The most interesting part of your brand is often undervalued: it’s you and your team.
Advertising legend, David Ogilvy, believed photographs sell better than illustrations. He wrote in Ogilvy on Advertising, “The consumer cannot identify herself with the character in the cartoon. And cartoons do not invite belief.” Ogilvy’s ads showcased real people doing real things.
In this era of social media and #TMI, customers want to go beyond ads with people — they want to see you!
I’ve always intuitively known this, but sometimes I need to hear it in a sales context for the lesson to truly hit home. Yesterday a prospect said to me, “I looked at your photos on your website and thought to myself, ‘This person looks kind. He looks like someone I could work with.’ And that’s why I decided to call.”
In the history of ever, no one has ever said that to me. It’s what I want and aspire to be, but I’ve never actually had it reinforced. It was this moment of clarity that demonstrated that customers want to know the people inside the brand.
Revealing the human side of your brand is probably more important now than ever before. This is a result of how we’re using social media: we look at people, not things, on LinkedIn or Instagram. That has an impact on what customers expect when they visit your website.
Showcasing the people in your brand doesn’t have to be complicated.
For instance, Joseph Nefsky, owner of Out of the Woods Custom Woodworking, creates absolutely stunning, custom-made wood furniture. Without even realizing it, I’ve been following Joseph’s work for awhile on Instagram. He’s an artisan and he posts videos of himself stripping bark, working with epoxy, or installing his finished products.
Seeing him in action is an immediate differentiator. Not only do you get to buy his beautiful products, you get to know who is making them.
Revealing the people inside a company isn’t limited to small businesses. Big brands that showcase people form a deeper connection with their customers too.
Outdoor retailer MEC does a brilliant job featuring “real people” throughout their website, but where they shine is in the About section. This is where you get to see the co-op’s history, membership, and leadership team. It’s very clear that people are a big part of what makes this organization successful.
Showcasing your people isn’t a complex idea: people buy from people, so show your people.
Your website is a great starting point, but don’t stop there. Look for other ways to humanize your brand. For instance, incorporate bio photos into your employees’ email signatures. This doesn’t have to be cheesy. Just use the same images they are using on LinkedIn. We’re used to seeing bio photos in social media, and it’s a natural extension to include them in email.
You can also make a point of introducing your team when you bring on a new client. Create a short video in your office. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple acknowledgement that you’re real people that are really excited to be working with the client.
Don’t let your team hide behind your brand and marketing. Your customers want to know you. Step out into the spotlight! It’ll make your brand more likable and approachable, and that will translate into higher customer loyalty and increased sales.