8 Million Stories explores how brands have been using avatars to create a more personalised customer experience.
As we are living amongst a constantly changing digital landscape, it is important to make sure that your customers are paying even more attention to your brand – a trend that we have seen becoming more popular is the emergence of brand avatars.
Virtual avatars are designed to ensure that customers experience an immersive and human interaction, whilst also forming a brand-user relationship. Essentially, they can transform ads to narratives, and brands into people, which feels more authentic and personalised.
For example, although slightly controversial, a brand avatar was featured in a campaign in 2019 by Calvin Klein. Receiving backlash for the concept, Bella Hadid starred in the ad alongside Lil Miquela, a “virtual influencer,” who both kiss to raise awareness for LGBTQ+ rights. Lil Miquela was created in 2014 by an LA start-up and now has over 2.4 million Instagram followers.
Although the ad did implement an exciting virtual element, a lack of insight meant that it didn’t benefit Calvin Klein. However, if brand avatars are used correctly, they can benefit your brand in a number of ways:
Alternative to a logo
Logos representing your brand or company alone aren’t always capable of highlighting your brand values or beliefs. They can sometimes become outdated and not a true representation of your brand. By changing their facial expressions alone, brand avatars are able to convey a whole host of emotions.
A brand avatar delivering your business narrative can evoke an emotional side to your brand that may not have been achieved otherwise. There are some examples of video content below which show brand avatars becoming the face of a business and answering questions from customers.
Humanising your brand
Brand avatars can help your business develop its own brand persona to ensure that you are targeting the correct audience. By ensuring your brand avatar is as human as possible, it will be easier to connect with your audience. To make this easier to achieve, you should ensure your avatar is a good match for your business in the way it looks, dresses, acts, and speaks.
Some brands have successfully jumped onto the brand avatar train, with Gucci becoming dedicated to expanding to their younger audience. They have partnered with an avatar company called Genies, which is similar to Bitmoji. This showed an increase in their revenue and, following this, Gucci have also announced plans to develop a “digital closet” which gives their audience the opportunity to personalise their avatars further, whilst also promoting Gucci’s range. Essentially, they are trying to build a long-lasting online relationship with their customers through engaging with their Generation Z audience.
Another example of companies using brand avatars is that of Sk-II. The Japanese skin-care brand created YUMI, their own brand avatar ambassador. YUMI was created by the use of AI and her primary function is to answer the questions of customers. She can speak in different languages and can even share real skincare advice.
Finally, the Cheetos brand have also been using brand avatars. Throughout a Halloween campaign, Cheetos teamed up with Genies to allow users of the avatar company to dress their own avatars in Cheetos-inspired clothes.
With avatars being used by social media users for a variety of different reasons on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, it’s a whole world away from a time where The Sims was the home of expressing yourself through an avatar. It’s hard to see if brand avatars have replaced brand logos, emojis, or even influencers themselves. This is something that we will definitely be watching out for and following to see if these characters are further developed to keep up with customer demand.