Tag Archives: Brand extension

Branding in the Metaverse

In an average day consumers see thousands of different brands and messages. And all of them want our attention and money! But sometimes it’s too much and we long to escape all the noise. Perhaps a video game will give us that break from brands? Well, actually, no it will not. In fact, the metaverse is rapidly becoming a new platform for building brands and engaging consumers.

Let’s start with the metaverse. The metaverse is any kind of digital immersive experience on the Internet that is persistent, 3D, and virtual and it is not happening in the physical real world – or is it?  The promise of the metaverse gives us opportunity to play, work, connect, and buy. However, there is not just a single, universal metaverse. Instead there are multiple of these playgrounds/worlds and each has its own access, rules, and membership. If this sounds similar to video game settings, it is.

PC games have already created metaverse playboxes where players socialize with others such as Minecraft from Microsoft. Other entries include Roblox which allows players to create and play across numerous worlds. Another is Dencentraland – a 3D virtual world owned by users who create virtual structures and then charge others to visit. For example, Decentraland held an immersive Metaverse Festival for a music event featuring performances by Deadmau5 and others. Snoop Dogg holds private metaverse parties and offers exclusive NFTs.

Many brands are creating immersive branded experiences as well. For example, Nike has filed for patents for virtual goods and the opportunity to build virtual retail environments to sell those goods. Social media also plays a roll with virtual showrooms, fashion shows and dressing rooms. Other companies buy or rent digital space from the platforms. They can rent out digital land that they own to other brands, plus sell NFTs to consumers to build a new revenue stream. Metaverse Group, bought about 313,000 square feet in Decentraland’s fashion district (at a cost of $2.5 million) for a fashion week in March. Decentraland even has its own cryptocurrency for making transactions.

What should brands do to engage in the metaverse? It’s the same marketing principles as real life: Choose target markets, examine competitors, develop new products/services, and above all – be ready to pivot quickly.

After all, the virtual world is an extension of the real world, isn’t it?

Where will you go to play in the metaverse?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Define what the metaverse is for them.
  2. Poll students: List ideas for placing brands in the metaverse.
  3. Consider showing a video about the metaverse: https://youtu.be/99BnZ8js1_k
  4. Have students explore sites such as The Sandbox: https://www.sandbox.game/en/shop/?collections=26 , and Decentraland: https://decentraland.org/
  5. What are the strengths of the metaverse? Weaknesses? Opportunities?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a brand and then develop a marketing plan for expanding into the metaverse.

Source:  Alcantara, A. (3 March 2022). Marketers explore metaverse. Wall Street Journal; Balis. J. (3 January 2022). How brands can enter the metaverse. Harvard Business Review; Gunn., E. (2 February 2022). Building a brand in the metaverse. Fast Company; other news sources.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Game Companies are a Hot Acquisition Target

Are you ready for the metaverse? It might not be quite a reality yet, but it has certainly caught the attention of technology companies that are positioning themselves for growth in the industry. While the metaverse might be difficult to define, there is no doubt that technology companies view video games as an important strategy for growth and customer acquisition for the metaverse.

So far this year three companies have been on a buying binge:

  • Microsoft will pay $69 billion for Activision Blizzard.
  • Sony will buy Bungie for $3.6 billion.
  • Take Two Interactive is paying $11 billion for Zynga.

Whew – that’s a lot of activity and investment at more than $84 billion!

Activision makes some of the most popular game titles such as Candy Crush and Call of Duty. However, Activision has been accused by employees of discrimination and sexual harassment, making the purchase by Microsoft rife with potential employee issues.

Microsoft was also the previous owner of Bungie, buying the company in 2000 for $20 million for the top multiplayer shooter games – Destiny and Halo. In 2007, Bungie split from Microsoft and became a privately-held company. Bungie’s most popular game currently is Destiny 2 (which is available on multiple platforms including Xbox and Playstation.

All of these acquisitions are predicated on the assumption that people will be spending more time in the digital metaverse, including augmented and virtual reality.

We have already seen an increase in gaming during the pandemic as people look for new entertainment options. According to MarketWatch, video games are a bigger industry than movies and sports combined. According to IDC Group, global video game revenue was roughly $180 billion in 2020, with mobile platforms showing the most growth.

What will you do in the metaverse?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Which strategy are Microsoft and Sony using?
  3. Discuss with class: Why did Microsoft and Sony buy game makers?
  4. Show websites: Activision: https://www.activision.com/
  5. Bungie: https://www.bungie.net/
  6. Zynga: https://www.zynga.com/
  7. Check out Nielsen’s list of top video games: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/top-ten/
  8. What are the risks and rewards that will be faced by the acquiring companies?
  9. Which competitors will be most pressed by these acquisitions? Why?

Source: Tilley, A., Lombardo, C., Gring, K. (January 18, 2022). Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard, Wall Street Journal; Metz, C. (January 31, 2022). Sony to buy game maker Bungie in $.6 billion deal, New York Times; other news sources.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

CarBravo – General Motors Introduces its Used-Car Website

Shopping for a used-car is challenging these days. Not only is there a reported shortage of used-cars, but prices have been steadily rising at an estimated rate of 35%, making it hard for consumers to shop for a good used-car at a good price. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of ways – and websites – to shop for a used-car.

To access this rising demand, and to help resell its hundreds of thousands of used-cars, General Motors recently announced a new digital platform named ‘CarBravo’ that will be focused on selling its own used-car inventory.

GM officials stated that there are roughly 400,000 used vehicles available on an ongoing basis and its dealers sell 2.5 million used cars each year. Plus, GM and GM Financial have another 500,000 used cars each year to add to the mix.

According to industry analyst research, the U.S. used car market is more than two times the size of the new car sales. McKinsey estimates that U.S. consumers buy more than 39.4 million used cars each year, at a value of $1.4 billion. And used car sales are growing at a faster rate than new car sales, leading to an expanded market opportunity.

The biggest used car dealers currently are Carvana, CarMax, and Cars.com – all of which use their websites and locations to attract buyers and make it easy to both sell and purchase a used car. Plus, Ford has already entered into the consolidated used car market with its Ford Blue Advantage site.

CarBravo will offer online only purchase, dealership only purchase, and a combination of the two methods. However, one of GM’s biggest strength may be its reach – it has a network of 4,200 dealers across the nation, and those dealers have 400,000 used vehicles in inventory each year.

Where would you shop for a used car?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:  

  1. Poll students: Who has sold a car? Who has bought a used car? What was their experience?
  2. List the places that used cars can be purchased. Who are the direct competitors to GM? Indirect competitors?
  3. Show video discussing the used car market: https://youtu.be/OMHhOdQRXZM
  4. Discuss the purpose of GM’s new business – CarBravo.
  5. Ask students to develop a SWOT analysis for General Motors, focusing on opportunities and threats. What are the main risks and issues?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare CarBravo with a competitor.
  7. What are the points of difference?

Source: Brown, L. S. (January 12, 2022). Car and Driver. GM to launch CarBravo, its own used car sales website.; LaReau, J. (January 11, 2022). Detroit Free Press. GM launches massive used car website CarBravo, hopes to take on Carvana.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities