- Brands are testing metaverse applications to build closer connections with their customers.
- Top marketers joined Insider for a webinar on Jan 18. to discuss their early metaverse experiments.
- They explained why the metaverse could upend marketing and where the opportunities are for brands.
Virtual, decentralized, democratic: the hype around the metaverse is building momentum – and brands want in.
But where exactly are the opportunities for brands? Why is the metaverse being hailed as the next big thing? And why should marketers bother funneling money into something that tech leaders have called “spectacularly stupid” and “pointless”?
To shed light on why some brands think the metaverse is the real deal, top marketers from Playboy, Anheuser-Busch, and Marriott joined Insider for an exclusive webinar, “Marketing in the Metaverse,” on Tuesday, January 18.
Media and advertising editor Lara O’Reilly spoke with:
- Rachel Webber, chief brand officer at Playboy
- Brian Povinelli, senior vice president of brand, loyalty, and portfolio marketing at Marriott International
- Spencer Gordon, vice president of digital and draftLine at Anheuser-Busch InBev
They discussed why the advent of the metaverse presents a “golden era” for brands, including its potential to help create highly engaged online communities and make consumers feel like they have a personal stake in a brand.
The metaverse lets consumers express themselves through a brand
The promise of some interpretations of the metaverse is to give users the ability to create virtual avatars that mirror real life: choosing what to wear, what to eat and drink, and where to live and find entertainment.
Thanks to this, brands can engage with consumers in a way they can’t necessarily with traditional social media: by letting consumers express themselves through a brand, like they do in real life.
“This new technology and a new consumer mindset could create the next golden era of brands because it allows brands to do their best work, which is: emotionally connect with their fan bases,” said Webber.
Gordon agreed. “The brands that really work are those where people can kind of see their own identity expressed through that brand,” he said.
Metaverse and Web3 communities can foster strong connections between brands and consumers
Marketers have witnessed the rise of something akin to a two-way dialogue with consumers in recent years, thanks to social media. The experts in our webinar said that the metaverse will take this development one step further and create online communities where brands and consumers interact on the same level.
“That’s a mind shift of, how do you play in the space with a core fundamental value of your community members, your fan bases, being owners of what you do, and not simply: here’s a kind of distant transactional relationship,” said Webber.
NFTs have played a major role in this shift. Playboy, Anheuser-Busch, and Marriott have all released NFTs in recent months. Marriott also tied its NFT drop to its loyalty program, offering 200,000 Bonvoy points. “So whoever ended up with the NFT could also have a real world experience redeeming those points for travel,” said Povinelli.
Brands have the opportunity to monetize their assets virtually
Brands selling physical goods are starting to realize that consumers are willing to pay for their virtual versions. Nike, Gucci, Taco Bell, and many more have inked deals to show off and sell their wares in virtual worlds like Decentraland and The Sandbox.
“We actually have an ability now to monetize our assets or to tie in brand experiences into a space where people can be part of them,” said Gordon. “It’s actually inviting them to come in and allowing that community to develop. It’s a loyalty programme, it’s membership.”
“I think the beauty of it is democratization. We’re allowing people to participate to live free and own stuff that they would never have been able to do before,” continued Gordon.
Watch the full webinar in the video above.