What should marketers know before navigating there?

This post was produced in collaboration with Jeffrey Hau, Director of PRIZM Group.

The NFT and metaverse hype over the past year has reminded me of when social media first hit the market over 15 years ago. People coined the term Web3 to describe this new wave.

Marketers are suddenly overwhelmed with a lot of jargon rooted in the evolution of blockchain. While this may seem like overkill and used a lot in the PR and media industries at this very early stage, I believe that when it matures, brand involvement in the metaverse will surely define winners and losers.
Yes, the concept of metaverse is vague

Internet market leaders see the metaverse as the future of the Internet. Facebook is so serious about the idea that they even rebranded their company to Meta. Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet. The general understanding is that the Metaverse will be a series of interconnected worlds, as it will not be run by a single company.

Many people have tried to define what the metaverse is. I sum it up as an overlap of our physical and virtual worlds. Throughout the intertwined journey, although the 3D space is accessible on your PC or mobile devices, technologies such as VR and AR will spice up the experience.

To be frank, many of the items featured in the Metaverse aren’t new to the market. Google VR/AR Glass was launched in 2014 to test the waters, but it didn’t gain popularity. Second Life, a 3D virtual world much like the current Decentraland, gained some heat in 2003 but the momentum didn’t last long.

Advances in technology, particularly the capability of mobile devices, have created the perfect soil for the seeds of the metaverse to sprout. The metaverse is expected to exist not just in games, but in a wide range of things, from socializing to events, to shopping, and in a workspace.

pic2The new digital economy

NFTs have grown in popularity this year. They are another type of powerful push factor for the metaverse. People can purchase digital goods, such as virtual land, clothing, avatars, and collectibles with true asset ownership. This brand new digital economy allows everyone to freely transfer and use assets across different metaverse platforms. Many brands have already started working on NFT projects. For example, processed food and snack company Campbell’s collaborated with artist Sophia Chang to celebrate the company’s new label design. 100 NFTs with unique designs were minted to raise awareness of the rebranding campaign. The company also donated profits to a good cause.

Now I have a question. Should I set up a virtual world or an NFT for my brand? I’ll share ideas, hoping to provide some general guidance as we navigate the metaverse.
pic3Be relevant and creative

Generation Z, the natives of the metaverse, view traditional intrusive advertising as an invasion of their privacy. So when it comes to marketing on the metaverse, the idea should allow brands to naturally engage with this group of young digital natives. They are looking for an interesting interaction with the brand instead of promoting themselves. A good example is how Deliveroo attracted 11 million players of Animal Crossing, a popular Nintendo Switch online game that has become popular amid the pandemic. Avatars of virtual riders dressed in Deliveroo uniforms with face masks made a surprise delivery to players with virtual treats. In addition to this, players will also receive a discount code which they can use in the real world.

As for clothing brands, the metaverse seems very relevant to them. The avatar concept creates endless opportunities to dress, style and feed them. Almost any product marketed to humans can be sold to their virtual counterparts.
pic4 edited

The Golden Rule: Utility

If the metaverse and NFTs are to stay, they won’t just be trend driven. Instead, the request will be driven by its usefulness. Many NFTs launched by artists offer front row seats to their next concert or the rare opportunity to participate in the next MV. Usefulness can come in the form of a phygital experience (the combination of the physical and the digital), a new buzzword that refers to the merging of digital and real-world events. However, in addition to event or shopping privileges, another kind of utility that we will not omit is emotional value and provenance. It encapsulates the most fundamental ideology of NFTs, thereby enabling digital assets to acquire intangible value. Relevant questions will be of the type: What is the origin of this NFT? Who is the previous owner? Why is he hit in the first place?

Respect the community

One of the unique things about Metaverse compared to other marketing channels is the huge community supported by Web3 enthusiasts and believers. When a brand attempts to enter this space, the design and concept must adhere to the core values ​​of blockchain, the backbone of the metaverse and NFTs. It will be a good idea to activate your community by updating it on your project’s technology and ideology, and you will be surprised at the momentum you can gain with organic reach. Metaverse means you build a closer relationship with your followers than ever before, listening to their voices, constantly educating your audience about their participation, and having conversations with them. Ultimately, the metaverse is a community space.


I must have a plan

Brands are often persuaded to be first to market to gain the most PR value. I agree that brands should be encouraged to start with small experiments. However, just like other marketing initiatives, it should always be accompanied by a long-term strategy and game plan roadmap that aligns with the overall brand vision. Marketers must be careful in maintaining a consistent brand message in the real and digital world. A good case reference will be luxury brands like Gucci where a virtual bag for avatars in the metaverse was resold for a higher price than the actual physical bag in the store. You can start asking yourself a bunch of 101 questions. For example, do you understand if your brand’s target audience is hardcore metaverse gamers? Should your KPI just drive brand engagement or drive direct to avatar (D2A) sales? These questions will affect how you select which platforms to invest in.

Behind the scenes: technology

The final tip concerns security and the level of control brands have over their virtual assets. The tech team should either work with experienced specialists or be well equipped with knowledge in minting and storing their virtual assets. The virtual aspect of NFTs makes them prone to scams, including plagiarized NFTs and malicious pumps and dumps. Phishing sites are common, and brands need to reassure their audience that they fear fraud. Many of your followers could fall down the rabbit hole because of your brand, so sufficient education and guidance for newbies is definitely what a brand should provide. After all, brands crave a PR stunt, not a PR crisis.

The bottom line

Just like when people talked about the internet 30 years ago, it didn’t really grow with a script for the advancement we enjoy today. None of us have a crystal ball of where the Metaverse is taking us, so brands need to continue to have a full understanding of current trends and be prepared to jump on the Metaverse bandwagon anytime soon.

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About Prizm Group
Prizm Group is a global digital agency with offices in Asia and Oceania, providing bespoke, one-stop-shop marketing technology solutions that scale across all verticals and business types. We specialize not only in digital solutions, but also in synchronizing the integration of the trio to enable the formation of the ideal seamless digital experience that our customers’ customers are looking for. The team strives to offer seamless integration by applying smart dialogues with different adaptive marketing modules such as messaging bot, digital enablement, CRM and e-commerce capabilities to form a complete digital ecosystem.

Freeda S. Scott