Your avatar – headshot photo, image, or illustration – is usually the first impression of your personal brand on the web. Being strategic about the avatar you use is crucial especially if you are engaging in social media and other Web 2.0 technology for your business. If you use a photo, is it professionally shot and projecting the right image? If you use a cartoon, does it still build your credibility? If you use a logo, is it too impersonal? Thinking more strategically about your avatar can make the difference between building and enhancing your brand or making the wrong first impression.
A Japanese company called MYPIC JAPAN has a creative way to add personality to profiles through the use of Japanese ‘anime’. Their customized illustrations drawn from actual photos are being used on Twitter and Facebook profiles, business cards, resumes, and websites. I had a chance to briefly interview the CEO of MYPIC JAPAN, Mr. Akito Kawasoe.
1. Tell us about MYPIC JAPAN. What was your inspiration behind creating your company?
Our firm, One Net Inc. was established by my respectful founder who actually changed my life. MYPIC did not exist at that time. But a few years later, many SNS services such as Mixi, or blogs had become popular, and I also rode on the social media waves. However, I noticed every profile picture on them was boring, and I came up with the new idea of starting MYPIC.
2. Is MYPIC popular outside of Japan? If so, why do you think so? If not, what is your plan to market MYPIC in other countries?
Even in a domestic market in Japan, MYPIC does not have a big name yet, I think. However, MYPIC has constantly received orders everyday as a result of our marketing effort to sell our product. We are getting orders through using our website, affiliates and advertising to people overseas. In my opinion, a service like MYPIC does not necessarily have to be famous. The important thing is that MYPIC can be found easily by the people who really want the service. Of course, it’s better if it could be famous rather than nameless.
3. Why is illustration a useful way to market / brand yourself?
Showing illustrations is an easier way to tell your story and your target audience can instantly remembered it rather than using only words. No brands can be meaningful without being retained in people’s mind.
4. What is your future vision for MYPIC JAPAN?
My vision is that people all over the world will be happy to use our Japanese illustrations.