Metaverse: The Future for Brands
Sean Cannon, Account Executive
The ‘metaverse’ was first coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where humans interact with each other in a virtual 3D environment. The term has been a hot topic since October 2021 when Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s plan for their own metaverse with the rebranding of the company to ‘Meta’.
The metaverse is a combination of technology including; virtual reality, augmented reality and video where users ‘live’ within digital universes. The metaverse is not one thing or place. It is a term to describe experiences where digital and physical universes are blurred.
Online games such as Fortnite and Roblox are examples of the metaverse, as users coexist and can interact with each other within a digital universe. Each user has their own character which can be personalised.
The possibilities of the metaverse are endless and are increasingly becoming a key part of brand strategies. Gucci celebrated its 100th anniversary by creating the “Gucci Garden” in Roblox. Accessible to all players, the garden let visitors immerse themselves in different themed rooms. It also hosted a store where players could purchase limited-edition avatar items for their Roblox characters. The virtual event took place concurrently with a real-life multimedia experience that explored similar themes in Florence, Italy.
Fashion continues to grow on Roblox as @RalphLauren presents: The Winter Escape. An experience where users can unlock exclusive #RalphLauren digital fashion, go ice skating, and more all while exploring a wonderful winter landscape. #RLxRoblox pic.twitter.com/cG4FWKn3NN
— Roblox (@Roblox) December 11, 2021
Other industries, including football, have taken a keen interest. Manchester City announced a global partnership with Sony to develop new digital fan experiences in the metaverse. Their aim is to create a global online fan community within the replica of their home stadium. It will feature virtual experiences, customizable avatars, and interactive loyalty programs.
There are no limits to creativity and the Metaverse will be key to attract younger audiences, growing up with this technology as part of everyday life.
It is going to be very interesting to see the ways companies explore the metaverse in the coming years.
The examples above are innovative but as technology develops and becomes more accessible, companies will have to race for a prominent place in the metaverse. Gucci and Manchester City are ahead of the curve, trying to see what works but will they win the race or learn lessons for late contenders?