If I told you that there was a branding tactic that would give you a huge advantage over every other brand in your respective industry, would you think about using it? If not, what if I told you that the majority of your competitors probably aren’t utilizing it – and the ones that are, probably aren’t doing it properly? Would you consider applying it to your overall branding strategy?
Okay, how about this – what if I also told you that I could provide data that would validate just how effective this tactic is – while also showing you how some of the biggest brands in the world have scaled due in part to utilizing this tactic? Oh…and one more thing – the tactic is absolutely free! Now would consider you utilizing it for your brand? Great answer! I figured you would.
This arcane branding tactic that I’m referring to is Brandfacing.
Brandfacing is a term attributed to author Tony Eberhart, who was the first person to clearly define what a Brandface is. In her book, Brandface: Be The Face of Your Brand & a Star In Your Industry, Eberhart states, “A Brandface can be a CEO, president, sales manager, sales-person, child of an owner, home-based business expert or anyone in a situation where they are likely to represent the brand for an extended period of time.”
Now that you know what the branding tactic is. Here’s why you should utilize it as part of your overall strategy. And how you can do it in a way that will give you that huge advantage over your competitors.
Why should you utilize Brandfacing?
If you’re reading this article, I think it’s safe to assume that you at least have some type of interest in branding, marketing, or business. And since you are interested in the aforementioned, you’re probably also interested in statistics that could substantiate a marketing theory. So, with that being said – here’s some statistics that may be appealing to you.
According to this article from Entrepreneur:
- Ninety-two percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands.
- On average, employees have 10 times more followers than their company’s social media accounts.
- When brand messages are shared by employees on social media, they get an estimated 561% more reach than the exact same messages that are shared via the brand’s social media channels.
What those statistics tell us is that people are more likely to do business with – and share information about a brand if an individual from that brand is the one providing the information to them. And that’s where Brandfacing comes in.
Brandfacing is so effective because it increases the likelihood that a consumer will trust your brand by providing your audience an added personality that is relatable and consistently represents the brand in the public.
A good Brandface appeals to an audience much more than a simple brand logo does because the Brandface actually talks to them – as opposed to talking at them. Brandfaces convey the brand’s message through a two-way conversation. Which builds trust. And trust is the ultimate advantage that any brand can have over its competitors.
A Brandface is an asset that is also proprietary because it can only belong to one brand. And in business, the more proprietary assets that a brand has – the better.
Examples of Brandfacing
What’s the first thing that you think of whenever you see the Jumpman logo by Jordan Brand? I don’t know about you, but whenever I see the Jumpman logo I think of one of, if not – the greatest players that has ever played the game of basketball. I think of everything that Michael Jordan represented on the basketball court – which is success and domination.
That’s exactly what Nike was aiming for when they made Michael Jordan the primary face of their brand back in 1985. It worked so well that it led to Nike extending their relationship with Jordan and giving him his own apparel line. A partnership that resulted in Air Jordan becoming part of the Jordan Brand and the brand becoming a subsidiary of Nike. As of June of 2021, Jordan Brand ended the fiscal year with revenue of $4.7 billion.
But maybe basketball and sneakers aren’t your thing. In that case, I have another example of the power of Brandfacing.
Whenever you think of Tesla, how long does it take for the image of the brand’s innovative CEO Elon Musk to make an appearance in your mind? I’d guess it’s one of the first things that you think of whenever you see the Tesla logo.
Along with the thought of Musk, you probably also think about all the controversial things he says that have nothing to do with the Tesla brand. But those things still make you think about the Tesla brand. So the two are married in your mind.
That means when Musk does something innovative like announcing a rocket launch into space, you’re likely to attribute that innovation to the Tesla brand. Which gives Tesla a huge advantage over all of the other EV (electric vehicle) brands in the market because subconsciously – consumers are thinking, “Why aren’t those other brands’ CEO’s smart enough to launch rocket ships into space?”
Last checked, Tesla reported a third-quarter earnings net income of $1.62 billion (GAAP). Checkmate!
Other examples of Brandfaces are: Steve Jobs, Rachel Ray, Martha Stewart, Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tyler Perry, Dana White, Ralph Lauren, and Wendy Kaufman AKA “The Snapple Lady.” Keep in mind that Brandfaces can also be fictional characters as long as they’ll be representing the brand for an extended period of time.
How to utilize Brandfacing
In her book Brandface: Be The Face of Your Brand & a Star In Your Industry, Eberhart emphasized that the initial process to an individual becoming a Brandface, starts with letting go. She stated, “You must let go of any intimidation or fear you may have about putting yourself out there.” She went on to state, “We will make mistakes, and that’s just life.”
Eberhart’s keys to taking your first steps for you to become a Brandface are:
- Letting go of your insecurities.
- Letting go of intimidation.
- Letting go of the follower attitude.
- Letting go of worry.
If you can do all of the above, then you certainly can be the face of your brand. If not, that’s not a problem. You can simply find someone that you feel can do the things listed above while also embodying everything that you want your brand to represent in the minds of consumers. And if you cannot find a person that does that – create one (“Jack Box” from Jack In The Box is a great example of a fictional character that’s a Brandface).
The key component that will give your brand an advantage over other brands that may already be Brandfacing is to be in sync with your audience. Who are they? What do they admire? Who do they want to become? Both Nike and Tesla knew the answers to those questions and made sure that their Brandface represented that. If you can do the same, but even better than your competitors – you’ll surely have the edge over them.
Brandfacing isn’t some top secret tactic that no one in the marketing world knows about. In fact, it’s been around for quite some time now. Some of the most notable entrepreneurs that utilized the power of Brandfacing early on before it became a term were: Henry Ford, Orville Redenbacher, Colonel Sanders, Jasper “Jack” Daniel, and a list of others.
However, as studied as the tactic may be. It’s still astounding how even today in the age where so many people talk about personal branding on social media – the majority of brands still have no Brandface.
The act of Brandfacing consists of deliberately presenting a representative of a brand that consumers can connect to the brand itself for the sake of building a trusting relationship between the consumer and the brand.
And while I do believe that every brand has its own personality whether it chooses one or not. The fact of the matter is that as humans, we trust people far more than we trust a brand alone – regardless of how much quality that brand provides. And if all things are equal, a brand that has a Brandface will always have a huge advantage over one that doesn’t.
Because the Brandface would be what created that advantage.
Originally published here.