How brands can shape the metaverse to their advantage
Through virtual worlds, NFTs and immersive experiences, brands are experimenting in reaching new generations of consumers
What’s exciting and encouraging about the metaverse is that nothing about it is completely set in stone. The metaverse presents a potentially major opportunity for brands, but only if they prioritise consumers and their experiences over everything else.
Unsurprisingly, having a say in what the metaverse will look like (and the way consumers and brands might engage with it) is the new crusade for major tech players. The parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp was even recently renamed Meta, which shows just how invested Zuckerberg and Co. are in the collective universe.
While there are still so many questions about what the metaverse will ultimately turn into, right now it’s a place where brands can start engaging and interacting with consumers with an eye on the future.
But this won’t be easy. To succeed authentically in the metaverse many brands will have to leave their usual marketing strategies and patterns behind. Brands must forget about intercepting.
Perhaps more than on any other platform to date, consumers in the metaverse will demand immersive experiences where brand integrations will need to do more than show up. Brands will need a real-time, live presence with a meaningful impact, where they’re offering the consumer something of value in an authentic, non-invasive way.
This comes with some risk, but also potentially high reward. Because of the blank canvas that is the metaverse, and the many crowded platforms that are embracing its concept, both brands and creators have the opportunity to innovate with experiences and content previously felt beyond their scope. These can be used to a brand’s advantage, no matter its unique business goals.
Here are some ways brands can utilise the early days of the metaverse to seize new growth opportunities:
Reach new audiences and revitalise brand perceptions
In today’s highly-fragmented media landscape, brands often struggle to reach and connect with certain audiences such as younger generations. The metaverse presents a great opportunity for these brands, as many metaverse-based platforms are dominated by younger audiences.
Roblox Games, a user-created gaming platform, has over 42.1 million daily active users—and a whopping two thirds of them are Gen Z. By effectively and authentically becoming a part of the metaverse, brands can execute strategies to not only attract younger audiences’ attention, but to change the perception of their brand among this much-valued cohort.
Create long-lasting relationships with consumers and build community
The audiences that are engaged in metaverse-based platforms are among the most loyal and passionate. Thus, for brands to succeed in their metaverse efforts, they need to bring something meaningful to the user or their experience. If they do so consistently and in an authentic way, brands can generate a fruitful and lasting relationship.
So how can brands do this in the metaverse? It may vary from experience to experience, so a brand can’t expect to just jump into a single game or platform and succeed. Brands need to take time to immerse themselves in each platform, learning the language and culture within. If they do, brands can begin to provide consumers with value by collaborating with them, empowering them, becoming patrons, rewarding them or developing rich one-to-one encounters that connect the user to the brand—all without intruding on the user’s unique and personal experience.
For years, Stella Artois has been the official sponsor of premium horse racing tracks such as Ascot. But now, it’s taken this same idea to the metaverse with a deal to sponsor Zed Run, the blockchain-based online horse racing platform. Brands can emulate Stella Artois and use previous sports/gaming involvement to instantly bring credibility to their presence in the metaverse.
For other brands, entering these areas will be completely new. Whether it’s growing an existing audience or starting a new relationship, every brand will have an opportunity to foster long-lasting relationships in the metaverse.
Standing out is never easy, and it’s become even more difficult recently in our world of media overload. The metaverse, however, can be a dreamland for those who need to differentiate or stand out in their category. Options are endless, and the brands that think and act in the most creative ways will find themselves earning the attention and admiration of consumers in the metaverse. The metaverse gives brands the opportunity to create new narratives and original virtual worlds and characters. Or they can opt to leverage and bring their already-recognisable distinctive assets to life.
19 January 2022
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