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:
- Poll students: Define what the metaverse is for them.
- Poll students: List ideas for placing brands in the metaverse.
- Consider showing a video about the metaverse: https://youtu.be/99BnZ8js1_k
- Have students explore sites such as The Sandbox: https://www.sandbox.game/en/shop/?collections=26 , and Decentraland: https://decentraland.org/
- What are the strengths of the metaverse? Weaknesses? Opportunities?
- 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.