Marketers need a way to meet customers where they are. Increasingly, it’s in virtual worlds, where NFTs and metaverse promotions can drive awareness, increase sales and build loyalty, share Preston Woo, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of Tafi and Daz 3D.
Brands continue to adapt to rapid changes in consumer expectations and shopping habits that were already evolving but accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most successful companies in recent years are those that have responded quickly to changes in the way customers discover and purchase products. Now, brands are looking for new ways to meet their customers where they are, including in virtual spaces.
To increase brand awareness, build customer trust, inspire customer loyalty, and increase sales, many top brands are leveraging Augmented Reality (AR) and NFTs. Other brands tap into the creativity of their superfans to develop unique messages and memorable customer experiences. Along the way, marketers need new skills to stay ahead of the game as the metaverse grows in popularity.
The current situation is analogous to the evolution of brand marketing experienced with the advent of the Internet as well as when mobile apps became ubiquitous. Big brands are establishing a presence in the metaverse, which means it’s a good idea for marketers who work with brands of all sizes to keep up to date with developments in the discipline. Here’s a closer look.
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Using avatars and NFTs to communicate values and deepen relationships
People want to do business with companies that share their values. Diversity and inclusion are core values for leading beauty brand Clinique. The company recently collaborated with artists such as Sheika Daley and Emira D’Spain, on a NFT collection which celebrates “the beauty of all skins everywhere,” including the metaverse. The brand has also partnered with Daz 3D on its mission to make the metaverse more inclusive. Clinique’s avatar project communicates the company’s values while reaching out to consumers who share their ideals.
Top Sportswear Company, Championnurtured trust and brand loyalty by launching a line of NFT apparel and accessories for brand superfans to wear in the Metaverse, including branded hoodies and sweatshirts. Coke, one of the world’s most recognizable brands, has collaborated with top device maker Samsung and our team at Daz on a series of augmented reality avatars and digital wearable projects. Branded clothing is available to customers exclusively on Samsung Galaxy AR Emoji Marketplace.
NFTs are a unique marketing asset as they provide a way for consumers to connect with the brand while maintaining brand control over assets through blockchain technology. Like brands like RTFKT, a leading creator of virtual sneakers, collectibles and experiences, have demonstrated, companies can give fans license to interpret the brand by creating memorable digital artifacts. Meanwhile, marketers continue to learn valuable skills through experimentation in the virtual world.
Brands are using VR to drive real-world sales
Building affinity communities is nothing new, of course. Brands have been doing it in the analog world for generations – the Mickey Mouse Club in the early days of television is just one example. A community of fans like Pearl Jam 10 Club is another – the popular group uses analog and digital club membership to connect with fans and provide access to exclusive content.
Now, brands are using NFTs in the same way, driving sales in the real world. A recent the wall street journal The article outlines the scale of the opportunity, noting that a McKinsey study projects metaverse spending will reach $5 trillion by 2030. The overwhelming majority of consumers surveyed, 79%, say they have already made a purchase in the metaverse. About 47% of those people said they made in-game purchases and 37% said they bought virtual cosmetic items. About 33% also said they purchased real-world items offered for sale in the Metaverse.
Executives interviewed told McKinsey they expect the Metaverse to be good for their industry within five to ten years; 95% think it will have a positive impact on them. About 25% expect the metaverse to generate 15% of their total margin growth in five years. The article says brands that have taken the plunge, including fashion brand Forever 21, have reaped the benefits, building brand awareness within virtual reality (VR) communities like Roblox and seeing an increase actual sales of virtually promoted clothing.
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New skills for a new era
Many marketers are understandably hesitant to invest in metaverse marketing because virtual reality isn’t fully mainstream yet. But consumer acceptance of virtual worlds, digital identities and related accessories is growing, especially among younger customers. That’s why big brands are eager to establish a presence now, just as they did when the internet and apps came along in earlier eras.
Now is the perfect time for brands to expand their comfort zone and test new ways to connect with customers. Brand marketers new to the space can work with a partner with the experience and knowledge of the metaverse to execute a successful NFT marketing strategy. It’s a great way for brand managers to explore VR marketing opportunities, including cross-promotions that combine traditional and metaverse-based marketing campaigns.
At a minimum, marketers should keep an eye on the evolution of marketing in the metaverse and consider opportunities to use digital assets such as NFTs. The metaverse is evolving rapidly, but the underlying technology, including blockchain, is uniquely suited to help brands stay in control while unleashing creativity to reach customers where they are.
How are you adapting your marketing strategies to connect with customers in the era of NFTs? Share with us on Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.
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