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Did someone say “Metaverse”?

I still remember back in 2018 watching “Ready, Player One” and thinking, “Wow, imagine if you really could live and interact with people in a virtual world without them really knowing who I am.”

Fast forward 5 years and day by day this is growing into a space which everyone wants a piece of. So, what is the Metaverse you ask? Well in simple words the metaverse is a virtual environment where people can create and build their own personal avatars or brands and then interact with others. So why has the world gone crazy about the introduction of a virtual space? Well, Doug Thompson brilliantly explained in an article that “We use the term as a proxy for a sense that everything is about to change.” And boy, has it changed. We have been exposed to an environment which opens up new avenues for commerce and creation while simultaneously allowing the user to live the best version of themselves without the fear of people knowing who they are in reality.

So, what is the metaverse built on? In short it is a virtual world which allows for the creation of virtual realities and economies whilst using hi- tech spatial technology and gaming to allow users to create and interact in different realities. To do this they need to purchase NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens), which are virtual spaces bought using cryptocurrencies to build or setup your shop or virtual home. These NFT’s are used to establish ownership of digital assets almost like buying a property virtually. As marketers, the introduction of the metaverse has resulted in many brands jumping to be part of the first ones to enter and make claim in this space.

But what does marketing in the metaverse really mean for the future of advertising? Well, for marketers the metaverse poses new opportunities to move brands in different directions. It presents the opportunity for brands to communicate with and reach consumers in new ways in an always-on environment as opposed to a world ruled by economies which go to sleep. This presents marketers with the opportunity to test, learn, fail and then swiftly change direction which will be pivotal to the success of many brands in this space. Now is the time for brands to think about the future and how do they turn their current brands into more digitally accessible brands and how does this impact on them in terms of:

  1. Culture – who they are trying to communicate with and what is their virtual nature like
  2. Commerce – how they would need to adapt their monetization strategies
  3. Purpose led Marketing – how do they build tangible credibility with people who are looking for more than just the norm, whilst keeping their presence in the real world closely connected

The metaverse is about to disrupt everything. The brands who adapt and grow will most likely thrive in this booming economy and it makes sense the idea of socializing or meet with others and feeling like they are really there with them in person. This brings with it a certain appeal especially in these [post]-pandemic times where face-to-face interaction is limited.

Reasons to pay attention

Right now,everyone seems to have strong opinions about metaverse and its components, including how it will scale. There are however some good seasons for brand to take notice...

Audiences are already in the metaverse

Some gaming and virtual world platforms already have user bases in the hundred of millions e.g., Fortnite (215m monthly users), Minecraft (135m) and Roblox (70m).

MediaCom has developed several activations for clients such as Ally in virtual worlds including Animal Crossing.

Brand immersion and conversion

The opportunity for brands in the Metaverse is less one of messaging, but instead on of experience - and one that is constantly improving.

MediaCom's work for Pokémon's 25 year anniversary showed how the metaverse could be used for more immersive storytelling

Gaining a first mover advantage

Trailing tech with a business-oriented learning agenda helps understand how to best approach, deploy, and outmaneuver the competition when it's ready to take off.

We have been able to move brands like Mars, The Cola-Cola Company and Sky's ability to scale to new tech from two years to two months.

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