How 3D Avatars Can Help you Drive Customer Engagement
We recently wrote about the integral part that illustration plays in building brand identity and about how 3D design can enhance your product. Today, we wanted to take a look at the important role that 3D avatars can play in driving customer engagement. AdAge has reported a huge rise in the number of avatars being used in marketing during the pandemic, particularly when it comes to digital and experiential campaigns. But why are they so popular? And how can they be used to effectively drive business? We explore the answers to these questions and showcase one of our recent design projects for Stillt, a premium car hire company based in France.
What are avatars?
In design and business terms, avatars are essentially customer personas brought to life, usually with the aim of supporting a user’s interaction with a given product or service. In an article for Forbes, Einsteinmarketer.com, defines them as “detailed profiles of your ideal customer. The avatar focuses on one person and outlines everything about them. It goes into much greater depth than a regular marketing persona, providing marketers with many more targeting tools.”
What can avatars be used for?
Avatars have a range of great uses in business. As mentioned above, they can play a vital role in product marketing campaigns, helping to bring products quite literally to life for the target demographic. They can be used in digital marketing and social selling (for example, via LinkedIn) and can build long-term brand engagement if used across a range of advertising mediums. Businesses have explored using avatars as part of their value proposition and many have included avatar characterisation requirements as part of their brand books.
Some examples of big names which have already made use of brand avatars are Gucci and Cheetos. Gucci partnered up with an avatar company called Genies in a bid to appeal to the younger generation. They have since expanded on this work by creating a ‘digital closet’ with the aim of personalising their avatars even further and their intention is to use these as a way of promoting their clothing range. It’s a great way of engaging with a digitally-savvy younger community.
Cheetos have used a similar approach, enabling the users of their digital products to dress their personal avatars in brand-inspired clothes. The brand has revived the campaign for several events and holidays, most recently Halloween.
Igor Kozak, Senior Illustrator and Art Director at 10Clouds says:
“Design has a really important role to play in both simplifying the user experience and building emotional engagement with a product. Avatars are a great way of creating empathy as they humanize processes and can reduce the distance between the user and the app.”
Stillt - Avatars in action
Stiilt is a premium car sharing and car subscription service. It aims to provide users with quality cars at the click of a button. Stiilt asked us to create a couple of brand avatars which would help personalize the user journeys in their product and lead to better customer engagement.
Stiilt originally came to us having seen the character design work that we did for Swile, where we used audience demographics to bring personas to life. In this case, we used a similar approach.
Using market research to build avatars
Stiilt’s target demographic are high net worth individuals who want to drive premium quality cars. These people are small business owners or people in high-ranking positions at corporate companies. They have a considerable disposable income, mostly live in city centres, and like to get away for weekend breaks or explore new areas. They come from a mix of ethnic backgrounds with a roughly even gender split.
Creating character features
Based on the above market research, we built two avatars for Stiilt - Lucas and Sophie. Lucas is in his early forties, is highly business-focussed, but likes to make the most of his free time. Sophie is in her mid-thirties, is very successful and likes to spend her weekends outside the city with her family and friends.
Testing the avatars in marketing initiatives
Stiilt has already started to use the avatars in its marketing campaigns. Their aim is two-fold: to help new users make the first steps in the app and to introduce more advanced users to new features. In the long term, they also want Lucas and Sophie to help them build brand awareness. We eagerly await the results of their first marketing endeavours.
Avatars at 10Clouds - balancing cost, quality and real business value
We know that 3D graphics and avatars will only continue to rise in popularity over the coming years - a popularity that has definitely been accelerated by the Covid pandemic. Our role at 10Clouds is to allow our clients to get real business value from these solutions and to make sure that they’re tapping into the needs of their customers. This is why we place such a strong focus on research-based design.