Written by Alex Macura –
There is a growing awareness that brand-building in the metaverse can shift your marketing onto a new playing field.
Or is it multiverse?
With all the commotion surrounding the metaverse – especially within the marketing industry – there’s a fair amount of uncertainty and confusion.
And that’s understandable, as we’re all still figuring things out as we go.
But whether you like it or not, you need to buckle in.
According to Gartner, it won’t be long before a quarter of the world spends an hour or more each day in the metaverse.
Doing what, you cry?
Well, they’re doing whatever they usually do in the real world, according to Cryptoslate: their jobs, buying stuff, learning stuff, collecting stuff, and playing. Lots of playing.
And, it is potentially big money for businesses. Bloomberg Intelligence analysts forecast the scope for market opportunity is around the $800 billion mark.
So, now that I have your attention, here’s how to set your brand up for the long game that is the metaverse.
What Does “Metaverse” Even Mean?
I hear you; this is a lot to take in. So, in the words of Maria von Trapp, “Let’s start at the very beginning.”
Let’s break it up into “meta” and “verse.” Meta has several definitions, all of which fit perfectly here.
First, it can refer to something self-referencing or self-aware, like data about data (think: metadata).
Then, the Greek definition of meta is “beyond” or “after,” as in, the next thing, implying progress.
Verse, in this instance, is a shortening of the “universe.”
So, in essence, the metaverse is a progressive universe in which you exist as a highly self-aware avatar that allows you to engage and experience the 3D world beyond what you are capable of in the current “real world.”
That’s my definition of it, anyway.
While it might sound a bit like Second Life has had, well, a second wind, it’s not.
It’s not quite “Ready Player One” vibes. It’s actually a bunch of different 3D worlds hosted on different world-building platforms.
We call this the multiverse.
How Does It All Work?
Thanks to a more decentralized web 3.0 – the next evolution from web 2.0 – you can create content.
How is that different from web 2.0?
With web 2.0, centralized entities have power over access to the service.
Web 3.0, on the other hand, allows you to own, control, and monetize this content through blockchain and cryptocurrencies on the metaverse.
Brands get to choose where they want to exist in the metaverse.
They can have different styles and forms simultaneously active in many of these virtual lands, depending on who they want to reach, how they want to reach them, and with what product.
But how do we prevent the metaverse from turning into a lawless mess with all this freedom?
With the launch and growth of Metaverse Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) – we see the combination of blockchain and metaverse revolutionizing how crypto, autonomous governance, and community involvement are applied.
Why Should I Care About Brand Building In The Metaverse?
Aside from the potential to make big bucks, it is a great way to grow a connection with your customers.
There is tremendous brand power in owning the omnipresent experience with your client.
As with all things post-2020, authenticity and personalization are key, so this is a great opportunity to grow both.
It opens up a new, more effective way to build closer relationships between brand and customer.
Plus, brands can afford to be a bit more creative, experimental, and personalized in this space than in more traditional platforms. And immersive experiences and interactions are unparalleled in the metaverse.
How To Build Brand In The Metaverse
I’m not going to lie; brand-building in the metaverse has its challenges. But, if you get it right, you will reap the rewards.
Blockchain technology has never looked more attractive. NFTs are digital assets – think art, money, or even fine wine – stored on the blockchain and cannot be replicated or overwritten.
As with real-world assets, there is an original. There may be reproductions, but there’s but one master version.
In the metaverse, the NFT is authenticated by metadata and time stamps – code stored on the blockchain.
In this way, the NFT is a thing that can be owned, traded, bought and sold, collected, shared, desired, and admired – all within the virtual world you exist in.
Through this avenue of NFTs, brands can ramp up revenue and build.
And it’s not just the typical tech-heavy brands who are doing so. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Coca-Cola have already set up shop in the metaverse and are advertising products with great success to this plugged-in consumer base.
So, how do you do it?
Get Your Head In The Game
You can take this literally if you consider brand-building on Roblox, as Gucci did.
However, let me state that this is not something only big brand budgets can afford.
Content creators for brands of all sizes have the opportunity to build awareness in the metaverse.
You just need to wrap your head around what that will look like in virtual reality. I can’t even guide you here, as the options are limitless.
Start thinking about immersive experiences – things that you do in the real world that you’d like to replicate in the virtual world.
What does your target audience want to do in this space?
Watch a movie with friends, go to a concert, walk down a busy street? No problem. You can even give a corporate presentation in a virtual space, or do promos and branded giveaways.
However, before you get too carried away, I offer this word of caution: Keep your feet on the ground and your thoughts collected.
All marketing – in the metaverse or terra firma – needs to be aligned with your core branding objectives.
Do your research. Who is your target audience? What problem do you solve for them?
Does your target audience spend any time in the metaverse?
Does your brand benefit from radical marketing digitization? Don’t lose your head. Stay true to your brand objectives.
Explore Brand Gamification
The beauty of NFTs is that they can be integrated with most games.
That makes them a great way to reward loyal customers with desirable, one-off digital assets.
Never underestimate the power of desirability and scarcity – even in a digital world! Brands can use this innate trait in all of us to grow awareness, align messaging, incorporate brand values, and gain customer attention.
Create Immersive Experiences
I know I’m not the first to beat this drum. But it’s one of the ways that you build a brand in the metaverse.
How do you do this? You think about the sales process in the real world and then create out-of-this-world experiences that support that journey in the virtual world.
Your sales teams can give live presentations and demos to prospective clients in a bespoke location of your making.
Avatars can try on your products virtually and play the game in their bespoke branded clothing.
Not only is it cool, but it is also a passive way of growing your brand with other players.
They can sell, trade, and buy virtual versions of your products in their world with NFTs. They can display their NFT art in 3D galleries of their own design.
You can even use the metaverse for internal brand-building tactics.
Training, staff onboarding, and meetings can be hosted in a 3D space for optimal immersion. Rewards and recognition can be given through NFTs and cryptocurrency.
Think scarcity, think collectibles, think real emotion.
Create experiences that are highly immersive and build from there.
Hunker Down And Wait It Out
As with all emerging tech trends, it’s tough to know what direction this will take. At this point, you can still take a bit of a breath and observe.
Check out what the competition is doing. See what’s working, adopt, adapt, and improve.
Don’t wait too long, though, as you don’t want this train to pass you by.
The threat of getting lost in the metaverse crowd could be as challenging as being on page two of Google in the next few years!
The metaverse offers a unique, fresh, and highly immersive platform for brands to connect with their customers in a whole new way.
It’s set to become the new powerhouse of digitized marketing, from selling digital assets and merch to immersive team meetings.
As with all things marketing, get clarity on how your brand can feature in this space without losing its authentic brand voice. Keep your eye on the future of immersive brand building without losing sight of current marketing objectives.
So, whether your stance is to plan, play, or passively observe, the metaverse will not be ignored.
Thankfully, it is open to big and small brands. So get started!
Featured Image: thinkhubstudio/Shutterstock