How your favorite brands will meet you in the Metaverse

Word “metaverseis on a lot of lips lately, but so far only big global brands and the agencies responsible for keeping them at the forefront of the digital media curve are putting the money where they are. metaverse is a slippery form of media: a spatial, immersive set of virtual worlds that can relate to real products in the real world. There’s no playbook yet on how brands fit in there. end up with aplomb, and no guarantee of avoiding the handshake.

Jane Lacher, head of GroupM Growth, helps lead her agency’s work in translating metaverse worlds for its top client brands.

GroupM

“The floodgates opened on January 1,” says Jane Lacher, chief growth officer at GroupM. It is one of the largest media agencies in the world, and counts Ford, Google, Coca-Cola and Unilever among its clients. CES 2022 was a release party for the Metaverseshe said, thanks to the announcement just two months before Facebook would rename itself Meta as he pivoted to the Metaverse. “Every fifth email or request [from brands] is ‘what is the metaverse, do I need to be there?'”

If the question is simple and direct, the answer is more nuanced. “It will be both big and niche,” Lacher says. “Niche in that it’s a virtual experience in virtual worlds, big in that you have a whole generation that a decade from now will be virtual consumers first.”

See also: Shopping in the Metaverse might be more fun than you think

Lacher says she’s watching to see how widely and how quickly VR headsets are being accepted by this generation. Will it become their vehicle to the metaverse worlds? Or will the majority of the engagement remain on 2D tablets, phones and laptops?

Gucci on Superplastic

Gucci‘s limited-edition virtual figures on the NFT Superplastic platform might not appeal to the typical Gucci shopper, but they impressed Lacher.

Superplastic

The question for brands is not if they should engage in metaverse worlds but when and how. “The last thing a brand wants to do is create a bad experience on one of these [metaverse] platforms and just be there as an advertiser,” says Lacher. “The rules of engagement haven’t changed when it comes to the need to create value for consumers, and in this territory that’s more important than anywhere else.

She cites Nike’s entry into Roblox and Gucci’s even bolder moves in her brand’s NFT expressions as examples that at least partially show the way. Gucci’s designs for the limited-edition virtual characters on the NFT Superplastic platform would likely test the credulity of most people buying its products in the real world. But she says they’re an early sign of a savvy virtual product offering from a big brand.

Nikeland on Roblox

Nike created a Nikeland on the Roblox virtual global platform at the end of 2021. It saw over 7 million visitors in less than six months.

Nike

Metaverse worlds can be conquered by top movers, not necessarily first movers. The next two or even three years will probably be a period of exploration by brands. “Or is it your business to be on the metaverse,” Lacher says, putting an appropriate twist on the typical “what” in this question. “The way you’re going to measure this is going to be longer term, it’s going to be more emotional.

Watch the video here, in which Jane Lacher shares more insight on the Metaverse for Brands with CNET’s Brian Cooley.

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