Marketing in the metaverse—what science fiction can teach brands about Web3

The metaverse is an unprecedented opportunity for business innovation, not just marketing transformation. New revenue opportunities lurk in the economies springing up around virtual real estate, avatars and the blockchain. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the luxury and sports apparel sectors, which are zealously leading the charge around new models for ownership, digital assets and loyalty engagement.

Brands are lucky that they’re some of the earliest of the bunch to get to play in the metaverse. They should know the canvas is as large as the knowledge and interest gap. To get consumers on board, brands must prove the value of this new dimension of experiences. They can track that value as purely monetary, and sure, brands in the throes of inflation are primarily concerned about consumers’ pockets. But look at the arenas of human experience most missed during the pandemic—movies, concerts, mass experiences—these are all things that transcend commodities to offer a new way of connecting and experiencing life. This tells us there’s currency in transformative experiences, in discovery and exploration, sometimes simply for exploration’s sake.

And the proof is in the pudding. Other creative industries including Hollywood and the gaming sector are already building art, experiences and entertainment that look like the sci-fi visions that got generations excited about the future when they were growing up. They’re emboldened by the promise of the technology and inspired by the genre to transform. It’s frustrating to see brands begin to fall behind the pack here, producing cookie-cutter marketing ploys that are just transaction schemes extended into a digital space.

When we think about the potential for business transformation in the metaverse, it encompasses so much more than putting a shiny layer on the point of sale. There’s a real opportunity here to turn fiction into fact and build novel Web3 experiences with the potential to truly get consumers excited about the value of this grand new experiment.

We’re sure the metaverse will bring some of our favorite sci-fi tech and experiences to life. Universal digital translators connected to virtual avatars could make navigating this growing “multiverse of metaverses” accessible to all. Time travel feels possible in a real-time, 3D photorealistic environment that can use the archive to replicate past experiences. And it’s not a stretch to imagine the new “digital life forms” that might be generated as brands play around with virtual pets in the metaverse.

For now? Stop simply replicating things we already have and use the metaverse as a canvas to start a wholesale revision of behavior. Otherwise, why are we leaning on sci-fi for our next big business scheme in the first place if we won’t take the challenge of the genre seriously?

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