In step with the way Gen Z consumers spend their time, leading brands are investing in elevated and personalized virtual communication methods like digital avatars, also opening up new opportunities for retailers to engage with digital-first audiences

As more consumers turn to digital means to stay connected, self-expression and context from face-to-face communication is difficult to preserve. Accordingly, forward-thinking brands are turning to virtual avatars to make true socialization possible, giving today's digital-first consumers the chance to express their personality and connect more intimately.

As detailed in our deep dive into Gen Z values and how brands can meet their needs, here's how leaders like Apple, Snapchat and Genies elevating the ways digital-first audiences socialize and communicate, also creating new opportunities for brands to virtually connect with consumers:

Memoji
Technology company Apple lets iPhone users turn their faces into animated emoji, adding a new layer of expressiveness to texting conversations. Using the phone’s front-facing camera, users scan their faces to create an avatar of themselves, whose appearance they can then customize, changing skin color, hair, makeup and accessories. Once they’ve designed their Memoji, users can create 30-second videos of their Memoji talking or singing and then share it in conversation with friends via Apple’s Messages app. When using Apple’s FaceTime app, users also have the option to conduct video calls as their Memoji avatar.

Snapchat Bitmoji For Games SDK
Social network Snapchat now lets gamers play as their personalized Bitmoji avatars in supported video games. By scanning an in-game code on select PC, console and mobile games, users can replace an existing character’s skin with their own Bitmoji, allowing them to play as their desired character and transforming the game into a more personal experience.

digital avatars

Gucci x Genies
Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci has partnered with Los Angeles-based startup Genies to be the exclusive provider of virtual luxury fashion and accessories for its new emoji-based chat app. Using the Genies app, users can create 3D digital avatars of themselves, customizing eye, skin and hair color. They can also choose clothing for their avatar, including a selection of Gucci-branded fashion items. Users can then chat with up to six friends using their avatar. As they type, Genies offers suggestions for corresponding animations for the avatars to act out based on the conversational context. Certain keywords related to fashion, such as ‘luxury’ or ‘Milan,’ will cause Gucci-branded items to rain down on the conversations. Genies told PSFK that 65% of all its users are wearing at least one item of Gucci on their Genie.


Lead Image: Austin Distel/Unsplash

As more consumers turn to digital means to stay connected, self-expression and context from face-to-face communication is difficult to preserve. Accordingly, forward-thinking brands are turning to virtual avatars to make true socialization possible, giving today's digital-first consumers the chance to express their personality and connect more intimately.

As detailed in our deep dive into Gen Z values and how brands can meet their needs, here's how leaders like Apple, Snapchat and Genies elevating the ways digital-first audiences socialize and communicate, also creating new opportunities for brands to virtually connect with consumers: