With support from a long list of celebrities, $25 million raised between two funding rounds and a waitlist of eager new users, Genies is gearing up to rival fan-favorite avatar app Bitmoji and solidify its place as the next wave of social communication.
What Is Genies?
The Genies app allows users to create personal, three-dimensional avatars, customized with more than a million clothing and facial options to mirror each user’s idealized digital self. Once a user’s avatar is created, the app displays the most buzzworthy stories of the day alongside an animation that shows "you" doing something in line with the news. These Genies avatars live just about everywhere on a user’s mobile device — including Instagram, Snapchat, iMessage, WhatsApp, The Weather Channel and more.
“With news being such a prevalent topic of today's world, we studied how Gen Z and Millennials consume news through Snapchat and Instagram and so forth,” said Genies Co-Founder and CEO Akash Nigam. “And when you look at Snapchat and you go through the Discover page, it doesn't really feel like news, right? It feels like a television show. It's all so visual, and it's almost serving a new medium. So we want to serve that new medium of infotainment as well, combining a Bitmoji on steroids with popular news.”
In short, the creators of Genies took note of the dramatic rise of social news and personalized, AI-based avatars and then combined them to make one easy-to-use app.
Who Is Hopping On The Genies Bandwagon?
One of Genies’ biggest selling points is the massive group of A-list celebrities taking part in the app with the creation of their own avatars — including stars like Jennifer Lopez, Kyrie Irving, DJ Khaled and Rihanna. Additionally, big-name brands are also finding the value in this growing app, as it provides marketers with an innovative new way to reach a younger demographic:
- Genies X New Balance: New Balance recently tapped into the Genies features for the launch of their ROAV shoe. Genies users were able to customize their avatars by selecting footwear and apparel from the New Balance “custom wheel closet.” “The next generation of athletes are more connected to their fan base than ever before through the use of social media,” said Chris Davis, Vice President of Global Marketing & Sports Marketing for New Balance. “Our partnership with Genies enables this same connectivity through self-expression, a core principle of our Fearlessly Independent mindset. Fans and new consumers can explore New Balance’s latest footwear and apparel all while staying connected to their vast social network.”
- Genies X Bird: Popular scooter brand, Bird, partnered with Genies for the promotion of their latest “Bird One” scooter. Bird activated its unified content by collaborating with multiple celebrity Genies users — from top athletes like Manny Machado and Jared Goff to music industry stars like Dillon Francis and Lil Nas X. The campaign showed each celebrity avatar enjoying a ride on the Bird One scooter. The result? A campaign reach of more than 33 million.
- Genies X Gucci: The deal formed between Gucci and Genies is part of the luxury clothing brand’s ongoing “experiments” with digital touchpoints and is one of the first partnerships Gucci has designed to build brand loyalty specifically with the Gen Z audience. Through the partnership, Genies users can dress their avatars in Gucci clothing with the option to purchase the apparel through the Genies app. “We have been able to evolve our brand through their clothing wheels and will now be able to exist in the conversations of the younger demographics through their branded actions — allowing us to continue expanding our relationship with these demographics in the digital world,” said Gucci EVP and CMO, Robert Triefus. “As technology continues to develop, fashion and luxury brands need to evolve as well. Our brand narrative and the communities we engage with are powered by digital, and we want to connect with the level of self-expression that avatars provide in this day and age.”
How Can Brands And Digital Marketers Capitalize On Genies’ Popularity?
Since its launch in December 2017, Genies has seen significant success in its mission to capture the attention of the younger generations – an audience with a reputation of being difficult to attract and retain – as the bulk of Genies users fall in the 18-25 age range.
“We know they [Gen Z and Millennials] live through the internet and social media, and we wanted to be a part of that generational shift through the most innovative form of self-expression and awareness,” said Nigam.
However, the success of the Genies app doesn’t stop at Gen Z and Millennials, as the social platform has seen positive feedback across users from all age ranges. "Our biggest success, I'd say, is engagement — and also the anecdotal positivity that we're receiving from the user base unprompted is pretty phenomenal," explained Nigam. "People spend close to 20 minutes just creating their Genie alone, and then they're spending close to 10 minutes within the app once they get off the waitlist and so forth. And then looking at retention — the retention numbers show more than 50% of users coming back for more, and that's really, really big for this industry."
Genies offers marketers a variety of possibilities for reaching consumers — from personalized experiences to innovative campaign launches to tapping into new and emerging digital touchpoints to placing brands onto some of the world’s largest communication platforms. Now is the time marketers (especially those looking to target the younger generations) should experiment with Genies as a tool to build long-term relationships with a new consumer base. In the words of Nigam, “We want to be the next Buzzfeed for the Snapchat generation.”
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About the AuthorMore Content by Carolyn Harding