Will the immersion of metaverse experiences render portions of the traditional marketer’s toolkit obsolete? It might already be happening, says Admind’s Morgan Karpiel-Nicholas for our deep dive into the metaverse. We need to take note of the pioneers – or risk being left behind.
While the metaverse may not be fully realized yet, that hasn’t stopped international brands such as Forever 21, Wendy’s, Netflix, Coca-Cola, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Clinique and Nike from creating targeted content for the first online 3D and extended reality (XR) environments to appear on our digital horizon.
Even before Facebook’s now-famous pivot to the immersive sphere, the term ‘metaverse’ was a trending catchphrase in 2021, and many view it as web3, the next evolutionary step in the way we communicate and share ideas and experiences.
For many of the brands now investing in metaverse strategies, the digital worlds offered by Roblox, Epic Games, Snap, NVIDIA and Unity (among others) present real opportunities to boost brand awareness and tap new revenue streams.
Going gold with NFTs: Dolce & Gabanna
For Dolce & Gabbana, the results have been dramatic. After releasing a nine-piece collection of NFT fashion designs as part of their September 2021 collection, they were able to sell the entire set for a groundbreaking $5.7m.
While Dolce & Gabbana took the idea of fashion NFTs to new levels of render quality and design detail, brands such as Nike and Burberry are enjoying higher-than-ever profit margins on metaverse offerings.
In the realm of virtual products and NFTs, fashion designers no longer have to worry about the problems (materials, production, overstocking and discounting) that plague them in the real world and can devalue their brands.
Taking brand experiences above and beyond: Nike
Due to the immersion of 3D, XR, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), there is no comparison between the brand experiences we create in 2D and non-interactive formats and those currently offered by metaverse pioneers.
For the generations of people around the world who now spend at least some part of their lives in interactive 3D gaming environments, our websites, articles, blog posts and videos are just not that engaging.
Recent blogging statistics offer proof. While blog headlines and SEO keywords still drive traffic to websites, visitors will only spend an average of 37 seconds actually reading content.
And, no matter how many emojis you add to the text of your social media post, it can’t compete with the sheer volume of visual and emotional information that is offered in a virtual setting, where every experience is crafted at the pixel level.
The 3D, experience-based content online right now is already making 2D and non-interactive brand experiences feel obsolete. There will always be massive amounts of useful 2D and non-interactive content online, but true and long-lasting impact will come from 3D immersion.
Nikeland is a bespoke Roblox world that has been carefully designed to communicate Nike’s mission and its brand values. The stated purpose of the world is to ‘turn sport and play into a lifestyle,’ and it demonstrates this by allowing visitors to experience Nike’s vision of a vibrant and connected world with parks, obstacle courses, tracks and courts.
For Roblox and Nike fans, especially those still suffering from pandemic shutdowns and social isolation, this is a gift. Nikeland’s designers have meticulously constructed a world filled with fun and competition that highlights Nike products, communicates brand values and makes people happy.
This is the true magic of immersive communication. This is quickly becoming the new normal, and brand messages that resonate in the digital world can inspire positive change in the real one.
Demonstrating true commitment: learning from the UN
Gabo Arora, filmmaker and founder of the UN’s Virtual Reality Lab, concluded that immersive stories engender empathy in ways that traditional media cannot. In terms of branding, this offers businesses a way to meaningfully connect with customers while promoting values such as diversity and sustainability.
By crafting experiences that combine fantasy environments and brand messaging with powerful inspiration for action in the real world, brands can move from informative to transformative communication.
Immersive technologies offer the potential for powerful ‘ah-ha’ branding moments. Immersive communication strategies should strive to achieve that as often as possible.
While this is an exciting time for consumers and their favorite brands, crafting brand experiences in XR environments requires careful consideration. Rather than focusing on recreating physical things that exist in the real world, brands need to express and share their values in the new one.