For some, the metaverse is a technological gadget between geeks, for others it is the most important digital development. For well over ten months, the metaverse has hovered omnipresent over the heads of the marketing and technology world. But despite growing enthusiasm, many marketers struggle to truly understand the dimensions of this new world. This is not surprising, because there is not yet a uniform definition. Rather, it is a vision that is beginning to take shape…
Essentially, the metaverse represents a seamless convergence of our physical and digital lives, a virtual community where users and brands can work, play, relax, do business and connect.
Four key developments can be identified, you will discover what is already possible in the Metaverse, far beyond games and entertainment.
Our daily life and habits are moving more and more towards the digital world. This leads to an expansion of the self, but also themes such as sports and wellness, to a new digital level. The tendency to digitally and virtually deepen real relationships through emotional elements is also part of the metaverse. In role-playing worlds like “IMVU” and “Second Life,” thousands of people meet every day to dress up, party or date virtually.
Brands should seize the opportunity that the metaverse offers them as a creative mechanism: Passive consumers become creative actors who act as active brand ambassadors by creating shared experiences in the metaverse. This creative force lays the foundation for a new creative economy full of inspiration, individuality and imagination. In the game “Roblox”, more than 9.5 million creators create new experiences on all kinds of themes and fields for more than 54 million daily active users.
Whether it’s virtual events, travel, real estate, or border spaces between the real world and the virtual world, the metaverse is redefining what traditional gathering places like home, an event, or holidays. This gives brands and users completely new opportunities for shared experiences. Ariana Grande’s “Fortnite” concert, which brought Fortnite players together in a new reality in August 2021 as in-game shows, is a good example.
Interest in virtual property continues to grow and indicates that users want to own their own property in the metaverse. This creates a whole new market for buying and managing virtual real estate and land. Prices are also exploding in the metaverse, with some land selling for more than $4 million.
Inspired by video games, many brands are already using the metaverse to entertain, communicate, market and even design products. Pioneers in immersive experiences are Nike with Nikeland and Vans with Vans World.
The metaverse will also revolutionize commerce in the more or less long term. Shopping experiences are becoming more intuitive, immersive and engaging thanks to digital stores and AR and VR technologies. Luxury brands in the fashion industry, such as Burberry and Gucci, are experimenting with digital replicas of their stores.
The Metaverse also reveals some exciting developments in work: While remote work has long been common in real life, the Metaverse pushes the boundaries even further. The result is a completely new way of working, as people will meet from home via their virtual avatars and collaborate in virtual offices. With Microsoft Mesh and Facebook Horizon Workrooms, there are already the first tools to do this.
Attitudes and beliefs from real life not only extend to the digital world, but also take on enormous significance there. This already starts with hyper-realistic digital identities: users want to represent their identity in the virtual space with all their physical characteristics, character traits and points of view in the most detailed way. They want to interact with like-minded people.
New communities emerge, called DAO (short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization), which means decentralized autonomous organization, which is based on common values and executes projects together. It is important for brands to capitalize on this trend. Because in addition to entertainment and commercialization, the metaverse also offers a new place for political, ecological or social activism. For example, Greenpeace drew attention to the consequences of climate change in “GTA V”, one of the biggest metaverses in the gaming world. Los Santos, which is undoubtedly one of the most famous cities, has been modified to show the real effects that climate change can have.
The potential of the Metaverse for engagement, community building, self-advocacy and commerce is enormous. Brands that manage to seize these opportunities by developing and expanding each of these areas can be sure to benefit from the young and digitally savvy.