I have no idea how I missed it (among the bazillion blog posts) but Mark Bixby (a graphic designer who blogs) has put into a few paragraphs a most eloquent opinion about using people that represent the true customer experience and expectation in his post, "We Don't Work Here".
In his words, "A gaggle of ethnically diverse "twenty-somethings" with perfect skin and flawless fashion sensibility? Is that who's really administrating the Linux server your website lives on? I know it's not. You know it's not. And the companies who put these people on their home pages know it's not. So who do they think they're fooling? And why try to fool your customer ever?"
Many people have asked me why I have gone through the struggle of doing editorial photo sessions with my attorneys so that they could be featured in our advertising, on the Internet and thoughout our branding process. The answer for me was that the business of lawyering is very much a person-to-person experience, and the truth can only be spoken with reality.
In every part of the discovery phase of our branding program the very personal nature of attorney-client relationships were repeated over and over by the attorneys at my firm. To present (brand) our firm we wanted to acknowledge that truth. So the words we are using are only words that my attorneys might state, and the photos are only photos of the people that would say them.
Truth in advertising (including the pictures). It works.