Will actors or real-life people work better for my brand?

When it comes to creating content for your brand picking the right talent can make all the difference. In a world where the lines between celebrities, influencers, and real people have become blurred, brands often question whether or not they should be using real-life people or professional actors and models when it comes to creating their marketing content.

Although both can work effectively, it can be hard to know which one will best represent your brand and create the type of content you’re after. Whoever you choose, you’re trusting them to be the face of your brand, so you want to ensure they’re the right fit.


Finding the right talent 

Building a successful social media campaign revolves heavily around building a strong and relatable storyline for your community. Your audience has to be able to connect with your product, and the best way to break through that barrier is by using the power of human connection.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with content, consumers want to see how your product is being used by people they can identify with. So, it’s vital to choose talent that best represents the story you’re trying to portray. 

When it comes to choosing the right type of talent for your campaign there are a few steps you should consider before jumping straight in.

Firstly, you’ll need to consider who your customer demographic is. Understanding the demographic of consumers that are most likely to purchase and relate to your products is vital. Once you have a better understanding of who your campaign is targeted at you can tailor the storyline to better suit that specific demographic. This will also assist with choosing the right type of talent, as particular demographics are known to respond better to real-life talent rather than actors. For example, younger generations, such as Gen Z, who have predominantly grown up in the digital age, generally purchase from brands they find authentic, and from brands that support social causes.

Secondly, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of the goal and overall message you are hoping to share with your audience. This is a vital step in understanding what type of talent to work with. Trust builds loyalty, if your brand prides itself on being authentic, this needs to be reflected when it comes to your talent. Consumers have developed a pretty good radar for fake content, so in this instance, you may want to consider choosing real-life talent instead of actors to share your products.

And lastly, it’s important to understand what type of platforms you’ll be using for that particular campaign. With a plethora of social media platforms available, it’s important to choose ones that are well-suited to your brand and demographic. Although there is a large crossover between most platforms, some are better suited to certain ages, and characteristics. In addition to this, there are various platforms that boast the importance of authenticity, so it’s wise to keep that in mind when choosing talent for your social media campaigns.


Once you’ve developed a clear plan for your marketing campaign, you can then start to consider the pros and cons of each type of talent.


Working with Actors 

When it comes to working with actors you can rest assured that your brief will be followed to a tee. Actors are trained professionals who have spent years perfecting the art of becoming a certain character and putting on a show.

If your brand is looking to veer toward a narrative-driven storyline, or if you had a very specific script or direction you wanted your content to be shaped around, you may want to go down the route of using a professional actor or model.

It’s no surprise that actors are generally more comfortable learning and delivering scripted lines to the camera. They’ve spent years training and perfecting these skills, so they can create the exact character you’d like them to portray. This can often be difficult when it comes to real-life people or influencers, as they usually don’t have a background in performing and so their presence is more natural and often very raw and organic. Although in some instances this may work for your products, actors will definitely be the better choice if your brand has a specific character in mind. 

Working with real people often requires a different approach to actors, with some finding it hard to naturally portray the briefing the brand has given them. Real-life people can also find it slightly intimidating when it comes to being in front of film crews or waiting around film sets, as this is not something they are particularly used to. Alternately, actors thrive in these environments and are able to snap into character when they are required.

An added bonus you’ll get from working with actors is that they are well-rehearsed in the etiquette and manner in which they are required to perform on set or at home. Whether it be waiting around a set for a long time, shooting multiple takes, or sending in pre-screen auditions, they are very aware and happy to do what it takes to get the job done.

Working with real-life people 

 It’s no surprise with the demand for more authentic content, marketers have taken a huge turn to utlising real-life people instead of actors when it comes to creating content for their marketing strategies.

Over the last few years, we are seeing a more authentic approach to content being adopted by brands all over the globe, with some of the biggest names in the biz using their own customers as the talent for their advertisements. We are seeing brands such as Dove, Spotify, Bumble, Skype, and many more, implement this authentic approach into their marketing strategies, and consumers are loving it.

 Data from Sprout Social revealed that using real people is the key to building authentic relationships with customers. Consumers no longer want to be bombarded with fake, insincere content, they want to feel part of your brand and get to know the people behind the brand on a personal level. The study also revealed that 70% of consumers reported feeling more connected when the brand's CEO was active on their socials. Additionally, 72% of consumers felt a stronger connection to a brand when their employees had a presence on their social media.

 Building an authentic connection with consumers can also increase your brands engagement and your overall sales. A Sprout Social study revealed 57% of consumers increased their spending with brands they felt an authentic connection to, and 76% stayed loyal to that brand rather than purchasing from a competitor.

 A great example of authentic content can be seen through Dove's Real Beauty Pledge. For over a decade the well-known beauty brand has been a huge supporter of creating genuine content that features real people who use their products. Their beauty pledge swears to “always feature real women, never models” and portray women as they are in real life. The pledge aims to never present an unachievable image of perfect beauty.



Another way brands are integrating a more authentic approach to their marketing strategies is by using real people to experience their products and repurpose that content as advertisements. A great example of this can be seen through a user-generated content approach by GoPro, which encouraged GoPro customers to post videos of their adventures using their products which they could then repurpose as advertising content.

This approach to using real-life situations and people really allowed GoPro to build genuine connections with their fans and customers all over the globe, not to mention taking the workload off them by empowering their customers to create the promotion content themselves.

It’s important to note that choosing real-life people doesn’t automatically mean your campaign will be genuine and organic, it’s still important to thoroughly vet your talent to ensure you’re picking people who genuinely align with your brand and products. Consumers are very sensitive to insincere content and are able to pick up when influencers or real people are in it for the wrong reasons.

At the end of the day, using real people for your campaigns is going to bring a more authentic approach to your content. Using people who can explore their real-life experiences with your products brings a layer of rawness and credibility that you simply aren’t able to get from a paid, professional actor. Consumers want to build an emotional connection with your brand, and by doing so you can open the door to greater engagement with your audience as well as develop brand loyalty with consumers.

Whichever road you choose to take, it’s vital to ensure you are choosing the type of talent that suits your brand and the message you’re trying to portray for that particular campaign. If it’s authenticity you’re after, it may be best to stick to real-life talent, however, if you aren’t eager to budge on your creative vision, perhaps an actor may be better suited to meet the requirements of your campaign.

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