Not-So-Ready Player Brands

It's not surprising that the most visible push by brands into Web3 has been NFTs (non-fungible tokens), because marketers and their agencies like creating physical brand assets -- even if they're virtual ones. Whether it's an ad, branded content, or an ostensibly collectible premium sitting somewhere on the blockchain, marketers like leveraging assets, because it's something they understand, know how to control, and can measure a KPI for, more or less.

The problem is, when it comes to activating brand experiences in the metaverse, marketers and their agencies are once again out of touch with the consumers they're hoping get activated, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

The opportunity to receive limited edition NFTs from a brand ranked dead last among ten activations picked by U.S. consumers in the study.

On the other end of the spectrum, the top issue for Americans interacting with brands in the metaverse is something most marketers pay lip service to, but don't always understand how to comply with: respecting consumer privacy and data.

"Answer four questions before your brand jumps into the metaverse," Forrester's analysts recommend in the report ("Ready Player Brand: Marketing In The Metaverse").

"Much like in the early days of brand engagement on the web, mobile, and social media, brands are considering metaverse experiments in a discrete moment in time filled with promise and possibility juxtaposed against a niche user base," they explain, adding, "History tells us that broader consumer readiness and excitement will likely increase as capabilities, accessibility, and usability across the metaverse tech stack mature over the next decade. But before brands blindly jump in, four factors should align:"

  • Do I have a clearly defined metaverse business objective?
  • To what extent is my target audience engaging with extended reality?
  • Have I selected a platform partner with growth and scale?
  • Does my brand activation add value to the user experience?

With some few exceptions -- like the Fender activation unveiled at the Cannes Lions festival recently -- I'm happy to answer those four questions for most other marketers: No, not much, not really, nope.

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