I have a familiar face.
I know this to be true because people often tell me. While I personally believe this confusion is caused by my dramatic resemblance to Michelle Obama, Olivia Pope, and Aisha Tyler, it nonetheless makes for interesting interactions.
When complete strangers approach me in grocery stores, restaurants, or airports, the interaction usually goes one of two ways:
Stranger 1: “You know what…you look like my cousin Sheila.”
Me: “Oh, I do?”
Stranger 1: Pam! Doesn’t she look just like Sheila?
Stranger 2: “Oh, Sheila?! Why yes! She does look like Sheila…that’s our cousin.”
Me: “You know, people tell me I have familiar face! Where are you guys from? Do you live around here?”
Stranger 1: “Excuse me, have we met before?”
Me: “I don’t believe so. What’s your name?”
Stranger 1: “My name is ___. You looked just like someone I met at a business event recently.”
Me: “Well, you know; I’m often told I have a familiar face. That event sounds interesting…what do you do for work?”
Here’s the thing - I didn’t know these people. They didn’t know me. BUT they were all willing to step out, take a risk, and talk to me. They had no idea how I would respond. I could have engaged them in friendly conversation, or ignored their presence completely. With little regard for the end result, these strangers took the risk simply because they “thought” I look like someone they knew.
Familiarity is powerful.
Familiarity in your brand, your writing, or your business can give complete strangers the reassurance they need to move from audience to consumer.
Familiarity grants people permission to take risks, and make decisions that (without familiarity) would otherwise place them too far outside of their comfort zones. When people trust you, or trust someone who trusts you, they become far more willing to purchase your new product, read your new book, or join your grassroots movement.
Familiarity can propel others to try your product. When they try your product, and it works well, they trust your product. When they trust your product, they trust your brand. When they trust your product and your brand, they will continue using it and hopefully recommend it to others. And the cycle continues!
Familiarity has the potential to breed trust, and trust is the key to a successful brand, business and career.
All the best,