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What Is The Metaverse, And What Should Marketers Know About It?

  • Madison Vettorino

If social media didn’t blur the lines between reality and the digital world enough, the metaverse certainly will. The next iteration of the web will revolutionize the way consumers interact with each other—and with brands—and it’s coming. 

A 1992 science-fiction novel by Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse”; it gained momentum in 2020 and 2021. The term “metaverse” itself refers to an online, shared space where virtual, augmented, and physical reality intersect. 

While the metaverse of the future isn’t here quite yet, companies are already developing metaverse-like elements. Some of these include Epic Games’ popular Fortnite, Roblox, and Animal Crossing.

What Is The Metaverse? 

While including the metaverse into marketing plans is increasingly relevant for brands, a recent study revealed that consumer education lags. Despite growing tech dependence, only 38% of consumers are familiar with the “metaverse,” according to a report conducted by Wunderman Thomas Intelligence. 

Still, Google Trends indicates that the metaverse garnered significant attention, especially in April 2021 when it reached a rating of 100 (which signals the peak popularity of the term). Just six months prior, it was rated a four. These ratings reveal how rapidly the concept of the metaverse is gaining momentum. While we’re currently only able to experience the internet when we seek it out, the new devices, technologies, and connectivity will immerse us in it. 

The term metaverse itself combines the prefix “meta” and the word “universe.” Meta means beyond, making the “metaverse” a place beyond the universe. This term describes a future form of the internet that will feature shared, 3D virtual spaces linked to a perceived virtual universe.  

Here’s What Marketers Should Know About The Metaverse

Because the metaverse is a culmination of augmented, virtual, and physical reality, there’s an opportunity for brands to drive impact and reach consumers. Similar to how social media emerged and suddenly, brands needed a presence on the platforms, brands should expect the metaverse to become part of their marketing plans sooner rather than later.

Marketers should consider the metaverse another place they will be able to sell consumers on their products—but this will require the brand to have a robust understanding of what they offer in an increasingly virtual world. Companies should be prepared to conduct a “SWOT” analysis and answer questions including:

  • What are our brand’s strengths in a virtual world?
  • What are our brand’s weaknesses in a virtual world?
  • What opportunities does our brand have in a virtual world?
  • What threats present themselves to our brand in a virtual world?

Some major brands are already experimenting with how the future of the internet can drive impact for them. For instance, French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently released a capsule collection featuring the League of Legends Universe. This collection even included unique Prestige skins for Qiyana, the League of Legends Champion. 

There’s also an opportunity for alcohol brands to make an impact in the metaverse; ask Stella Artois. The alcohol brand teamed up with platform ZED RUN, a digital horse racing platform that has 100,000 users internationally. The partnership allowed Stella Artois to craft a set of horse breeds for ZED RUN, including themed skins and a 3D racetrack.

The Metaverse And Brand Experience

While there is an opportunity for brands to advertise in the metaverse, companies should consider getting further involved. For example, when Nintendo’s Animal Crossing recently experienced an in-game furniture craze, Ikea Taiwan was able to recreate its catalog in the game. The result was a link between the game and Ikea’s store. 

In addition, Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Philippines could even get consumers into their physical stores, thanks to Animal Crossing. The brand offered real-world rewards for customers who visited the company’s island and spotted ‘the Colonel.’ The metaverse could offer innovative, creative brands an opportunity to drive foot traffic to their physical locations due to promotions like this.

Contact us today to learn more about how Inspira Marketing Group can help prepare your brand for the future of marketing!

SOURCES: 

Is the metaverse really the new frontier for marketing? | The Drum  

Stella Artois Gallops Into The Metaverse With Horse Racing NFTs | Forbes  

Louis Vuitton Partners With Riot Games For ‘League Of Legends’ World Championship | Forbes

Marketing in the Metaverse | Leap Group Network 

More Than A Trend: Entering The Metaverse Will Become A Necessity For Brands | Forbes   

Google Trends: Metaverse | Google

The Metaverse Is Coming And It’s A Very Big Deal | Forbes  

Just 38% of consumers familiar with ‘metaverse’ despite growing tech dependence, report finds | Marketing Dive