Weighing in on the Trend: Faceless Digital Marketing

10 Jul 2024

Opinion

face of person with blonde hair covered partially by fog on a dark background
face of person with blonde hair covered partially by fog on a dark background
face of person with blonde hair covered partially by fog on a dark background

A faceless approach to digital marketing

There’s a [relatively] new trend on the social media marketing horizon, and that is faceless marketing. 

If you haven't heard of it, faceless marketing or faceless social media is an approach that centres around product, tone of voice, and brand aesthetic. It’s a less personal approach to digital marketing which omits the connection between brand and face; whether the face is that of the brand’s founder, team, or social media manager.

Choosing this approach means you better have an extremely cohesive brand that does not rely on the personality-of or connection-to any one or group of people within your company or organisation.

Why are brands opting for the faceless approach?

There are a few reasons brands may choose the faceless approach. Let’s discuss:

Time and money

If a brand is strapped for time and cash but still needs a digital presence, faceless marketing can be an effective strategy. By building their social media feed around their product and core values, brands can maintain a strong online presence without the need for narrated reels, founder stories, or the personal touch of a familiar face and audible voice. This approach allows for a focused and efficient way to showcase what matters most to the brand and its audience.

In addition, faceless marketing eliminates the need for influencer partnerships. Since the impact of influencer marketing can be difficult to measure, cutting this expense reduces risk and simplifies your digital marketing strategy.

After all, product shots on a white background can easily be perfected with AI assistance, making them much simpler to execute than coordinating complex lifestyle shoots that require casting, change in outfit and backdrop, multiple photogs, and more.

But also..

Product shots on white backgrounds get boring.

Product shots on colourful patterned backgrounds also get boring.

And *sigh*, flat lays featuring a spread of what’s already included in your other product shots will also get boring.

But aside from the notion that this approach is cost-cutting and more time efficient, there is also the argument that going faceless fosters authenticity.

How so?

Faceless accounts may force brands to focus more on authenticity. Without a familiar face to rely on, you'll need to give consumers a distinct, relatable voice that resonates with them. This approach forces you to prioritise genuine engagement and meaningful content, ensuring that your brand's personality shines through, purely through its messaging and values.

That’s the argument, anyway. But how can you truly trust who’s behind the brand if their approach is faceless, no matter how strong their message? How do you know where they stand on social issues that affect you or your loved ones? How can you be sure they aren’t hiding behind anonymity?

As a queer, women-led branding agency focused on elevating brands led by individuals with intersectional identities, these are the questions we must ask ourselves.

Why we advocate against a purely faceless approach

In the age of AI, consumers are looking for brands they can connect with, both in terms of messaging and in a visual-sense. 

Icy captions and repetitive content targeting consumers at the final stage of the marketing funnel won’t convert like reels, narrated by your team, answering the very queries they’re googling. Your consumers need nurturing all the way from the awareness stage to closing the deal. And chances are, they’ll come back again if you make them feel valued and heard.

The prospect of saving time and money with this approach to content marketing might be appealing, but it's important to recognise that it comes with its own set of challenges. Without faces, creating memorable, share-worthy content that engages consumers to the point of purchasing (and repeat purchasing) is going to be an uphill battle.

And we actually can back this up with a few studies on memory and facial recognition.

Research by Cedars-Sinai shows that our brains are wired to remember stimuli associated with human faces. This suggests that content featuring faces is more memorable. Get your products used by real people or use real people to bring your brand story to life and trust us, they’ll remember you. 

In addition, a psychological study by Orth and Cornwell (2017) demonstrates that advertising visuals including faces contributes to the “liking” of brands. This is because seeing faces, as opposed to inanimate objects, evokes a positive reaction and a feeling of social connection. When a person feels lonely, this positive reaction and desire for social connection becomes stronger. This may result in stronger brand affinity.

Additionally, we know that faces naturally convey emotion and evoke responses, so opting for a faceless approach means sacrificing the human touch in your branding.

This doesn’t mean that every single post needs a face, a set of eyes, or an audible narration -- that’s not the point. Going too far to either extreme isn’t the way forward. There is a happy medium between overly personified brand content and faceless accounts. 

Striking a Balance: The Happy Medium in Marketing

So, how do we reach a happy medium between purely faceless and non-faceless content? 

The answer lies in finding what resonates best with you and your target audience. While we advocate for incorporating more faces and personality into your content, we also recognise that going fully faceless isn't the ideal solution.

Instead, consider a mixed approach that leverages both faceless and personality-rich content. This strategy allows you to reach a broader range of consumers throughout all parts of the content marketing funnel.

Faceless content can be highly effective for showcasing products, sharing educational materials, and highlighting your brand's core values. Meanwhile, incorporating faces and personalities in your content helps to build emotional connections, increase memorability, and add that human-touch to your brand.

By blending these two approaches, you can create a diverse and engaging content strategy that maximises your reach and impact. This way, you also maintain authenticity and connection with your audience. Ultimately, the key is to balance efficiency with personal engagement, ensuring that your marketing efforts resonate with all segments of your audience.

So-called digital marketing experts will convey a sense of urgency, pushing you to jump on under-researched trends with promises that you’ll rake in thousands as a result. But before jumping on the trend or purchasing a new faceless digital marketing course, take a moment to think about what works for both you and your target audience.

Part two coming soon.

House of Five Studio offers a Content Strategy package for businesses unsure about where to start. This package enhances brand recognition & search engine rankings and allows you to save time on content creation while boosting output and quality effortlessly. Read more on our services page.

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House of Five Studio is dedicated to guiding female, BIPOC, and marginalised solopreneurs on a transformative journey towards visionary branding & content. For HoF, branding encompasses mission, metrics, vision, goals, data-laden research, and so much more.

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House of Five Studio is dedicated to guiding female, BIPOC, and marginalised solopreneurs on a transformative journey towards visionary branding & content. For HoF, branding encompasses mission, metrics, vision, goals, data-laden research, and so much more.

House of Five Studio is dedicated to guiding female, BIPOC, and marginalised solopreneurs on a transformative journey towards visionary branding & content. For HoF, branding encompasses mission, metrics, vision, goals, data-laden research, and so much more.