have created all of their marketing communications using just one person; every photograph, video, brochure, website images, advertising and so on has the same person in it. It’s now really easy to recognise Easypack through this one face, which is seen across everything that they do.

The young lady (who we shall call ‘Anna’) was chosen because she is connected to the founders of the brand and therefore is likely to be ‘around’ for some time for ongoing photo shoots. Anna was also chosen because a) it’s nice to see a female face with engineered products, b) because Anna is petite and in many of the videos and photographs she can demonstrate how easy it is to lift and manoeuvre items and c) because she has a kind looking face and genuine look.

So, why not start scouting now for the face of your brand and see the difference that it can make when you emotionally connect with your audience?