The Next Big Thing in Marketing: Personalized Avatars and Stickers

Competition is one of the most important defining aspects of the modern business world. Today’s brands spend significant time, effort, and resources on differentiating themselves from the competition and establishing a unique brand identity of their own. Both of these are crucial to attract and engage audiences effectively in today’s world. For a brand operating in a niche that has homogenized products, differentiation can very frequently become a top business priority. That is why you can tell distinct brands like Charter from other cable providers in your area. Customized stickers and avatars can often prove to be very useful tools in this context. Read on to find out more.  

Social Media and Branding  

It’s 2021, so just about everyone running or managing a brand understands they need to maintain an online presence. Social media is an important channel for brands to reach out and market their offerings to segmented audiences. The ease of segmented audiences and targeted advertising is what usually attracts most brands to social media. But social media also offers unique branding opportunities that are very different from conventional branding.  

In many ways, your social media profiles are how your audiences communicate and engage with your brand. For most online users, your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram handles are your brand. This means your social media messaging needs to be well-engineered. However, it also means that most audiences are online now (given the billions of active social media users today), and they’re being bombarded with ads from brands just like yours. You need to be able to adapt your brand differentiation accordingly.  

If you are able to use the digital marketing tools with the right methods, magic can happen.

The Branding Problems Businesses Face on Social Media Platforms 

The social media phenomenon has grown extensively over the past decade. Larger platforms like Facebook and Instagram have billions of active users. And almost all of them engage with their social media platforms or apps every single day. Businesses need to utilize every channel they can to reach new audiences and acquire new customers, which is why social media can often prove to be the perfect choice since most of your audience already uses it.  

Moreover, social media platforms allow brands to refine their ad spend with audience segmentation features. Meaning you can select the audience you want to see your ads. This ensures you’re spending every dollar from your ad budget to target people who are likely already interested in your product. This usually shows a better ROI on your ad spend, since converting an interested prospect is always easier than convincing an uninterested buyer. However, a brand today faces challenges on social media including: 

  • A large concentration of brands from your niche may already be present.  
  • Social media users are bombarded with ads all day and become desensitized.   
  • Many competing brands are targeting the same audiences as you are. 
  • Cybercrime has raised obstacles for new brands in establishing credibility. 

However, customized avatars and stickers may break the deadlock in your favor. We discuss this in the following sections.  

The Use of Animated Unique Avatars in Advertising 

Brand mascots have been around for many decades. From NFL Teams to everyday cereal, mascots have historically been in use to personify the brand identity. In doing so, they help differentiate the brand, as well as offer audiences a common element to engage on. Iconic mascots like Mortein’s Louie the Fly, Quaker Oats’ Cap’n Crunch, and Cheetos’ Chester the Cheetah are no strangers to us. And if you think about it, they’ve done a great job. We know these mascots and the brands they are associated with. Many of us use them as an identifier when shopping for groceries or household supplies. All in all, they’ve helped the brands they personify in becoming household names and often the brand of choice.  

So why don’t all brands use mascots? Historically, the problem has largely been about scale and advertising budgets. You have to remember that advertising slots on TV are expensive and highly sought after. Conventionally, brands with deeper pockets have been able to leverage TV advertising far better than smaller ones. Additionally, the cost of using CGI and animation for mascots in ads was also too high for most small and midsized firms. As a result, the playing field was always inclined in favor of larger brands. But social media is a key game changer in this aspect as well as many others.  

Using Avatars and Stickers in Social Media Branding  

The principle of using mascots is largely still the same on social media as it has been with conventional branding. However, the dynamics have changed significantly. In comparison to conventional channels, social media offers a level playing field. Smaller brands can reach out to the same audiences as larger brands, and compete on a more even footing.  

The cost of advertising on social media is a lot lower than conventional media. And since you can choose the best audiences closest to your buyer persona, you can improve the return you get from each advertising dollar spent. Moreover, social media analytics features can help you test and measure successful campaigns so you can keep refining your approach based on data-driven results.  

Animated and personalized avatars are also no longer beyond the average company’s reach. Applications like Snapchat and Bitmoji use augmented reality and artificial intelligence to generate a customized avatar for each user. The best bit? These platforms are typically free to use, and the avatars can integrate with other social media platforms and actions like Instagram Stories. So even a small brand can create a personalized avatar based on what resonates with its brand story as well as with its targeted audience. With the financial barrier removed, any brand can theoretically reap the benefits that companies like Mortein, Quaker’s Oats, and Cheetos have enjoyed for decades for a fraction of the cost.  

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