How Brands Can Enter the Metaverse

Interested in what the metaverse can have in store for your brand? While the idea might feel novel right now, there’s arguably huge potential for brands — if they can figure out where to start.

More and more digital artworks are bought and sold in the form of NFT each day. These digital tokens can be bought or obtained for a variety of reasons, including financial gain, collector’s value, and sentimental worth. Buyers of digital products/assets through NFT may perceive it as a means to feel more connected to the business or to assist artists financially.

Crypto art is envisioned as a new form of art based on scarcity and the possibility of a work’s certification.

Digital Works and NFT

An NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, can be used to validate a digital work in the same manner that a physical painting is validated by the artist’s signature.

NFTs provide artists with a new market in which they can sell their work while also automating the recoupment of a percentage of resales through royalty agreements. NFTs are seen as a method for investors who are optimistic about the technology — a group that often overlaps with cryptocurrency aficionados — to financially support artists, flex their digital art collections, and speculate in a market that is exploding.

How quickly is the market expanding?

According to Market Watch, the online marketplace OpenSea saw $3.4 billion in Ethereum transaction volume in August 2021. With investors like Mark Cuban, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, and A16z Crypto, a subgroup of the venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz, pouring money into the NFT economy, there’s reason to assume it’s more than a fad.

Despite this, numerous allegations of theft and fraud have surfaced. Fees and charges vary greatly, and the electricity required to run the Ethereum network emits a significant amount of CO2. Those joining the market should do so with their eyes wide open, realizing that it’s critical to scrutinize markets, including sometimes obscure FAQs and service agreements.

What's interesting to the marketer

Advertising in metaverses is heaven for marketers and advertisers. The users are maximally involved and disconnected from the real world: they will not be able to switch attention from the screen, as if they were using a smartphone or PC. 

This means a high probability that the user will read the brand’s message. Large companies will want to have a presence in the meta-universe to maintain their awareness, brand knowledge and grow sales beyond Web2.

Opting for gaming platforms

Gaming metaverses (Roblox, Epic Games) have long attracted big brands due to their large base of loyal users whose attention is focused on all things gaming. They’re used to navigating the virtual space and won’t mind getting a free digital avatar or other bonus from the brand. 

The future of marketing in non-gaming meta universes is still too hazy, but it’s likely that meta marketers will follow in the footsteps of their counterparts in the gaming industry.

Meta-NFT

Meta-universes will be a new stage in the development of NFT: online auctions will move from the Internet space to meta-worlds. NFT items can be exchanged for virtual or real currency, or exchanged for other tokens.

For example, the market capitalization of the Decentraland game meta universe, in which you can buy virtual real estate, create avatars and various items, has risen from $108 million to $3,759 million in the last year. 

In the past 30 days, 1,218 NFT tokens have been sold on the platform, and the most expensive virtual reality plot token was sold Nov. 23 for $2.4 million.

Direct-to-Avatar (D2A)

Direct-to-Avatar will replace the Direct-to-Consumer model we are used to. D2A is a model for selling digital products to avatars (users) directly, without intermediaries. Brands will surround the user with virtual advertisements and products (clothes, real estate, status symbols). The demand for digital clothing, which is already popular with a narrow segment of the audience, will increase.

For example, Fortnite platform, which positions itself as a meta universe, is already working with many global brands: DC, Nike, Marvel, Microsoft, Sony. They develop skins (the appearance of the character), items and other elements of the game space.

Gucci fashion house has also tapped into the virtual world by teaming up with Tennis Clash, the closest mobile game to real tennis created by Wildlife. Tennis Clash players will be able to see exclusive Gucci looks and participate in a special tournament with the brand and purchase the outfits from the game for themselves on the Gucci website, which bridges the virtual and real worlds.

Vans also created their own world in the Roblox metaworld and built their own skate park, where you can ride and buy the company’s merch for game currency.

And that’s just the beginning. Meta universes provide a lot of room for brands and allow you to turn the game into a process of buying merchandise.

Direct-to-Consumer (D2C)

People’s real needs will not disappear with the arrival of the meta-world. The meta-world will become another channel for brand and consumer sales.

For example, home food delivery ads will be able to distract from the virtual world and remind users of the sense of hunger they can satisfy with the brand’s offerings.

Event Marketing

You can do whatever you want in virtual reality: play, work, socialize or go to concerts. In 2019, for example, Weezer created an island in Fortnite where players could listen to the band’s new album.

That same year, American DJ Marshmello hosted the first virtual concert in a Fortnite game. And during the pandemic, when all mass events were canceled, the concept of virtual events was continued by American performer Travis Scott.

His concert gathered more than 340 “Olympians”: all at once the concert was watched by 12 million players around the world. A little later Ariana Grande and other performers joined the trend of virtual concerts in games.

How are NFT and Fashion Connected?

Not only artists and collectors, but also the gem market, charity and fashion found themselves in the same new field. From visual art it is interesting to observe related fields – especially design, where there are a lot of interdisciplinary projects.

The NFT is based on the principle of establishing authenticity, so convertible into tokens were primarily collectible, one-off objects, rather than prêt à porter. Designers have been gradually approaching this medium since 2019. There’s the all-virtual fashion brand The Fabricant or the virtual sneaker brand RTFKT, which reportedly earned $3.1 million by March 2021. 

There have been pieces supporting major offline collections, too: Gucci released an NFT video for the 100th anniversary and drop of its joint collection with Balenciaga, Aria, this spring. It later sold at Christie’s for $25,000.

In August, another fashion house, Louis Vuitton, released a game for the 200th anniversary of its founder in which you can collect 30 tokens – and they can’t be resold. Nicolas Ghesquière was involved in the design of the game.

Every designer and brand thinks about the future, and it lies in the field of digital strategy. For fashion brands, NFT is primarily about connecting with the next generation of customers, Generation Z, which is the future of both visual and product consumption.

Who Came First?

Like any technology – oil paint, casting, television or darknet – it was artists who were the first to embrace blockchain. They were interested in testing the system of the global art market, problematizing new types of exchange – these questions have been raised at crypto-art exhibitions since 2014, at the same time a conference was held at the New Museum in New York and one of the first digital-image certification platforms, Monegraph, was launched. 

In 2018, the Pushkin Museum hosted a roundtable discussion and screening of American artist Eve Sussman’s 89 Seconds in the Alcazar, which she divided into 2,304 20 x 20 pixel fragments for sale via blockchain.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts began assembling its first state collection of media art without analog media back in 2016; it is stored entirely in the cloud. Now it contains classics of media art, new video art, but I assume works related to NFT will soon be part of the museum collection. Institutions are not in a hurry, it is important for them to accumulate expertise, to 0

In the market, the auction houses have other speeds and tasks. Christie’s sets the record for Beeple and CryptoPunks sales, and a year later, in September, has built a reputation for the artist and an audience of buyers who can secure $16.5 million in sales at the Hong Kong auction. 

Similarly, Sotheby’s Natively Digital’s NFT auction, held in June, was a warm-up event before the launch of its own marketplace, Metaverse, which the company launched Oct. 15. And in each new service, platform or project, players try to find new formats, little surprises, such as an exclusive avatar from an artist – this, of course, is a consequence of the high competition in the field.

Entering the Metaverse

Most brands nowadays rely on 2D assets such as product images and videos. 2D assets, on the other hand, will not suffice in the future. Although it is difficult to forecast what the metaverse will look like, one thing is certain: there will be a greater demand for 3D assets that can be deployed in the metaverse and shared across a variety of experiences, ranging from fashion to real estate to art.

Brands must create 3D models of their items today to prepare for this transformation. Poplar Studio’s community of over 2,000 authorized 3D and AR designers assists brands in creating 3D models of their products at scale. This makes 3D and augmented reality creation more accessible and scalable.

We can then immediately deploy these 3D models on the right linked product pages for e-commerce by connecting into your CMS. These models can then be simply deployed across the metaverse (i.e. across different computing platforms such as VR, AR, and PCs/mobile/game consoles) once they’ve been created.

Join the Discussion

Comments, questions, suggestions? 

Join the discussion on our Facebook page and be part of the fastest growing NFT community of creators, collectors and everyone in between.

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