The Facebook metaverse has huge marketing potential, but it’s not ready for your brand (just yet). These three technology trends are proven to create the results you want.
Haven’t heard of the metaverse? It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s big bet on where we’ll be spending all our time in the foreseeable future, a massive digital playground where we will work, socialise and even exercise. He’s not alone; there are plenty of other heavyweight names out there that are already planning their versions as reported by the New York Times. You’ll be able to connect to this decentralised metaverse using any device, and it will connect all your favourite digital experiences seamlessly. Zuckerberg is no longer content with Facebook being ‘just’ a social media player; he wants Facebook to be a leader in this new world of interconnected Virtual Reality and digital adventures. He’s out to claim more of your digital attention, and of course, he has the resources to back this horse for a very long time.
While some analysts and investors are sceptical, Zuckerberg has already put massive amounts of real money and time into it, and as part of this grand plan, he’s recently launched Horizon Workrooms. It’s an open beta app for Oculus Quest that creates a VR experience for people to work together. So, like Zoom or Teams, but with more digital dimensions. (Spoiler alert, it has vast potential, but it’s not the finished article at this stage.)
Here’s the thing: Mark Zuckerberg is not wrong about the future of massive, immersive, interconnected digital worlds; we just believe there’s much more hype than practical application right now.
We’re not Luddites or tech cynics; in fact, our biggest USP for many years as an agency is our unique use of creative technology. We believe using innovative digital tools in our campaigns enhances brand engagement, and we’ve created a wide range of projects over the years using different technologies, including VR. That includes creating a bespoke VR game for Continental, and building an intricate CGI hospital setting for a cutting-edge medical tool from Echonous. This latter project allowed a customer to try out the new medical device in real-time VR on a pixel-based patient. VR offers a whole new level of immersion for both activations and sales, but the potential doesn’t end there – we’ve even used it along with a custom Minecraft world to teach kids about water care for Severn Trent Water.
We’re big believers in using the right technology in new, novel ways. We’ve got a lot of experience in helping brands leverage new trends, like our work with Amazon Alexa and the rapidly expanding voice technology space. So, we can (and will) help your brands become the first big players in the impending metaverse and help you partner with Facebook effectively, but we believe that the metaverse is still a relatively long way off.
Here are three potent digital trends you can use now to create real ROI for your brand.
1. Brand communication needs to be visually led and personalized
One thing that Zuckerberg has got entirely right is the rise of digital representation and personalisation, and we’re not just talking about customised Zoom backgrounds or newsletters that address you by name. It’s about digital avatars, personalised icons, bespoke social media filters and effects, and the fast-evolving world of digital expression. The fashion and gaming worlds have already been leveraging this for a while in new forms of sports sponsorship, like Louis Vuitton partnering with Riot Gaming’s League of Legends to design in-game playing outfits. Both physical and digital products (skins) were created in the partnership.
But it’s not just restricted to esports: Gucci has invested in Genies, an avatar company that rivals companies like Bitmoji. Users can digitally dress in the latest Gucci products and then use these avatars on the biggest chat and social platforms.
In short, there are more communication levels and channels available now, and most of them are visually led. Brands are using fewer words and 2D text and focusing more on using avatars, icons and 3D visuals; and are personalising them to the user.
2. Creating unique retail experiences and seamless transactions is crucial
Blockchain can help reduce shopping friction and create unique retail experiences through empowering technologies like NFTs and Virtual Atoms. We’ve used the latter in several ways. Case in point: for our client, Jaffa Cakes, we used their TV advert to ‘drop’ digital tokens right into their homes – viewers used their phone cameras to ‘collect’ them and then it drove them to trial and purchase at one of 6,500 brick and mortar retail stores across the UK.
For Benefit cosmetics, we created a Virtual Atoms powered platform and a multi-channel strategy to create a Covid-safe, at-home experience for ‘BeneBabes’ that used gamification and Augmented Reality (AR) to engage and drive consumers to buy the new magic mascara. We also used Virtual Atoms to create a whole new virtual redemption solution for Carlton & United Breweries. Our list of VA campaigns is now extensive, drop us a line if you’d like more examples of how to use this cutting-edge tech.
Blockchain technology is opening up all kinds of new opportunities for your brand, from creating sellable once-off brand experiences using NFTs or building new multi-channel, seamless retail and sampling experiences using digital tokens.
3. Leverage micro-sharing, cryptocurrencies and fractional ownership
Thanks to the rise of blockchain, it has offered a whole new, safer, more straightforward way to do fractional ownership, and it’s made crowdfunding and micro-sharing much easier. It is making high street banks somewhat redundant, and it’s rewriting the rules of ownership. It’s also part of the new digital arsenal that’s revolutionising retail, sponsorship, and marketing.
Several brands are leveraging this tech right now: Cathay Pacific has partnered with Accenture to manage and offer their air miles in real-time using blockchain – it’s called Asia Miles. Havas ad agency has created a sports cryptocurrency that rewards fans for their loyalty or becoming a KOL for the sports club. The digital coins can be swapped across different loyalty programs and converted into goods, exclusive content, or unique experiences. It also has the side bonus of collecting lots of deep consumer data.
One of our favourite recent crypto-themed marketing plays didn’t use blockchain but instead used a brilliant take on non-traditional investing. At Cadbury’s recent launch of its limited-edition Wispa Gold Hazelnut bar, they turned the caramel-based chocolate into a commodity where fans could buy shares to secure the bars before launch. Their Twitter Livestream kept the sweet-toothed investors up to-date before the bars hit the shelves, and the final share ‘value’ (each share is worth 69p) determined how many bars they’d get. It shows the value of leveraging the zeitgeist of this new crypto trend.
While we will create future brand adventures for you in the metaverse, there’s much better ROI using the current, proven cutting-edge technologies in several new and creative ways. If you need some help leveraging these new digital trends, contact us here, and we’ll partner up to help your brand rock in both the physical and digital worlds.
If you want a sample of our marketing magic, let us host a free masterclass for you.