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The Future of PR… Facial Recognition?

Facial recognition software has been a facet of science fiction stories and television for decades. The truth is, though, real, honest-to-goodness facial recognition software has been used for social, security, and creative reasons for over ten years now.

Marketers are now getting into the game when it comes to the clever use of this technology. As the future of PR marches down the technological road ask yourself the question – could facial recognition become part of your marketing mix? How could it be used in PR campaigns of the future? To Minority Report for you? Think again…

Facial recognition is no longer the stuff of fiction, but a technology woven into our everyday lives. Take Facebook for example; facial recognition is a key behind the automatic picture tags applied to every photograph loaded onto the site.

Recognition and Familiarity

Empirical studies have shown that when faced with too many choices, buyers will naturally gravitate to familiar sources. This natural human instinct can be leveraged with the use of some high-tech facial recognition technology for successful marketing results.

Consider some such possibilities:

  • Logging into social platforms through facial recognition rather than usernames and passwords – just a glance through the camera in your PC or mobile device and you can automatically have access to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
  • Through retail outlet facial recognition, every time a recognized customer enters the location, a specially designed coupon or offer can be sent to their mobile device for instant use.
  • Televisions can be outfitted with facial recognition technology so that when individual family members turn on the tube, the TV would create a playlist based on their preferences and viewing history.
  • Video gamers can log in by just facial recognition and start gaming spontaneously – game manufacturers can incorporate advertising into the game platform geared to each user’s unique profile.
  • Logging onto such sites as Digg or Stumble Upon, facial recognition would provide users with a personalized list of news items, products, or websites that reflect their interests.

“Don’t Forget Your Coffee!”

Does it seem too far-fetched to conceive of a day when upon entering a grocery store, shoppers can receive a personalized shopping list via their mobile device based on regular shopping habits? Specific products can be targeted with reminders – e.g., “Don’t forget your coffee!”

While there is a healthy debate over the ethics of facial recognition, and I’m sure some people would have privacy concerns, it’s clear that the marketing implications offer a myriad of campaign possibilities. Imagine if every time a user logged on to the net, facial recognition delivers press releases and digital content specifically geared toward them based on their behavior patterns and established “likes”.

The irony of this technology is that as sophisticated as it may be, it plays to the basic elements of human behavior. We are social animals who crave attention and inclusion and the very first thing we do to interpret how we’ll fit in social situations is to search other people’s faces.

The everyday application of this biometric may be a while off but the theory behind it is key in today’s marketing efforts – help buyers develop a personal relationship with your brand and you’re bound to increase results. How do you feel about the idea of facial recognition? Let us know in a comment.

What do you think? Is facial recognition a good idea? Do you see the potential for its use in marketing and public relations campaigns?

About Stacey Acevedo

Stacey is the social media community manager of PRWeb. In this role, she engages the online community through PRWeb social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn daily with articles and conversations about PR, small businesses, The Future of PR… Facial Recognition? social media, and more. She is all about creating social media marketing ideas as well as building the PRWeb brand. Stacey also pens some of PRWeb’s case studies. An early adopter of social media, Stacey was a news-on-demand project manager and a 4-year veteran of our Vocus media research center before joining our marketing team. She attended the University of Maryland at College Park, majoring in communication. In her spare time, she has managed her own modeling career entirely through social media, launching her own marketing campaigns and landing herself in publications nationwide.


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