If you're trying to build a personal brand, showing your face is important. It's the number one way to build trust with your audience, and it's reassuring that there's a *real* personal behind the name. There's nothing like a warm smile to build an instant connection!
But what if you just don't want to? What if you're shy or socially anxious, or just an extremely private person? I can attest that when I first started showing up online, the thought of showing my face was terrifying, and also the number one thing keeping me from showing up (apart from sharing my real name, that is. But that's a story for another day).
So, is it possible to build a brand without a face?
In a nutshell? Yes it is.
While your face adds credibility and trust, the essence of a brand is not your face. Your brand is a feeling, not just a look. While your face definitely helps your personal brand and build trust with your audience, some factors may limit your ability to show your face, such as:
Fear or family/friends finding out
Other personal reasons
So can your brand succeed without a face? Yes it can.
1. Show up (and Stay) Online:
Because you're creating a 'faceless' brand, your online visibility needs to be robust. This means not only creating consistent content, but ensuring that you're present on all channels where your audience is likely to hang out. To be most memorable, maintaining a presence on multiple channels can be useful. However, it's more beneficial to start with one platform you feel comfortable with (eg. YouTube if you enjoy creating videos, for example) and create a foothold before you venture out to other platforms, in order to avoid overwhelm or anxiety.
2. Nail Your Visual Identity:
Your visual identity are the visual elements such as fonts, colors, textures, etc. that you're using in your brand. Using these elements smartly will help you convey the exact feeling and overall energy that you're trying to showcase, and it will create an unforgettable experience in your audience's mind. A consistent, visual aesthetic is arguably the most identifiable way to create a perception in your audience's mind. (Plus, it's an instant way to set yourself apart and help you identify your content from a mile away!)
3. Create a Podcast:
Use your voice instead of your face. If you're comfortable with using your voice, it's a big step above text content because it adds a level of dimension to the substance of what you're creating. The intonations, cadence and timbre of your voice can lend a lot of emotional depth to your words, and will help your audience connect with you much better! It will also help you go deeper into the subjects you're talking about and give you room to express yourself in ways that text cannot.
4. Be Noticeable:
It seems easier said than done, but the substance of your brand is your message and your story. Being courageous enough to dive deep into your purpose and letting the audience know who you truly are through the subjects you choose to share will set you apart and make them feel closer to you. In a sea of 'generic' faces where everyone is talking about the same thing, your vulnerability and story will help you get noticed and connect with the audience members who are truly seeking someone like you. It's not about being loud; focus on the sharing what makes you you.
5. Use a Representative:
There may come a point where your reputation precedes you and you'll have in-person opportunities pop up. If you feel uncomfortable showing up yourself and still want to speak at events or network in person, you can send a representative on your behalf to do it for you. However, it's important that whoever you choose shares your values and supports your message and story - they are essentially an extension of you.
6. Make it Your Brand:
If the reason for concealing your face is compelling, bond with your audience over it. Many people might be going through the same things you are and will find solace in the fact that it's possible to gain online visibility and exposure without showing their face. Sharing circumstances that are keeping you concealed will also bring you closer to those who share the same circumstances and will lead to a thriving community of like-minded people!
7. Excel Your Thought Leadership:
Thought-leadership emerges when you share your original thoughts and opinions unapologetically on a regular basis. For thought-leaders, showing their face is secondary because they're building their brand on their message and their story, not aesthetics. Building thought-leadership will not only help you be taken seriously without a face, it will also help you emerge as an expert or an authority with the right positioning. Focus on creating original thoughts and opinions about subjects in your field and sharing them consistently.
8. Amplify Your Personality:
Time to show that personality! Whether it's by text or voice, showcasing your true personality with all the quirks is the ideal way for your audience to remember you. Even without showing your face, learn how to express yourself fully in writing or on audio by showing your authentic self. Let your sense of humor shine and let the world truly see the real you. Your mannerisms, any particular phrases that you use or a specific way of expressing yourself differentiates you more than you realize, so don't conceal them! The things you say will have a profound effect and will help you become memorable.
9. Use an Avatar:
You can also choose to create an abstract cartoon out of your real face, or use a photo or symbol that means something to you. This can become your main identifier and how others know you. You can also create a series of cartoons or animations that can become a fun way to show different expressions or moods, or a mascot that represents you as a brand. However keep this limited to a specific theme, message or story that represents you. Changing avatars too often can have a jarring effect and cause disassociation with your audience.
10. Create an Alias:
Don't be afraid to use an alias if needed. Lots of authors and public figures have successfully used aliases in the past and emerged as leading people in their field. Using another name instead of your own can be a temporary or permanent solution that can help you build an identity or a name for yourself. However, keep in mind that in the digital age, Search Engines index the name that you use. Therefore choose a name that you would be comfortable being known as or being found for - it can have lasting effects and can affect your search rankings!
In short, yes you can build a brand without using your face. Today there are several options available to you; your face should not be a barrier to you showing up online. The beauty of a personal brand is that you focus on your brand as a whole - what your purpose is and who your target audience is - and not just your face. Take ownership of your story and embrace who you really are and let people see you (metaphorically); you'll be surprised at the outcome!
Ready to overcome insecurity and show up confidently online? Register for my FREE MINI-TRAINING to skyrocket your visibility.