By Nandini Bhupat
The notion of the metaverse has been making headlines for many months now. Much more than a passing fad, 3D virtual universes herald a shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, which will have a significant influence on the economy and our way of life.
The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered, persistent 3D virtual worlds that support continuity of identity, history, objects, and payments, can be experienced synchronously by an effectively unlimited number of users,” says Matthew Ball, author of the book Metaverse Primer and speaker at the Orange Silicon Valley Hello Show in early October 2021.
The phrase “metaverse,” which is a contraction of “meta” and “universe,” refers to a virtual environment originally introduced in the science fiction novel Snow Crash in 1992. The virtual universe Second Life, which became popular with individuals, corporations, and brands that investigated its usage to build virtual storefronts, plan events, offer training, perform marketing, and so on, gave the notion a prominent embodiment in 2006. Second Life, on the other hand, was pushed into oblivion by the introduction of social networks.
For decades, video games have sought to provide players with a more immersive and social experience by adding elements that enhance player engagement. Games such as Dark Age of Camelot, Eve Online and, more recently, Fortnite, have created metaverse features by immersing its players in a persistent universe that allows you to personalize the landscape, avatars and the game.
Brand advantages of MetaVerse
What’s interesting and inspiring about the metaverse is that nothing about it is completely fixed in stone. The metaverse has the potential to be a huge opportunity for marketers, but only if they prioritise customers and their experiences above all else.
This, however, will not be a simple task. Many companies will have to abandon their traditional marketing methods and routines to flourish genuinely in the metaverse. Interception must be forgotten by brands. Consumers in the metaverse will seek immersive experiences where brand integration must do more than just show up, maybe more than they have on any other platform to date. Brands will need to have a real-time live presence with a significant impact, where they are providing something of value to the customer in a genuine, non-intrusive manner.
This carries considerable risk, but it also has the potential for a large payout. As a result, the metaverse’s blank canvas—and the numerous packed platforms that are adopting its concept—allows both businesses and creators to experiment with experiences and content that previously seemed beyond their reach.
Here are some ideas on how companies might take advantage of the metaverse’s early days to expand their business:
Revitalise brand perceptions by reaching out to new audiences
Brands typically struggle to reach and engage with specific consumers in today’s increasingly fragmented media landscape. For example, many of them want to have a positive impression on younger generations. Because many metaverse-based platforms are dominated by a younger audience, the metaverse gives a wonderful potential for these businesses. Roblox Games, a major user-created gaming platform, has over 42.1 million daily active players, with over half of them under the age of 16. Brands may implement tactics to not only gain recognition by younger audiences but also to impact the perception of their brand within this highly valued demographic, by successfully and honestly being a part of the metaverse.
Build long-lasting relationships
The audiences who participate in metaverse-based platforms are among the most loyal and enthusiastic of any. As a result, marketers must add something valuable to the consumer or their experience to succeed in their metaverse initiatives. Brands can create a beneficial and enduring connection if they do it regularly and authentically. Brands must take time to be fully immersed in each platform, knowing the language, slang, and culture. If they do, companies may begin to deliver value to customers by working with them, empowering them, becoming patrons, rewarding them, or creating rich 1-to-1 experiences that connect the user to the brand—all while respecting the user’s unique and personal experience.
Last but not the least, It’s never simple to stand out, and in our age of overabundance of media, it’s gotten even more challenging recently. The metaverse, on the other hand, might be a dreamland for individuals who need to stand out in their field. The possibilities are boundless, and the firms who think and act the most creatively will get customers’ attention and appreciation in the metaverse. Brands may use the metaverse to build new brand tales as well as creating virtual worlds and characters. Brands might also choose to capitalise on and bring to life their already well-known distinguishing assets.
Fashion businesses have just found a place in virtual worlds, and as metaverse-based platforms expand, so will these opportunities. Balenciaga, for example, has found success in the famous game Fortnite by releasing fresh styles in the large virtual universe.
The metaverse is a brand-new concept that isn’t going away anytime soon. It will disrupt everything we know about marketing on the internet and on social media, from work meetings to e-commerce, travel experiences to fundamental social interactions with people. As marketers and brands, we must be open and ready to seize opportunities as they arise.
(The author is director, brand communications, Ikokas Digital Technologies. Views expressed are personal.)