NEWS29 August 2017

Consumers prefer brands that use faces in imagery

Behavioural economics FMCG News North America

US – Consumers are more likely to favour brands that use faces in their branding because they have a fundamental need to form and sustain relationships, according to a new study.

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The paper, Seeing faces: The role of brand visual processing and social connection in brand liking, revealed that, through visuals, brands can ‘fill a void for consumers experiencing a lack of social connection'. 

Four studies demonstrated various facets of this, revealing that seeing faces related to greater brand liking, even across races (to support the idea that processing fluency and not ethnic self-referencing is behind the effect). Eye-tracking data demonstrated that fluency correlates with distinct patterns of attention, and a study using actual brand stimuli showed that effects are robust and extend beyond advertisements (the other studies used fictitious names and slogans to accompany mock ads). 

"The findings show that communicating brand names in conjunction with visuals seen by consumers as human faces can increase brand liking," the paper read.

It was also found that lonely individuals are more likely to find faces in visuals because of an increased desire for social connection. As well as the positive effect on brand likeability of seeing a face in a brand’s visuals, there was a link between high rates of loneliness, the tendency to imagine a face in a non-face drawing and their likeability of a brand.