EJM Designs Limited Blog

Friday, June 5, 2009

Avatar Rebranding and Facial Recognition

Up until yesterday, my Twitter, blogging, and LinkedIn profile avatar looked like this:

EJM Designs Limited Social Logo, Past

And that's fine enough. It's conducive to my logo, works towards branding in that vein, and is distinctive.

Unfortunately, whenever you are building a brand, while a solid, staid logo or logo-related avatar may be appropriate, when you're talking about the service industry, you're talking about a provider/client relationship. And that is built on trust. And you can't have trust in a digital, "small world" market if you don't have your face out there.

I'm as traditional as I can be when it comes to business relationships on the interwebs. LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook are wonderful tools, but I prefer a smile and a handshake and view social networks as tools to be used to get to that point on the local and regional level. But because that can't always happen with a client in Florida as efficiently as it can in the Tri-State area, a face - that is: the face of the person who is posting/tweeting/potentially selling to you - is hugely important. And I finally got on the boat.

In order to maintain the work I've already done to build a blog and Twitter following, I didn't want anyone to freak out or pause more than 3 seconds when looking at my avatar (except, of course, to admire such a face), so I did something more transitional as opposed to a complete revamp:

EJM Designs Limited Social Logo, Present

And this is not just important in my instance, in my avatar. This should be a consideration for every person working on branding and working on social media on two levels:

A Face Is Important
If you are selling a service or product or ...anything, then you need to put yourself out there as a token of trust, give people the literal face of your business. If a smile and a handshake cannot work right now for a Miami-Cincinnati relationship, working with a face and a phone call can be very beneficial.

Transition is Important
I never wanted to transition from a logo-esque avatar to just my face. That would be confusing and disrupt the basic branding I'd already accomplished with Twitter followers (now quickly nearing 500) being able to identify the "big e" as something valuable. I added my image for the "face" aspect of social media, but maintained the logo bit in the upper right corner.

Never make a sudden break when you are dealing with branding or avatars. If it is a switch from one pic of you to another, then you're probably fine. But if you've been dealing with something non-headshot and want to switch, know that you should transition with grace and preserve your identity.

So are there any other stories out there, any other people who needed to switch avatars or felt the (necessary) need to put a face out there?

Love, thoughts, and suggestions always accepted in the comments.

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