You have likely heard it countless times by now – the metaverse is coming. Is the metaverse real, though? Should we be paying attention to metaverse marketing? Is this just simply a new fad that will be gone later this year (remember Google’s ambitious attempts with Glasses)?
These are all valid questions every marketer is asking themselves right now.
While exciting, the metaverse is still in its extremely early stages of development. It’s at the one-yard line of a very long field in front of it with a lot of unknowns still to uncover.
Even though the metaverse is in its infancy, there are several early adopters on the brand and marketing side that have already jumped into the emerging digital world to help boost sales, awareness, and engagement.
For those who are new to the growth and power of the metaverse, a recently published New York Times article sums it up perfectly:
With the popularity of the metaverse quickly on the rise, there’s no better time than 2022 to act and benefit, especially with sales and revenue in mind.
Creating An Interactive Customer Experience
In today’s world, consumers — especially those that are hard to reach like the Gen-Z demographic — are seeking an interactive, engaging brand and customer experience they can touch and feel. The metaverse provides the perfect platform to provide just that.
As a recent example, late last year, NASCAR took a massive jump into the metaverse through the Roblox platform. To start, NASCAR added a digital car into the platform’s popular Jailbreak game. It’s also selling apparel, which allows players to design their own uniforms.
The official press release announcing the collaboration between NASCAR and Roblox quoted Nick Rend, Managing Director of Gaming & Esports, NASCAR:
We’ve really begun to focus on expanding NASCAR’s presence in the metaverse and engaging with the virtual community in unique and creative ways. Roblox has one of the most passionate communities out there, so when we began collaborating with Jailbreak and its development team, Badimo, it only made sense to add an element of customization to the race car to get players involved and excited for this upcoming drop.
NASCAR isn’t the only brand providing an interactive metaverse experience, but they’re one of the first to make a full-time, multi-year commitment.
Making Products for a Branded Virtual World
Brands that are on the cutting-edge and make this move early on are the ones that will establish themselves as early winners in the metaverse goldrush.
Take Gucci for example — a long-time leader in the high-end, luxury fashion industry — jumped in on the action in 2021 by making its products available for purchase on Roblox.
The company, in collaboration with Roblox, rolled out its “Gucci Garden Experience” during a two-week period. By holding the event in the Roblox metaverse, the company was hoping to attract the attention of the Gen-Z demographic. And that’s exactly what happened. One exclusive digital Gucci bag sold for 350,000 Robux, or approximately $4,115.
While it was only a two-week experiment, Gucci proved that diving headfirst into the metaverse could have a positive impact on its bottom line. Expect more of the same from this luxury retailer in 2022 and beyond.
Looking Into the Future
Companies evolve – it’s the nature of business. Change is always constant.
The products and services you know and love today weren’t always available. And the products and services of tomorrow are still being created and invented as we speak.
There is no stopping brands from giving consumers a sneak peek into what the future holds.
Hyundai Motor is the perfect case study in just that.
In October 2021, Hyundai launched its metaverse space, Hyundai Mobility Adventure. The company called it “the first virtual experience developed by a global automotive brand to showcase future mobility lifestyles in the metaverse.”
Along with some of the company’s most popular vehicles currently in the market, the experience also featured “future mobility solutions” to provide a glimpse of what’s to come.
Within Hyundai Mobility Adventure, five virtual theme parks allow participants to “experience Hyundai Motor products and future mobility solutions, play games, and role-play to accomplish various tasks.”
There’s no shortage of how brands can use the metaverse to boost sales, engage their audience, and provide a more personalized experience than ever before.
With the metaverse picking up steam among brands and participants alike, expect plenty of developments as 2022 wears on. One day — probably not too long from now — we’ll look back and realize that the above examples laid the groundwork for many successful campaigns that followed.