The past two years have created a paradigm shift in the way businesses operate. From the way companies connect with customers to their employees, most business interactions have shifted online. Face to face human conversations have been replaced with Zoom and Google Meet calls that simply feature people in tiny boxes on a screen, making it easy to lose out on that individualistic connection that comes with in-person communication. This is where the metaverse comes into play.
What is the metaverse?
Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans to rebrand Facebook as Meta during a virtual reality conference late last October, the term metaverse seemingly became the new buzzword. Of course, even though everyone was talking about it, not a lot of people knew what exactly it meant. Most people likened it to a virtual reality that is reminiscent of something straight out of a cyberpunk sci-fi book or movie. And that’s probably because the metaverse isn’t a relatively new concept. In fact, the term metaverse was coined in 1992 by author Neal Stephenson in his sci-fi book Snow Crash, which follows his protagonist Hiro who jumps between Los Angeles and the virtual Metaverse.
In reality, the metaverse is simply a developing network of 3D digital worlds that one can travel through. Imagine if a customer living a thousand or even a million miles away, could simply walk into your store, browse through your products and have a face to face conversation with you or your employees. Well, with the metaverse you can. The metaverse integrates the technology of the future, namely augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D holographic avatars to create an interaction-based hyper-realistic alternative universe.
To the large majority, the metaverse seems like a concept that has only recently been making waves but a few of the most popular metaverse platforms, such as Roblox and Fortnite, have been the go-to digital playing ground amongst Gen Z and the younger Millennial audience for years. With nearly 43.2 million daily active users on Roblox and 350 million registered users on Fortnite, these metaverse platforms present a whole new market space to connect with an untapped audience, Gen Z. With this generation slowly entering the workforce and growing in charge of their daily wants and needs, brands from across the world have been collaborating with these metaverse platforms to virtually engage with these new customers.
How Brands Have Used Metaverse
To market their new movie ‘In The Heights’, Warner Bros. collaborated with Roblox to host an immersive launch party at a virtual neighborhood that mirrors Washington Heights in New York where the movie is set. Sports footwear brand Vans teamed up with Roblox to craft a 3D skatepark known as Vans World where users can practice their skateboarding skills and try on and acquire exclusive virtual Vans gear. Nike on the other hand jumped into the metaverse by launching Nikeland on Roblox, a place where visitors can compete in games such as tag, the floor is lava and dodgeball, and also design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials.
Other metaverse platforms such as Decentraland and Sandbox also open doors to infinite possibilities that brands of the 21st century are yet to explore. Whether you’re in hospitality, retail or tech, in order to effectively market your brand it is important to identify your target audience and understand how they would like to interact with you in the metaverse. Once you come up with an idea that can translate with your brand story and product to the virtual world, it’s only a matter of picking the right platform for your metaverse debut. Since Fortnite has a primarily younger user base, pop culture brands such as Marvel, Star Wars and DC often partner with the gaming platform to promote their movies and products.
In this rapidly expanding new digital world known as the metaverse, the marketing possibilities are endless. With Zuckerberg championing the metaverse as the mobile internet’s successor, and companies such as Microsoft investing heavily into metaverse-centric acquisitions, the new platform is only primed to grow. As Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” So, are you ready to imagine a world beyond this reality?