The metaverse represents an opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in immersive new ways. An array of companies from Nike to Walmart are now launching virtual experiences, products, and activations.
As a copywriting expert, I analyze the trends in how retailers, auto brands, fashion labels, and other businesses are strategically entering various metaverse environments. While early, these forays provide valuable insights into marketing’s evolution.
Expanding Brand Exposure Through Virtual Real Estate
Owning digital real estate allows hosting immersive brand activations or experiences. Fashion brand Clinique created an island in The Sandbox for scavenger hunts and games centered on its products. The opportunities for creative brand building are endless.
Plots in popular metaverses also offer exposure simply by locating brand assets adjacent to highly trafficked spaces. And virtual real estate can appreciate, offering ROI for early movers.
Engaging Users Through Dynamic NFT Experiences
Brands are beginning to leverage NFTs for more immersive marketing by attaching utilities, benefits, and community access. Some Adidas NFTs unlock physical apparel, while McDonald’s MCTokens provided virtual food items.
Dynamic NFT artworks reacting to external data via smart contracts open new engagement formats. The spatial web enables scattering collectibles across locations to drive omni-channel discovery.
As AR and VR grow more prevalent, branded NFTs with embedded 3D models or AR activation capabilities can bridge real and virtual.
Building Hype Through Limited Virtual Goods
Several apparel brands have auctioned limited edition virtual wares as a marketing play, even before fully launching metaverse retail. Gucci sold an NFT handbag for over $4,000, while Dolce & Gabbana moved a virtual glass NFT for $1.1 million.
By pre-releasing exclusive virtual items, brands generate buzz and signal their embrace of future digital commerce. Tapping into digital fashion also targets younger demographics already expressing and spending on avatars.
Even museums like the Louvre offer virtual visits and sell NFT ticket access. Exclusivity builds desire for virtual experiences and goods.
Sponsoring In-World Events and Destinations
Brand sponsorships are coming to metaverse events and gathering spaces as a new promotional channel. Kentucky Fried Chicken sponsored a virtual cabin in the Zepeto metaverse.
Walmart created its own virtual shopping center in the Roblox universe. Marriott held a scavenger hunt in The Sandbox, driving traffic to branded hotel assets.
As immersive worlds grow more lifelike and trafficked, brands want visibility. Integrating experiences into popular spaces generates significant impressions.
Turning Physical Stores Into Virtual Venues
Retail brands are also replicating flagship stores within metaverse environments as interactive virtual facsimiles. Companies like Gap and Clinique offer digital clothing shops.
These virtual storefronts allow brands to retain their physical world identities while still feeling endemic to the metaverse. Users can browse and try on digital apparel, getting the in-store experience.
Some digital garments even integrate real-time inventory availability thanks to IoT connectivity, blurring virtual and physical purchasing.
Automotive Companies Explore VR Showrooms
Several car manufacturers have built virtual reality dealership showrooms for customizing and test driving vehicles through avatars before purchase.
Hyundai enables buyers to visualize cars from all angles in VR. Nissan partnered with The Sandbox to showcase branded race cars. Luxury brand Genesis launched an island with drivable vehicles.
This allows automotive brands to simulate the tangible showroom atmosphere remotely, while collecting user data to refine designs based on how customers engage models.
Brands diving into the metaverse must balance hype versus practical marketing. Virtual land acquisition, NFTs, digital goods releases, and in-world sponsorships provide promising but experimental avenues for connecting with consumers.
While still nascent, these innovative brand activations start laying the groundwork for the hybrid physical-virtual commercial engagement to come. And lessons learned now will pay dividends as immersive platforms mature into mainstream successes.
By intelligently converging physical identity with interactive virtual extensions, brands can meet customers where they already are – while also exploring roads to where they’ll be in the metaversal future unfolding.
Are brands in the metaverse?
Yes, many major consumer brands are now establishing a presence in metaverse environments. Nike, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and McDonald’s are some big brands exploring the metaverse.
What types of brands are in the metaverse?
Fashion, sports, auto brands, and retailers are most active currently. However, many industries from travel to banking are starting to establish a presence through experimental marketing in these worlds.
How are brands using virtual real estate?
They create flagship stores, activity hubs with games or quests, branded social spaces, experiential environments, and more. Virtual land also simply provides exposure.
Why produce limited edition virtual goods?
To generate hype with digital apparel or collectibles. By pre-releasing exclusive items, brands signal their embrace of the metaverse and emerging channels.
What is an example of sponsored metaverse activation?
Kentucky Fried Chicken sponsored a virtual cabin in Zepeto for promotional presence. Walmart built its own shopping center in Roblox. Brands want visibility in high-traffic spaces.
Do users respond well to brand metaverse experiments?
Early evidence is positive. For example, over 30 million Roblox users visited Walmart’s virtual store. As platforms grow, brands want to be there organically.
How are brands entering the metaverse?
Brands are entering via branded virtual spaces, selling digital assets and clothing for avatars, sponsoring in-game events and items, and acquiring virtual real estate in popular metaverses.
What is Nike doing in the metaverse?
Nike acquired RTFKT, a company that designs virtual sneakers. It’s also opened Nikeland in Roblox to sell virtual shoes and apparel for avatars.
Why are big brands entering the metaverse?
It provides a new way to engage younger demographics. Brands want to be where these audiences are socializing and shopping. It also offers new digital revenue streams and marketing potential.
Which brands are active in the metaverse?
Nike, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Clinique, and McDonald’s have done major metaverse activations. Vans opened virtual skate parks. Adidas sells NFT wearables.
What brands are activating in the metaverse?
Fashion houses like D&G and Balenciaga are creating wearable digital collectibles. Coca-Cola and Heineken are experimenting with branded virtual worlds. The possibilities span industries.
Which companies are active in the metaverse?
Along with consumer brands, game and social media companies like Roblox, Epic Games, and Meta are building metaverse platforms enabling brand experiences.
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