Should Your Brand Avatar Be Your Logo or Your Image?

(6-minute read)

As the role of Technology Advisor for my one-on-one clients, I get asked a lot of questions.  Some of those questions aren't technology-specific but are related to tech or digital marketing in some way.  One of the most FAQs that I receive, especially from my service-based businesses who are figuring out ways to productize their offerings is:

When it comes to my digital media touchpoints (aka social media profiles) should avatar picture be an image of me or an image of the logo for the business?

Just to be sure that you know what I'm referring to when I use the term, avatar, I am referring to the little circular or rectangular image that someone would see on any of the social media handles of your business.  Many social media platforms provide you the option of the little image to coincide with a cover photo image when seen on desktop, but when seen on a mobile device, that little image is the only visual representation provided for a brand. 

The simple answer to this question is that it depends.  There is no perfect answer it depends on your individual situation.  Now that personal branding is a thing, along with the fact that content creators, public figures, entrepreneurs, influencers, or bloggers are now considered professions, the lines have really gotten very blurred on this. 

If you ask many marketing experts, their answer would heir on the side that people buy from people, so you should have your image as part of the brand.  But sometimes, it actually makes more sense to have your brand become the face of your business.  Although there is no exact science to determining whether you as the business owner should include personal representation within your branding, there are a series of 5 questions I ask my clients in order to help them decide what is best for their business:

  1. First ask yourself, who are you selling to?
    • Stats show that Millennials and Generation Z consumers prefer to feel more connected with the businesses and brands by knowing the people behind the brands so there has to be a personal relatability factor there.  If you know that your target audience needs more personal touch in order to build trust, then having you or a spokesperson in the forefront may be the way to go. 

2. Ask yourself what type of biz are you - a service-based, product-based, or both?

If you are a service-based business, here are some things to consider:

  • Are you touching the client when your services are being rendered? Are you the only person touching the client when the service is being rendered?  If you are the only person, then it might make the most logical sense to have yourself as part of your brand.
    • Examples of business types that work well with personas as their brands are course creators, educators, photographers, graphic designers, event planners (if you are the head creative director), doctors (if you are the head of the practice), and marketers (who are consistently showing up to engage)
    • Service-oriented businesses like boutiques, spas, studios, restaurants, brick and mortar stores, your logo is usually the best representation
      • The moment your brand can thrive without you being a part of the representation, then your logo can be the face of the brand
    • If your business is named after you, your nickname, or alias, it is usually best represented by a persona and not a logo.

If you are a product-based business, here are some things to consider:

  • Do you use your own product?  For example, if you produce beauty, skincare, or hair care products, there is a possibility that you could be the face of your brand in order to show consumers how to use them.  However, this may have to change as you grow or scale and establish a fan base of your products.
  • Do you already have a following?  If so, you might have to be the face of the brand in order to leverage the trust you have already gained from your following.
  • Do you have a long-term plan to scale the business so that it can be separate from you?  Do you think that you may eventually want to sell the business?  If so, it may be more logical to have your logo be at the forefront.

3. What are the attributes, values, and characteristics that your prospective customers have?

  • Just as brand messaging is extremely important in order to connect with your prospective customers, so are the attributes and characteristics that you want your costumers to have who use your products.  For example, the Nike brand hopes to attract customers that value performance, excellence, innovation, and athleticism.  In order to relay that, they place their logo at the forefront of their branding and produce content of individuals who exude the attributes that the brand promotes.  

4.  Are you a solid representation of ALL of the attributes of your business?  Have you created a business that markets to a former version of yourself?   

  • If you are a clear depiction of all the attributes that your business represents or what characteristics you would want your customers to have, you may want to consider using your image in your branding.  

5.  Do you have a logo that you LOVE? Then it might be best to put that out in front.  Your prospective customers might fall in love with it just as you have.

Once you ask yourself these questions, you should have more clarity as to whether your image plays a big role in your branding.  One thing that I always tell my clients is that it's okay to change your mind and swap out those avatars, as long as you communicate with your audience.  I don't advise to keep switching it up, as the best way to establish brand recognition and familiarity is to be consistent.  

Something else to consider is to build a personal brand along with your business brand.  In today's day and age where personal branding is important for anyone who wants to establish connections with a community, it is necessary.  That is also an easy way to create a clean separation between you and your business so it may be worth exploring.  

I'd love to know your thoughts after answering the 5 questions above!  And as always, please reach out if you have any comments.  




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