how brands can use the Metaverse for marketing
It was one of the hottest topics of 2021 and it certainly continues to dominate conversations in the world of commerce, tech, comms, and digital advertising in 2022. Disney is designing a Metaverse theme park, Nike has filed four trademark and patent applications for downloadable virtual goods and Gucci has opened a metaverse concept store. And this is just the beginning.
As highlighted by the Influencer Marketing Hub, the phrase itself derives from the prefix “meta” (beyond) and the stem “verse” (universe). Quite literally, it means ‘beyond the universe’. And this space, an almost limitless online virtual world, is expected to take on huge proportions; Bloomberg estimates it will reach a value of $800 million by 2024. It was also hard to miss the Facebook announcement in October 2021 that the social media giant had rebranded itself into Meta.
This news totally transforms the way social media users interact with the internet as they enter an alternative world where they can play and socialise. And it’s also a huge deal for brands that have to navigate the intricacies of this new landscape and figure out how to tap into its power.
As the lines between virtual reality and physical reality now blur and technology takes such a massive leap forward, you may be left wondering how exactly marketing within this virtual realm is even possible? Compared to physical reality, brands will have to do more than simply show up in a news feed or on billboards. Users will demand immersive experiences. and this means brands will have to be on their toes to offer the most inclusive real-time experiences. So how exactly can businesses connect with customers on this entirely different level?
Let’s dig a little deeper.
1) Familiarize yourselves with this new reality to start connecting to audiences
Audiences in Metaverse-based platforms are likely to be passionate and keen to explore. After all, it’s exciting times, and digitally-savvy young consumers are looking forward to their favourite brands interacting with them in new ways. There are countless platforms and games under development to be included in the Metaverse and we suggest taking time to identify the most impactful or most relevant to your brand. Immerse yourselves in this new virtual reality, learn the lingo and connect to users as part of this new journey. Remember, you are experiencing this reality together. Make the process fun and entertaining and customers will see your brand in a new light.
2) Work on a narrative that makes your brand unique
Carving out a unique identity in the market has never been easy. Not only is it time-consuming, but you also must keep existing customers engaged while constantly grabbing the attention of new individuals. But when it comes to the Metaverse, this new space – integrated with countless platforms and technologies – offers an extensive range of options. This means there are countless new ways for brands to carve out an entirely new space as creatively as possible, given that the choices when it comes to virtual reality are endless. Use visual and audio appeal to attract aspiring customers in the Metaverse and you should start to attract attention.
3) Explore the power of virtual events
Highly applicable for the music, entertainment and arts industry (but not only) there are tons of benefits to hosting an event in the Metaverse. For one, it is far more accessible than physical events and audiences don’t need to spend any time or money on travel. Attendance for events in the Metaverse is mind-blowing. When Travis Scott’s live concert took place within the virtual Metaverse space of Fortnite, over 28 million users attended the occasion through their digital devices. When Lil Nas X hosted a concert on Roblox, over 33 million people enjoyed the virtual stream. Not just about concerts, Metaverse users can enjoy the added perk of playing games side-by-side with other users while companies can also host teambuilding activities, anniversary events, trade fairs, and the list goes on.
4) Embrace the new virtual influencer
Influencer marketing is gaining massive hype in the Metaverse. In the real world, you would opt to collaborate with a famous personality, internet celebrity, or someone with a considerable following on social media to promote your brand. But in the Metaverse, it’s all about CGI-rendered characters. They could be totally fictional or controlled by a real person – both variations can be used by brands for marketing purposes.
Interestingly, virtual influencers have a strong connection with the 18-25-year-old Gen-Z demographic – ideal for brands who are looking for new ways to connect to a younger audience. Just take Lil Miquela for example; her appeal to Gen-Z and young millennials is so impressive that she has been named one of Time’s 25 Most Influential People on the Internet. As virtual avatars now promote some of the biggest brands in the world, it’s worth familiarizing yourselves with their activities and how they connect with fans. Check out “Daisy” – a virtual influencer created by online discount site Yoox to showcase various fashion brands, including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. It’s also worth checking out Puma’s virtual influencer in the Metaverse, Maya.
5) Familiarise yourselves with new advertisement opportunities
Just like any other space, the Metaverse is a place where you can advertise your brand and potentially reach a massive audience – it is estimated that over 110 million people will use the service by 2023. Ignoring advertising opportunities in this virtual space could prove detrimental to your business. And the good news is that shifting digital marketing practices to Metaverse will give you the chance to make the most of untapped potential that you can use to your advantage. Brands like Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, and Samsung are investing in virtual billboards to gain customer attention in various virtual games.
‘Advergames’ are also hot news – an advertising technique whereby brands utilize games to promote their logo, brands, products, and services. Tourism New Zealand/Play NZ is a great example of an adventure game used to boost the New Zealand tourism industry, giving players the chance to visit various tourist locations and the most attractive destinations in a novel way. Luxury fashion brand, Louis Vuitton, also made waves when it introduced Louis The Game last year to celebrate the heritage of the brand.
6) Get on board with Metaverse commerce
A thrilling idea for any avid shopper, the Metaverse gives users the chance to interact with stores, enjoy virtual tours, take a look at the products and make purchases from the comfort of their couch. As pointed out by the AR/VR journey, the Metaverse is bridging the divide between the immersivenessof physical retail and the ease of online shopping. Many believe that the future of consumerism even lies in purely virtual products, as people place more value on digital items and less on physical items. So what does this actually mean for brands and brand marketing? Simply put, the Metaverse offers a great opportunity for brand expansion and integration, as users can get actively involved with products and services.
In these fast-changing times, it may take some time to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of the Metaverse, but here’s a little takeout. Think of the Metaverse as a brand-new canvas that your brand can use to create new customer journeys, interact with new audiences, revive your images, and encourage active brand involvement.
There really is no better time for brands to innovate with the Metaverse in mind, transforming marketing concepts, strategies, and campaigns in light of this new virtual reality. But before embarking on any bold adventure in the Metaverse, you’ve got to really narrow down what you aim to accomplish via Metaverse marketing. Finding the right footing requires patience and planning to fine-tune how your brand is going to add to the experience of users in Metaverse, while improving your image as you compete with other businesses who want a piece of the pie.
If you need advice on marketing in the Metaverse, our digital experts at Action Global Communications are here to help. Reach out to Natasa via email at [email protected].