Nike, Axa, Balenciaga, Forever21 or even Carrefour, there are many brands that invest in virtual universes and not a day goes by without a new advertising effect. So much so that some forecasters are already imagining a total market for the meta-verse of about $ 700 billion by 2030!
Hard to believe for the largest number, because these metavers are still at an embryonic stage – it is clear at the moment the weak penetration of this universe with the general public. In addition, the weak signals that the market has sent out in recent months: Correction in the price of cryptocurrencies, declining enthusiasm around NFTs, etc.
So should you invest in the meta-verse when you are a brand? Is it really available for all brands? What do we have to gain by venturing there today? How do you avoid losing weight, both in the short and long term? And above all, what place will it occupy in tomorrow’s fire experience?
We often talk about accelerating the pace of change. The new thing about Web3 is that it matures at a furious pace and integrates brands right from the start. For today, these virtual universes need brands to gain credibility, just as much as some brands need them, for image and experiential reasons. Fifteen years ago, debates raged about Facebook’s profitability and the place that brands could occupy in it. It took at least 6 or 7 years for the iconic web 2.0 platform to create a profitable model.
In contrast, Web3 immediately offers a completely different paradigm, which makes it an essential playground for brands for at least three main reasons.
First and foremost, Web3 is based on a so-called “decentralized” philosophy and model. Against GAFAM’s dominance, it offers a democratic and open model in which all actors are welcome. Sébastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox (one of the reference platforms, with a game and social calling, among the metavers under construction), explains that in the long run “only 10% of the platform’s content will be produced by The Sandbox” – the rest is in the hands of the “creators”.
At the head of these creators: the brands. Today, there is a kind of similarity between platforms and brands, which now have a card to play by experimenting and offering an experience in their image that resonates with their DNA, their identity and their values. Genuine IRL cultural landmarks, they have the notoriety, the intangible assets and the financial means to offer original and tailored experiences that fulfill the wishes of new Web3 explorers. The fashion and luxury industry is at the forefront in this area, as is what Louis Vuitton was capable of with League of Legends, but many other sectors are gradually following suit.
So exactly as far as these new explorers of Web3 are concerned, they are younger, more connected, in search of experiences and shared moments. There is therefore a significant playing field and conquest for brands, which must be present where their consumers are, to seduce the Z and Alpha generations. Then it’s a matter of taking a step forward, by creating a link to tomorrow’s consumers – also the day after tomorrow.
Finally, Web3 operates on a more mature business model than previous iterations. The issue of value creation and its sharing between stakeholders is central to this model. Creating communities (the famous DAOs) with their own tokens and cryptocurrencies, the logic behind “play-to-earn” or even rewarding the attention of Internet users (see the model of the Brave web browser and its proprietary currency, BAT) are all examples of this financial maturity. Of course, this does not mean that all Web3 business models are destined for success! As with any entrepreneurial adventure, only time will tell which models will hold their own over time …
So of course, venturing out into the meanders of Metaverse and its ecosystem presents its share of risk. Brands must ask themselves the right questions: Can my brand asset be projected in Web3? How can I offer a consistent experience across all the channels and contact points already activated by my brand? Or is it possible to project oneself responsibly into this universe, so as not to betray the fire-commitments already made elsewhere with regard to CSR?
However, it seems that it will soon be more risky for a brand to stay away from Web3 than to invest in this space – in a thoughtful and responsible way, and of course with good support! Experimentation and exploration are still allowed, and the possibilities are many, with the aim of not only investing in a platform, but to offer real experiences and content in accordance with the brand strategy.
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