Smart brands will take advantage of the opportunities it affords and will be ready for the potential challenges that will come with it.
Smart advertisers can capitalize on this fluid environment to expand their brand value for both core and prospective customers.
In December 2021, Bloomberg called the Metaverse “the next tech platform” and predicted that the global metaverse revenue opportunity will approach a whopping $800 billion by 2024. This represents a CAGR of more than 13%.
Forbes predicts that the CAGR will reach nearly 1 billion people by 2030.
This new digital space has already proven to be a rich environment where people play, interact, experience new things and even live a portion of their lives.
But branding and marketing to consumers within this entirely virtual world does not yet have a standard playbook.
No one has set standard ad units or performance-measurement foundations.
However, in this space without rules, adventurous CMOs are beginning to realize that they already have the materials necessary to enter and succeed.
Because the cost of entry is minimal, you can readily see what entry points and platforms work best. In this virtual environment, changes can happen quickly and on-the-fly.
Consider the metaverse your “idea lab” or “test kitchen” or even your ethnographic playground.
Chances are that some of your customers already inhabit the metaverse, so consider inviting a small group to be part of your official metaverse team.
The metaverse is ripe for experiment and innovation. Creating a presence there will be less expensive than a similar effort using traditional media channels.
What once had very high costs -- such as experiential marketing programs — can be done easily at relatively low expense.
Introducing a new brand or product or monetizing a new product will be easier, and experiments less costly, and thus more rewarding.
Another area of brand exploration is around symbolism — which is part and parcel of what the metaverse is made up of. Brands at their root are symbols, with a meaning/set of associations that you have already developed.
The metaverse allows you to create a larger, deeper, and more meaningful symbolic world around the brand in which your customers already believe.
That superior experience will draw more attention — and business — your way by creating a much more visceral connection, which is a proven way to deepen the bonds between brands and their fans.
For example, Hyundai recently launched Mobility Adventure, a metaverse space on the gaming platform Roblox, featuring Hyundai Motor's products and future mobility solutions. Hyundai has smartly used the metaverse to extend what their brands do and mean.
Think more about the experience and emotional payoff you can offer beyond your existing product line.
For example, H&M found success by launching a clothing recycling island on Animal Crossing, featuring "Game of Thrones" star Maisie Williams.
Climate-conscious fashion lovers may not actually buy clothes while they play, but they are buying into the brand's sustainability promise, which will likely boost both online and offline future shopping.
Within the metaverse, clothing companies can have fans create, try on and help decide future clothing items and even turn design ideas into NFTs.
It's true that the metaverse remains a relatively new concept for CMOs as well as their customers.
Recent Ipsos studies conducted among 1,000 Americans 18 or older show that despite the industry's excitement, the metaverse is far from a familiar term or space.
One finding is that 38% of respondents said they were familiar with the metaverse, which is lower than other tech-based terms tested, including "virtual reality" (69%), "cryptocurrency" (56%) or "augmented reality" (40%). However, associations are positive, if partial.
Many considered it to be “a new social networking platform,” or “a huge tech company that has developed consumer services in lots of different areas'' others defined it as “a new internet experience which links together multiple sites and platforms.”
One in three people describe the metaverse as “the future of technology” and 23% describe it as “a really exciting way to play and socialize,” while their feelings about the metaverse are mostly curious (41%), excited (35%) or optimistic (25%).
Be aware that the new universe also contains new hazards. Managing your message remains a priority, and especially in the virtual world.
Just as with conventional plans to enter a new market, brands should be mindful.
Consider the example of AMC Networks, and its popular show "Mad Men." Its social media platform was corrupted when companies and individuals hijacked character names en masse. Ultimately, AMC completely wiped the program from Twitter to regain control.
A similar fate could affect any brand if the environment is not controlled, monitored, and curated the same way you would manage a brand in the physical world.
The cautionary lesson is that brand control in a virtual reality (VR world), much like in the physical world, can help marketers redefine and reinforce brands — but control of the brand story is not always guaranteed.
The metaverse is the new Wild West — a world without set standards that rewards adventure. Consider it a space in which to experiment and grow, where your existing brand can prosper in ways you may not have imagined.
Your established success, your strong brand, loyal customers, and rigorous habits of management and monitoring can be your strongest asset in this new environment.
There's no time like the present to immerse in the metaverse.