In-depth Part 1: How metaverse-ready Indian brands really are?

The metaverse presents a sea of opportunities for marketers and brands to engage with and target their TG in novel and exciting ways. By staying on top of emerging trends and technologies, brands can create innovative and immersive experiences that help them stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Brands can’t afford to miss marketing in the metaverse. Experts feel that metaverse marketing will become a must-have strategy for businesses, especially if brands want to attract the millennials, Gen-Z and Gen Alpha.

Yulia Aslamova, Head of Asia, DRIM Global
Yulia Aslamova, Head of Asia, DRIM Global

Metaverse marketing has the potential to become a significant aspect of the future of marketing, notes Yulia Aslamova, Head of Asia, DRIM Global. As more people spend time in virtual environments, it makes sense for brands to explore ways to connect with their audience in those spaces. “As for its importance as a must-have strategy for businesses, that depends on the specific target audience and industry. However, given the growing popularity of metaverse platforms among Gen-Z and millennials, it’s likely that more brands will start incorporating metaverse marketing into their overall strategy.”

Being an innovation whose true potential is still to be explored completely, metaverse could be a future for many industries it disrupts, including marketing, says Lumos Labs Founder Kaavya Prasad.

She further explains, “The metaverse has emerged as a leading technological trend with 400 million+ active users spread across different industries including gaming, retail, entertainment, education, etc. The average demographic of metaverse users is composed of young teenagers to young adults, making them the target audience for many companies who want to enter the metaverse bandwagon early and solidify their position. More than a standalone tool,  metaverse provides a seamless marketing tool that can reach a global audience. The technology as such is not new and explored a lot for the immersive experience in the gaming world. However, with WEb3 application and NFTs coming in the mix, its utility and offerings has increased multifold. The way you can leverage the metaverse now goes beyond gaming and avatar creation. Over the years, the technology has also improved and the avatars have become more accurate and realistic making the experience more realistic and immersive. This enables brands also to have clear and realistic tokenized products and more architecturally pleasing virtual retail stores.”

Additionally, she adds, social media with its rising Web3 adoption allows creators and brands to experiment with the metaverse and social channels. According to her, creators and influencers today can market and promote numerous offerings in more than just pictures and posts. “Gen-Z and millennials are on a lookout for creative and aesthetic mediums to communicate and share, and metaverse provides just that – a mirror to the real world accessed by larger audiences across the globe. Not only do retail sectors find benefits, this experiential reality has opened avenues for education and R&D. It becomes the perfect conjecture for brands looking to reach out to their audience and the target group that is looking to upskill and benefit from this association. Lumos Metaverse offers this exact synergy by bringing in developers across Web2 and Web3 to upskill, explore education programs offered by leading web3 brands and get excellent hiring opportunities matching their qualifications. This reduces the discovery period for both the brand and the developers, thereby offering a mutually beneficial, organic and seamless marketing solution for both the involved parties,” Prasad adds.

Bhavik Mehta, Founder of Thinkin Birds Communications
Bhavik Mehta, Founder of Thinkin Birds Communications

Metaverse is a man-made parallel world with a beautiful amalgamation of virtual and 3D universes, developed to take human interaction with technology to another level, points out Bhavik Mehta, Founder of Thinkin Birds Communications. “Being a ripe concept still, brands around the world are quick to jump on this bandwagon. And so should your brand! This universe has opened a plethora of ways a brand can reach, interact and engage with the Gen-Z and millennials. The Covid pandemic has already taught us how to work remotely, and metaverse just made it interesting by providing a virtual environment where we can capitalise on our assets and also generate revenue,” he adds.

Dhruv Goel, Founder, Brand Catapult, believes that the metaverse definitely will play a crucial role in the future of marketing, but to what extent is the real question. According to him, it is going to take a few more years until brands realise their true potential and are able to capitalise on their presence on the metaverse. Moreover, he adds, Gen-Z and millennials are considered as early adopters to new technology, and they will incidentally and evidently become the prime TG for marketers all around the world. However, initially the focus will be on the brands for targeting a global audience, over more localized geographies.

Metaverse marketing is going to be a breakthrough in the digital marketing industry, stresses Vijay Pravin Maharajan, Founder & CEO, bitsCrunch. “From traditional marketing like television, radio and billboards to data-driven and analytical digital marketing, the marketing industry has come a long way. With metaverse marketing, the future is here where the target customers have an immersive experience in the Metaverses through AR-VR, built on Blockchain, AI & ML to track and study data patterns. However, companies engage in Metaverse marketing for the following reasons: Engage with their customers in unimaginable ways and stay ahead of their competitors, brand recognition and market trendy products that are of high value. While Gen-Zers and Millennials are considered the target market here, companies like Nike, Coca-Cola and Samsung have already made their entry into Metaverse Marketing. This is to launch and sell digital assets and NFTs that are digital exclusive and unavailable in physical stores. Eventually, all the other consumer brands are embracing the trend making it a must-have strategy for businesses,” he adds.

Anantha Krishnan, Founder, MOI (My Own Internet)
Anantha Krishnan, Founder, MOI (My Own Internet)

Anantha Krishnan, Founder, MOI (My Own Internet), is certain that the metaverse (virtual and augmented reality) is likely to play an increasingly important role in marketing in the coming years.

“As technology becomes more accessible and widely adopted, it could offer new opportunities for businesses to connect with their target audience, especially Gen-Z and millennials who are often more open to new technology and digital experiences. Brands that are able to effectively leverage the metaverse for marketing purposes could have a significant advantage in the years to come. With Mint Valley, Metaverse platform for creating personalised digital interactions, powered by MOI, world’s first context aware p2p protocol, businesses get a personalised curated storefronts to not just market their products but to display and sell it,” he adds.

 Kunal Sharma, Head of Marketing & Business head, KRBL
Kunal Sharma, Head of Marketing & Business head, KRBL

What do marketers have to say?

Marketers are unanimous in their view that it will take a while for brands to adopt metaverse marketing. At present, it is difficult to say with certainty whether metaverse marketing will be the future of marketing, as it depends on a number of factors such as the growth and adoption of metaverse technology, changes in consumer behaviour, and the effectiveness of metaverse marketing strategies, says Kunal Sharma, Head of Marketing & Business head, KRBL (India Gate Foods).


“However, as metaverse technology continues to advance and gain popularity, it is possible that metaverse marketing could become an increasingly important aspect of marketing for certain industries and demographics. Metaverse marketing could potentially be important for brands that want to attract Gen Z and Millennials, as these generations tend to be early adopters of new technology and enjoy immersive experiences. By leveraging the unique features of the metaverse, such as virtual worlds and augmented reality, brands may be able to create engaging and interactive experiences that resonate with these younger audiences,” Sharma adds.

The metaverse enables businesses to create their own world that represents their brand in a way that no video, ad, words, or image could, notes RS Maan, Managing Director and Global CRO, Codleo. “Each world can be unique and provide customers with a fully immersive experience. Traditional advertising provides a less immersive experience than the metaverse. Without a doubt, Metaverse marketing is hailed as the next-generation of digital marketing because users will have a real and 3D experience in the Metaverse. As a result, marketers are now taking the lead in developing effective marketing strategies to provide their users with realistic virtual experiences,” he adds.

Akshay Kapoor, Associate Director – Marketing, Perfetti van Melle
Akshay Kapoor, Associate Director – Marketing, Perfetti van Melle

“It is still early days for marketers to adopt metaverse,” says Akshay Kapoor, Associate Director – Marketing, Perfetti van Melle. However, he adds, this could potentially change very quickly given the technology evolution and an increased adoption of metaverse overtime, the marketing evolution and interventions in the virtual environment could also then see a steady rise. “Having said that, is important to consider and keep in mind the cost of developing and executing a metaverse marketing strategy, as well as the potential return on investment which will then be dictated by the Gen-Z and millennials and how well they take to the new virtual environment and how much time they spend there.”

The early adopters

When asked about the segments (such as fashion, etc.) that will be the early adopters of metaverse marketing or whether it will be sector-agnostic, experts say that the likes of gaming will be the early adopters of metaverse marketing.  

While the metaverse has the potential to be sector-agnostic, Yulia Aslamova believes that early adopters will likely come from industries that are already using immersive technology, such as gaming, entertainment, and fashion. “Fashion brands, for example, could create virtual showrooms where customers can try on clothes and accessories using their avatars. Gaming companies could create in-game experiences that allow players to interact with branded content or products. Ultimately, any industry that relies on creating a unique brand experience could benefit from metaverse marketing,” she points out.

According to Anantha Krishnan, it is is likely that some segments will be early adopters of metaverse marketing. The segments that are more likely to embrace the technology and utilize it for marketing purposes are those that are already heavily invested in technology and digital experiences, and those that can benefit from the immersive and interactive features of the metaverse, he points out.

Some of the segments, according to Krishnan, that may be early adopters include:

Gaming and entertainment: Companies in this segment are likely to leverage the metaverse for immersive gaming experiences, live events, and concerts.

Fashion and beauty: Brands in these segments could use the metaverse to showcase virtual fashion shows and allow customers to try on clothes and makeup in a virtual environment.

Retail: Retail companies could use the metaverse to create virtual stores and showrooms, providing customers with an interactive shopping experience.

Travel and tourism: The travel industry could leverage the metaverse to allow customers to virtually explore destinations, book trips, and even experience virtual tours and activities.

However, it is also possible that the metaverse will become more widely adopted across different segments as the technology becomes more accessible and user-friendly.

Metaverse has been hugely adopted by the gaming sector for over a decade with players like with Roblox boasting of over 230 million users, says Kaavya Prasad. The gaming industry, she adds, has experienced a boom in the past few years and with the addition of the metaverse.

“There have been several promising additions to the user experience such as a more immersive gaming environment, expanding to being a social platform, decentralised Web3 platforms that are user centric, and having unique personalised tokens, that is, NFTs for their achievements. As metaverse evolves to Web3-infused metaverse, it has grown to be more sector-agnostic. The value proposition at offer has the biggest names eyeing the tech’s adoption. From avatar creation and customisation to having digital wearables, there are several segments that will be adopters of metaverse fairly soon. Banking, healthtech, fintech, manufacturing, education, etc., all industries are looking to associate themselves into metaverse, AI, ML, web3, and more emerging technologies as the barriers to entry are constantly decreasing,” she adds.

Depending on the emergence and adoption of the virtual environments by users, one could pinpoint some segments or categories that seem to have more affinity to the virtual environment and hence will emerge as early adopters of metaverse marketing, says Akshay Kapoor.

“Gaming and lifestyle-oriented businesses and brands could certainly take the lead given the fitment. Gaming as an industry is already well established in the virtual environment space & taking a lead in the AR/VR led applications to ensure an immersive experience for the gamers.  Also, other segments like fashion & beauty already have exhibited historically how technology led innovations have helped better exhibit & showcase new launches & offerings in a more immersive & interactive manner. Gucci created a virtual store in the game "Roblox" where players could purchase digital Gucci accessories for their avatars. Adidas created a virtual store in the game "Second Life" where players could purchase virtual Adidas products. Besides these, the more obvious segments & industries that are already experimenting & latching on to the bandwagon would be entertainment & motion pictures to give the users a never before experience,” he points out.

Worldwide, points out RS Maan, the retail industry was the first to embrace the metaverse along with the gaming industry. “Significant industry investments in the AR/VR ecosystem aided in attracting a large number of users to virtual spaces. McKinsey’s report reveals that 57% of companies that are aware of the metaverse have become early adopters. The majority of consumers (59%) are already anticipating the transition of their daily lives to the metaverse. In other words, there is a high demand for it, which is expected to grow significantly over time. According to this perception, the metaverse will most likely become mainstream,” he adds.

Brands that are likely to be early adopters of metaverse marketing are those that have a strong digital presence and are targeting younger audiences who are interested in immersive experiences, says Kunal Sharma. “This could include brands in the gaming, entertainment, fashion, and technology industries, as well as those in the hospitality and travel sectors. Additionally, brands that are looking to create a strong online community or that want to experiment with new marketing techniques may also be interested in exploring metaverse marketing,” he adds.

The Metaverse market is expected to boom to over $10 trillion by the end of this decade as per Queppelin, a Blockchain Application Development company, points out Vijay Pravin Maharajan. Having stated that, he adds, the demand for digital fashion and luxury goods is surging every day. “This is one of the reasons why the fashion industry is seen as an early adopter of metaverse marketing. Automotive manufacturers like Hyundai, Tech Drivers like Apple and Microsoft are also joining this fleet. As it burgeons, Metaverse Marketing can also get sector-agnostic,” he says.

Dhruv Goel is certain that metaverse surely going to be sector-agnostic, as long as the businesses in the market have a global audience. That’s the trend we foresee in the early years of metaverse marketing.

The gaming industry clearly has been the first to fully adapt to the metaverse with their immersive games and experiences, says Bhavik Mehta. According to him, agencies jumping into the metaverse, too, will have the first-mover advantage. “Branding, advertising and marketing are cheap as it’s being tested and experimented upon. Although in the case of the metaverse, the algorithm is not defined as it is new, hence the scope of larger engagement and visibility is high. This concept is very innovative and relatable to people and it will be a great platform for networking.”

(Tomorrow: Part 2 of the In-depth report will cover how brands can make the best use of the metaverse, as well as the significant metaverse challenges.)


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