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Why choose an avatar for a brand?

To many people, avatars are synonymous on one end of the scale with online gaming and silly social media icons and on the other end of the scale, with big-budget Hollywood movies. So why would businesses and brands consider having an avatar that represents them?

There are three main reasons why you should choose an avatar for your brand.

Engage with the brand persona

A brand avatar builds on a brand’s logo and identity and is an embodiment of a brand persona.

If we consider that a brand persona is the collective personality traits and values that a brand represents, then the question is how do you embody this in a visual way? How do you personify it?

A logo may partly achieve this as a way to identify a brand in the market, but it is a brand avatar that provides an opportunity for customers and staff to engage directly with the persona of a brand.

Give the company and founder separate voices

Many entrepreneurs and founders of successful businesses by default become the voice of their business. They establish themselves as an expert in their field and thereby concurrently build their personal brand and the brand of the business. This is the accepted way of doing things.

The smartphone coupled with social media has been the enabler of this. With the prevalence of content online particularly videos, blogs and podcasts, it is fairly easy to tap into this model.

It does, however, raise a few questions. The first is separation. Ideally, the business brand and the personal brand of the founder should be different things. Michael Gerber speaks about this when building a business. That at the entrepreneur level, the founder should separate themselves from the business by building systems and processes that fulfil the roles the founder initially performed.

It is, therefore, a logical next step for the founder to shake the business brand free of their personal brand and let the business brand have its own voice. A brand avatar allows for there to be a system to be built that delivers the brand’s voice through an avatar.

There are also many entrepreneurs who don’t want to be the voice of the brands they build but would rather let the brand speak for itself. They are not all bold personalities like Elon Musk or Gary Vaynerchuk who want to be in the limelight. They would much rather be behind the scenes and put the business in the foreground. A brand avatar allows them to do this. It provides the marketing team with a conduit through which to deliver content and customer interaction.

Addresses cultural diversity

This is not just a South African phenomenon,  we live in a multinational and multicultural world. Any company wanings to connect with its staff and customers recognises this.

There are many studies to show that diversity in the workplace can enrich a team by providing different points of view, skills and talents. The challenge is how do you connect with these diverse voices?

The same question applies to brands wanting to connect with a diversity of customers whether they are local or international. An avatar is a way to do this. By expressing a company’s policy towards diversity through an avatar it has a greater chance of connecting with its staff and customers. Multiple avatars representing different cultural groups would take this idea a step further.

Of course, avatars are not limited to human form, they can be animal, mineral or vegetable in design. This means it’s possible to embody a brand persona in a non-human form. It is then possible to connect with an avatar without the cultural biases.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are three compelling reasons a business should consider owning a brand avatar: it provides a visual representation of the brand persona for staff and customers to connect with, gives an independent voice to the business brand as distinct from the personal brand of the founder, and addresses diversity of staff and customers through an avatar.

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In the spirit of Saturday morning cartoons, we provide fun and interesting insights into the principles of storytelling for business communication.

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