From Travis Scott to Fortnite & Gucci – Why Digital Humans Are Good For Business
From The Weeknd to Gucci – digital human avatars are already a widespread consumer reality, one which your business needs to watch out for.
What are Avatars?
Avatars, normally associated with gaming, are graphic illustrations that represent a computer user’s alter ego; the choice to adopt different ‘skins’ allows players to perceive themselves in alternate ways in vast, imagined worlds.
This relationship between character and player is influenced greatly by Avatar-based customisation, which causes the player to identify and attach to their self-representing Avatar to a far greater level.
The purpose of the Avatar is to facilitate interaction with other human users, and although some AI technology is involved in simulating the movements and expressions of an Avatar, they are ultimately controlled by humans.
What’s Happening Now?
Our fascination with Avatars has gone global. Last year, rapper Travis Scott’s Avatar was watched live by 12.3 million ‘Fortnite’ playing fans, whilst computer-generated social media influencer, Lil Miquela, exclusively uses her Avatar-self to virtually interact with her three million followers on social media.
To add to this, last year singer-songwriter, The Weeknd, performed a live, interactive virtual concert in digital-Avatar form. ‘The Weeknd Experience’ virtual concert broke TikTok records by gaining over 2 million total unique viewers, with 275,000 concurrent viewers at the performance’s peak.
How Can Businesses’ Use Avatars?
Artists and celebrities are not the only ones embracing avatar creation – brands are decidedly cashing in, with the merging of real-life and virtual environments creating a way to appeal to customers and therefore foster loyalty.
Avatars also allow an opportunity for your business to truly know your customers on a deeper level – by virtue of the fact that customers feel free to show their personality to you, through features like user customization. Imagine the implications of a digital human version of every one of your customers for your business.
Moreover, companies can effectively explore their target audience by creating their believed version of an ideal customer Avatar. Defining an ‘ideal customer’, within an avatar itself allows a company to more concentratedly focus on exactly who and what their business is serving. The success of the ‘ideal customer Avatar’ is entirely dependent on thorough market research in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of client demographics.
Defining an ‘ideal customer’ within an avatar itself, allows a company to focus on exactly who and what their business is serving.
Avatar-mediated communications with a digital representation of the ‘ideal customer’ bring a single customer’s profile to life by means of storytelling, and as such this embodiment of a ‘random’ potential consumer connects a company’s marketing team with a character they are able to relate to.
Another approach for businesses wanting to represent their company on digital platforms and in virtual spaces is through using an Avatar as a brand ambassador or spokesperson in virtual events or for general media content.
Luxury designer brand Gucci embraced e-commerce marketing in their recent partnership with Avatar company, Genies; releasing a range of digital clothing tied to real Gucci products, which customers can then buy, download, and ‘wear’ through their personalised 3D Avatar.
Once ‘cloned’, Genies users can integrate their own Avatar into various media apps, namely Whatsapp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger. The genius behind Gucci’s latest collaboration lies in the affordability of virtual designer clothing; for young, yearning customers, deterred by Gucci’s famously high price tags, and Avatar clothing alternative makes purchasing Gucci products a virtual reality. Gucci’s dedication to engineering a sense of brand loyalty from an early age is intended as a way of increasing revenue by building a long-lasting online relationship with their customers whilst engaging their Gen-Z audience.
With Avatars being used to optimise company representation on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and TikTok, the world of cartoon digital existence is a world away from a time when The Sims served as the home of Avatar expression.
The customer demand for Avatar characters brings with it the potential for brand Avatars to wholly replace brand logos, emojis, or even celebrities and influencers themselves.
Header Image via Rolling Stone.