Now we understand, that a title like this may invoke a sense of dread or unease, much like when it came time for an exam at school that you hadn’t studied for or when you were asked to give an impromptu speech to a room full of people you didn’t know! People are talking about this brave new world with new jargon and acronyms abounding (what on earth is an NFT anyway?) And by which can all, quite frankly, be rather overwhelming.
The other side of the coin (or bitcoin), however, is new technology and platforms can represent an exciting and very rewarding avenue for your business and marketing activities. So how do you take advantage of this opportunity? You work with partners who have more knowledge and understanding in this space than yourself. ? Knowledge and understanding – a good brand marketing agency will guide you and help you navigate, especially as it is such an evolving landscape. When navigating new territory it is always helpful to have a knowledgeable guide!
Before we get to discussing what marketing in the Metaverse might look like, let’s go back to the basics of what is the Metaverse. Truth be told, there’s no real definition of it as it is still so early, it is evolving.
This is an excerpt from Eric Ravenscraft, Wired: “To help you get a sense of how vague the term “the Metaverse” can be, here’s an exercise: Mentally replace the phrase “the Metaverse” in a sentence with “cyberspace.” Ninety per cent of the time, the meaning won’t substantially change. That’s because the term doesn’t refer to any one specific type of technology, but rather a broad (and often speculative) shift in how we interact with technology.”
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Apple won’t even use the term Metaverse and instead is focusing on augmented reality where the digital content is superimposed onto an individual’s view of the real world. This isn’t a new thing, Google tried to take advantage of it years ago with Google Glass, and Apple are looking to reinvent it with their Vision Pro product. 3000 pounds for an entry-level product does seem rather high, however. With an estimated 500 million people using the Metaverse, the vast majority are using tools such as Oculus, Meta’s own branded kit or other third-party devices from gaming consoles like the PS5 VR2 gaming headset.
So what you need to know about the Metaverse is that it’s essentially an immersive digital universe created by the convergence of VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and the internet. Users can interact with each other and the virtual environment in real-time, explore virtual worlds, attend virtual events (including virtual company training) and experience digital versions of real-life activities. What’s important for you, as a brand, is the experience you create for your target audience.
You may have felt that the arena of the Metaverse is rather daunting or complex and better left to the “techies” or someone else, just not you! Or you may feel that there’s no point to all of this, it’s “make believe” after all, so why bother with either understanding the Metaverse, let alone marketing in it? Plus, you have a lot to deal with already!
However, it does not need to be daunting or complex and you don’t need to bury your head in the virtual sand! Our job as a brand marketing agency is to give you clarity. It’s easy for a brand to lose its way because of a lack of clarity, especially in a new, virtual arena.
Whilst the virtual world, and marketing therein, may be virtual (non-tangible), it is certainly not something to ignore. 42% of Gen Z are now interacting with brands virtually and McKinsey estimates that the Metaverse will generate $5 trillion in value by 2030. Sales of virtual goods are already a $54 billion market.
However, this looks as it develops, if you want to stay ahead of the game and ensure your business has longevity, this is an opportunity to interact and engage with your customers in completely new ways. Learn from brands that have had early success and from the failures of others so you don’t repeat their mistakes, but keep moving forward with purpose and intent.
So how might brands look and market themselves in a virtual world?
Users are highly engaged and traditional advertising methods may not have the same impact virtually as they do in the real world. To reach these users effectively, brands must come up with innovative marketing strategies that blend seamlessly with the virtual environment. Test these strategies and adjust or adapt as necessary, remember there are no hard and fast rules here.
Here are some strategies that you might want to consider that are already being used:
Virtual Reality Experiences – VR offers a whole new level of immersion, enabling users to experience and interact with products or services in a virtual setting. Brands can create VR experiences allowing users to explore virtual stores, interact with virtual influencers, test drive virtual cars or try on virtual clothing or accessories. This allows the brand to showcase its offering more engagingly and memorably. This works for luxury brands like Gucci creating an immersive garden experience, as well as mass-market brands like Ikea’s AR app to help people virtually place furniture at home.
Avatars as Brand Ambassadors – these are digital representations of users that can be customised to reflect their preferences and personalities. Brands can leverage this by creating branded avatars that serve as brand ambassadors. These avatars can interact with users, attend virtual events and promote the brand’s products or services within the Metaverse.
In-Game Advertising – this has been around for a while, but with the Metaverse, it takes on a whole new dimension. Brands can integrate their products or advertisements seamlessly into virtual game worlds, reaching a highly engaged audience. Whether it’s virtual billboards, branded items or sponsored events, in-game advertising offers a brand a way to generate brand awareness and connect with consumers in a fun, innovative and interactive manner. Video games like Football Manager have advertisers like Samsung and Coca-Cola advertising on virtual billboards.
Virtual Influencers & Partnerships – just as in the real world, influencers play a significant role in the Metaverse. In a virtual setting, however, influencers can be digital creations or virtual beings. Brands can collaborate with these influencers to promote their products or services to the metaverse community. They can host virtual events, create content and engage with users thus expanding a brand’s reach.
It’s key to understand the importance of creating a valuable and memorable experience for your customer. This is true in the real world as well as the virtual. To do this, your guiding principle will be your purpose. This will allow you to be bold, innovative and creative whilst achieving your goals.
Our job at Cre8ion, as a brand marketing agency, is to help you market your brand with intention in both the real world and the virtual, through clarity of purpose and then back that up with world-class communication and experience. You can meet us in person or meet us virtually on Zoom. Talk to us today!