Alexander is co-founder and CEO of Streamline Media Group; he writes about video games, diversity and inclusion, and the metaverse.
Outside of the real world, there are opportunities. The metaverse is an online virtual reality platform that allows users to interact with each other through avatars. It is a virtual world, an immersive experience and a virtual showroom.
Business models have changed and opportunities for online experiences, especially through remote work and retail, have expanded dramatically. People are chasing virtual experiences and all kinds of brands have been followed. The Metaverse seems to have caught the imagination of CEOs of some of the biggest and most successful brands in the world: Nike, Microsoft, Sony, Coca-Cola, Gucci, Apple. The roll call is impressive and spans sectors as broad as travel and commerce.
I believe that the brands that want to have a significant impact on their industries over the next ten years need to have a plan to expand both within the metaverse and in the real world, something called digital twinning. However, this plan isn’t just for big brands. The beauty of the burgeoning metaverse space is that any person, any brand can have an impact.
By building a presence in the Metaverse, you can increase brand awareness and reach and engage more customers.
Learn from the pioneers
Look at the brands rapidly entering digital spaces. Who are they? What are they up to? Who are their customers?
• Warner Bros. Pictures hosted a Roblox Event to celebrate the animated musical comedy film In the heart of the sea. The event featured an exclusive virtual tour of the film’s fictional New Bedford, Massachusetts, and included a virtual treasure hunt, virtual band practice session, and virtual dance class. The event also featured a virtual store with exclusive merchandise and a virtual mural of the lead character, Ishmael.
• Gucci also partnered with Roblox to create a virtual reality experience called “Garden Archetypes.” Visitors enter the garden and interact with the mannequins. Each person experienced the space differently, absorbing the exhibits’ pieces and leaving behind their own unique interpretation.
• Coca-Cola partnered with Tafi to create a virtual wearable for Coca-Cola’s first-ever non-fungible token. The Coca-Cola Friendship Box is a fully functional vending machine that you can buy on OpenSea. Once you’ve bought your own box, you’ll receive a unique code that unlocks a loot box inside. Inside the box is a futuristic Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket Wearable, Sound Visualizer and a Friendship card inspired by Coca-Cola’s trading cards from the 1940s.
• Nike acquired a company that makes digital collectibles called RTFKT. These collectibles are designed to be used in video games and social media platforms. The non-exchangeable tokens allow users to trade them like any other asset. The company’s goal is to create a new type of currency that can be traded online. This will help with the problem of scalability when it comes to cryptocurrency.
Plan your brand metaverse
Before jumping into the metaverse, pause to plan your entrance. Take the time to personally explore the digital world; create avatars and experience what other brands are making. While learning, keep these three points in mind:
1. Which trends will resonate most with your community?
Understanding the needs of your community, engaging them with the content they want, and nurturing their interactions are all practices rooted in video game culture. As a brand or company, you can apply these methods. Instead of creating one-time activations, build longer-term experiences that engage your community, foster loyalty, and support the journey.
2. Is the marketing team prepared?
Smart marketers know that it’s best to focus your marketing efforts on your loyal audience rather than go out of your way to reach everyone. This principle is the same when interacting with your audience on social media or in the metaverse. Don’t tell your marketing team to get into the metaverse; develop a strategy with them to stimulate engagement and success.
3. Where are the best opportunities to get in touch with customers through the metaverse?
Currently, you may feel like the metaverse is a niche space for your core audience. But let’s be clear, the metaverse isn’t limited to virtual reality (VR) headsets or extravagant tech setups. You can now access a shared, collaborative, immersive digital space from your mobile phone. Understanding where your core audience hangs out will help you know where to build or set up your metaverse space.
The metaverse as a tool
One thing to keep in mind when marketing your brand is that the metaverse is a tool just like social media applications, commercials, etc. You can use it to reach a broad consumer base, but it casting a smaller focused net will yield better results. The years you’ve spent cultivating your brand can easily be carried over to the metaverse, and you can create a truly interactive experience beyond replying to a tweet or posting a video. You don’t have to recreate what you’re doing. You just have to give your fans what they want.