What is the Metaverse? With technology rapidly growing and shifting day to day, marketers and consumers alike are finding themselves having to shift along with it. The latest technology phenomenon involves the use of virtual and augmented reality and is referred to as the Metaverse. The metaverse is best described as a virtual universe accessed by virtual reality, parallel to the physical world where there are hybrid offices, video-based education, online social communities, and much more. Meta describes the Metaverse as: “A set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more” (TechRadar, 2021). The Metaverse is going to change how we live our everyday lives through social connections, entertainment, gaming, fitness, work environments, education, and most importantly commerce. How are brands and marketers going to stay relevant as they deep dive into yet another digital space? Opportunities in the Metaverse The Metaverse is an entirely new platform that most people are not familiar with. It offers marketers and brands the opportunity to be experimental, provide an immersive experience to their consumers, and most importantly be innovative. Prior to the Metaverse, brands were primarily marketing in two spaces: commercial and virtual. With the addition of the Metaverse, brands will need to be thinking about adding a third space to their marketing strategies, or they may quickly fall behind. The Metaverse will require that brands market in a different way in order to reach their consumers. Major brands are already beginning to take advantage of this by recreating their services and building branded characters and arenas within games. For example, Nike is quietly getting ready to release digital shoes, clothing, headwear, eyewear, bags, sports bags, backpacks, sports equipment, art, toys, and accessories for use in virtual environments. Another example, Bidstack, a video game ad tech company, recreated its outdoor billboard advertising and placed it on virtual billboards to engage gamers without disrupting their playing experience. Challenges in the Metaverse As exciting as the Metaverse may sound, it is important to keep in mind that having access to the Metaverse might be challenging for not only your brand but also many of your consumers. Not everyone has access to the necessary devices that are needed to enjoy the Metaverse such as virtual reality lenses and higher-end computers. This will greatly limit brands from mass marketing. Keeping the Metaverse top of mind will be important for brands as they go to build out their marketing strategies for the next few years. As more and more consumers adopt the use of virtual and augmented reality in their everyday lives, the need for brand presence within the metaverse will become vital to relevance and ultimately existence.
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