How FOMO in the metaverse can backfire for brands

Every other day there’s a new announcement about another brand investment or experience in the metaverse. Brands across industries, from fast food and beverage to healthcare and fintech companies, are exploring ways they can leverage this expanding channel.

But one of the common pitfalls brands are making is copycase experiences, especially if they were already successful with it. Brands that are new to the metaverse tend to jump headlong into mimicking someone else, even their competitors. However, before a brand commits a budget or an initiative, or creates its own experience on a platform, it should not lose sight of the genetic makeup of the metaverse.

The metaverse: where interaction and community collide

The metaverse is built upon creating interactions that drive the development and nurturing of communities. To tap into this channel effectively, brands need to keep their target audiences in mind to create effective interactions that build a community. This will help point the compass in the direction of what types of content and tactics will be effective, while not forcing a complete departure from the brand and risk alienating their well-established consumer base.

For instance, many brands are leveraging NFT drops to reach audiences in the metaverse. But since the largest category dominating NFTs are collectibles, this might not be the best approach for a brand that’s never played in that space. On the other hand, it’s a whole different story for sports brands that have a long history with trading cards. It’s the same with apparel companies for hat and sneaker collectors.

How to build a metaverse strategy that works

To develop an effective strategy, brands need to boil down their objectives based on who they’re trying to target. Instead of seeking to break into new audience groups through the metaverse, they should try to use the metaverse as another way to engage with their current audience. That’s the starting point for most brands if they’re new to the metaverse.

Think about how you can transform the audiences and the communities you might have today into these new digital realms.

Here’s an example: he NFL partnered with online video game Fortnite to create a series of numbered jerseys so that Fortnite players can represent their favorite teams while playing the game. With most players who play Fortnite lie in that 18-to-24 age group, and since approximately 70% of people between 18 and 34 are fans of the NFL, it was a comfortable cross section from an audience and content perspective.

But what about targeting new audiences? Like any good marketing strategy, research helps build the backbone of why you need to move in a particular direction. To grow new audiences, brands need to figure out their interests, what platforms their audiences are typically on and what content would be most effective. Then, start experimenting.

Most brands are afraid to experiment because they want to hit a home run on their first campaign. But that tends to lead brands down a wrong path. In doing so, they’ll face a misalignment between who they’re targeting and their content. And compounding the problem, there’s a lot of movement in the space. The audiences they’re targeting have multiple brands trying to earn their attention — and those audiences know it.

That makes metaverse audiences extremely averse to unoriginal, piggyback approaches. By ignoring the unnecessary distractions and focusing on how you can align content and the audience into an interaction that drives community engagement, you’ll increase your chances of success.

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