27 February 2023

Your brand and the Metaverse: what you need to know

Is your brand ready to enter the Metaverse?

If not, or if you’re unsure what the Metaverse even is, now might be the ideal time to get to grips with this next-generation technology.

Using the Metaverse could mean harnessing exponential technologies to create value for your customers at scale, and as it’s still in its nascent stages, there’s ample space for brands to make early strides and build on these timely successes to drive an enduring, positive trajectory.

Here, we break down the Metaverse and explore what it has to offer individual brands…

Exploring the Metaverse: Definition and Evolution

As per Wired, when technology companies talk about “the Metaverse” they’re referring to things like virtual worlds that exist in video game reality—characterised as “persistent” because they continue to exist even when you’re not playing— and augmented reality (AR), which combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds. However, these spaces needn’t be exclusively accessed via VR or AR. The term Metaverse is also starting to be used to describe virtual worlds that can be accessed through PCs, game consoles, and even phones.

Some say the Metaverse is best characterised as an evolution of today’s internet. Excitement around its future, not to mention a lot of hype from tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg, has sent private investment in the Metaverse soaring, putting it on track to be tech’s next big thing. So, is it worth the hype, and should brands get on board with tech giants’ vision of a bright new future of connectivity?

The consensus of experts in business and branding is, in a word, yes.

The Potential of the Metaverse for Brands

According to McKinsey, brands would be “remiss” if they didn’t start exploring the opportunities the Metaverse has to offer, and they should be open-minded in how they experiment with marketing and build on their successes. In addition to boosting engagement and brand relevance, they may also be able to open the door to better performance by integrating into the virtual-goods economy, which accounts for more than 40% of global gaming revenues, and where there is already some innovation in physical-to-virtual and virtual-to physical transactions; one example of this could be ordering a real Domino’s pizza to your door after ordering one in a virtual world powered by cryptocurrency.

National Brands Embrace the Metaverse: Examples of Early Strides

Lots of national brands are already getting their feet wet. Take, for instance, Miller Lite’s leap into the Metaverse, which helped them to creatively circumvent a particular marketing constraint. After being frozen out of the traditional TV ad route by a competing brand’s exclusivity arrangement with the NFL, the brewer ran its Super Bowl ad on the Metaverse. (AdAge)

Another brand is Wendy’s, which earlier this year unveiled its own ‘Wendyverse,’ a branded virtual reality (VR) experience found in Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform. The brand hopes that its new virtual restaurant, town square and basketball court will provide a unique experience for visitors to the Wendyverse, even if they won’t be able to enjoy a Frosty or bite into a Baconater IRL. (The Drum)

Navigating the Metaverse Landscape: Strategies for Success

With the Metaverse still in its inception, companies have a wide-range of ways to get involved, from engaging in gaming to buying NFTs using Crypto to creating socialised immersive experiences. And one refrain we’re hearing often is that brands should be broad-minded and explore the Metaverse strategies that will strike a chord with their audiences. The advertising rule book has been effectively thrown out, and brands will need to forge their own pathways forward, tuning in closely to the reactions audiences have to any new content.

So, what’s the pay-off for brands?

There’s a lot for brands to gain should they be successful in this space. First, there’s the potential to increase brand relevance – the emotional connection a brand builds with their audience, how the brand matters to them personally, and the ability to be thought of or noticed during a potential purchasing scenario.

Of course, this can be hard to accomplish if the brand isn’t visible in the places in which the audience spends their time and their money. For young people, now and in the future, the digital space they frequent could very well be the Metaverse. For this reason, the majority of marketers racing to use the Metaverse as a platform are those who are keen to connect with younger consumers.

As covered in Forbes, brands want to “target and keep Millennials and Gen X up-to-date and engaged with their products and technologies, and Metaverses allow them to target these audiences in a new way”. The Metaverse also affords big brands “previously unattainable opportunities because it’s in the digital world”. This could involve buying virtual limited edition goods for their avatar to wear, or trying out a new pastime or experience.

Find a Metaverse Expert

Unlocking the potential of the Metaverse will be an ongoing, if not endless, process, and real Metaverse pros will be needed; those who can take a creative approach to leading progress and ongoing advancements. Whether you want to transform how work gets done in your business, build new products and services, or market your brand, you’ll need good people with big visions for the future. Metaverse consultancy teams are starting to spring up in the US, Europe and in Asia, or you may also want to consider adding a Metaverse expert to your in-house team to get your talent positioned right.

This investment may pale in comparison to the many billions of dollars some companies are putting into the Metaverse. But no matter how big or small their first forays are, brands who are able to get on board with the Metaverse early could very well find themselves at the head of the pack – meaning they’re in pole position to utilise the best solutions as the pathway becomes clearer.

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