Into the Metaverse: What Can You Learn In The Metaverse About Branding Your Business

VIRTUAL BRANDING GETS A MAKEOVER

$800 million. That’s how much Bloomberg market analysts predict that the metaverse marketplace will be worth in the next few years. Although this virtual online space has yet to fully launch, it’s already impacting brands that are looking for ways to get ahead.

In the beauty industry, branding is a cornerstone of marketing. It tells consumers a story, sums up a company’s value, and creates a lasting impression. Essentially, branding becomes a way to connect with a target audience. Translating this into the emerging virtual world is a challenge, but it’s also an exciting one as there’s so much scope for creativity in this unchartered sector. 

Let’s take a closer look at how the metaverse is set to shake up branding and what beauty brands can do to create a virtual brand that stands out. 

Enter The Metaverse

Simply put, the metaverse includes any digital experience on the internet that is immersive, three-dimensional (3D), and virtual. 

The metaverse will give us the opportunity to play, work, connect or shop in a completely virtual environment. And just to make things more fun, the products that we buy can be real or virtual too. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a great example of virtual products that are bought for real money but only exist in the digital world. These digital assets represent real-world items like music, art, and video and are bought and sold as collectables. 

 If you take a look at Beautyque’s revolutionary 3D virtual store that was created in May 2020, before the metaverse was even announced, you’ll get a glimpse of what shopping for real products in a virtual world feels like. Shopping for real products in the metaverse could feel much the same, depending on the platform that’s creating and selling the items.

It’s perhaps a bit of a contradiction to say “the metaverse” as if it were a gigantic, connected, or even interrelated universe because it’s not. In a universe, everything is interlinked and functions at the same level, or at least along the same principles. There’s a thread that runs through everything to keep it connected, whether you look at our solar system and the universe or something fictional like the Marvel Universe. Whether it’s stars or superheroes, these universes are connected and interlinked.

However, in the metaverse, things are different. Each entity, store, or brand that creates its own virtual world does so in its own way, with its own access, membership, monetization rights, and overall design and layout. This means that businesses or brands and what they offer digitally vary widely and there’s no limit to what the imagination can dream up and bring to life—virtually. Each environment exists on its own, with no common thread other than that it's online. 

The term ‘metaverse’ refers more to the concept that connects these individual worlds and experiences. It also acknowledges that we’re entering a more immersive online era than ever before and everyone is excited about the next steps. For brands, there’s now a sense of competition to see who can excel creatively and attract attention in the metaverse. But branding both in the real world and virtually is equally important, as it provides a way to connect with an audience. Without a strong real-world brand, a brand may struggle to establish itself in the metaverse as it won’t have any existing following. 

The Purpose Of Branding In The Virtual World

Branding is designed to fulfill two main purposes for customers:

  • To create trust that comes from credibility, quality, and beliefs. Bruce Lee is an excellent example of this. His marketing strategy can be summed up in his teaching that we should be like water – adaptable, ever-changing and always confident. This attitude helps a brand to connect with people and to mold to what their wants, dreams, and desires are. 
  • The second purpose of branding is self-expression or signaling. Every brand has an identity and a unique voice. It has a message to communicate and a visual identity that makes an impact and forms an instant impression A brand tells customers how they would like to be seen. Are they luxury? All-natural? Designed for unisex use? All of these elements are something that branding can indicate with a simple logo, color scheme, or slogan. 

In the metaverse, nothing will differ from the real world and digital world of today There will still be elements of trust to think about, such as quality and continuity of values. But self-expression and brand signaling are going to need to take center stage. 

Brand signals work as memory triggers and usually rely on sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste. While smell and taste are not an option online – yet – marketers are going to need to use the other cues to bring their brands to life in a new environment. In time, new tech may emerge that makes touch an option, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get us there. For now, the cues are going to be reliant on what we have access to and the technological capacity to create. 

Enhanced presences and an enhanced environment can be created to allow for deep interactions in the virtual world. Shopping experiences with real voices, the application of AI and AR, and 3D will all play a role here too. 

Like the mind shift that took place when marketers transitioned from catalogs to e-commerce and, finally, to anywhere-commerce, branding in the metaverse needs a fundamental change in its approach. Sight and sound are going to be the two most important components of branding in the virtual world. A brand needs to focus on these purposes and adjust its branding strategy accordingly. 

Why Brands Are Marketing In The Metaverse

By now, it’s very clear that our increasing reliance on tech has forever changed the way we shop. The pandemic was responsible for accelerating this trend and, for many, it’s now a way of life – or as we say, the new normal. But this new normal isn’t a negative thing, it’s amazing! Humans are not flexible to change by nature, but by facing difficulties we can thrive and move forward in new and exciting ways that open up a world of possibilities- in this case, a virtual world. 

The metaverse looks set to blur the lines between digital and physical commerce even further, changing the way customers see and experience the world. In the same way that the internet opened up a world of consumers for brands when it first became a commonly-used tool, the metaverse is a great opportunity for brands to broaden their reach even further.

As Gen Z is the leading presence in the metaverse, marketing gives businesses a new way to reach this valuable demographic. Gen Z grew up online, and creating a brand that stands out in this virtual world could lead to an entirely new revenue stream for any beauty business looking to grow its reach. Becoming an early adopter of metaverse marketing can give brands an edge over competitors who aren’t yet ready to take the leap into this new realm.

In a nutshell, entering the metaverse and creating a powerful branding strategy is crucial to getting ahead now and making sure that a brand stays relevant for a long time to come.

How Can Brands Use The Metaverse

There are numerous ways that brands can use the metaverse to create a relationship with consumers. Some of the simplest ways to begin brand building in this virtual world include:

  • Creating NFTs that represent your brand or company
  • An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects such as art, music, in-game items, and videos. These assets are bought and sold online, often with cryptocurrency, and are generally encoded with the same software.

    Although they’ve been around since 2014, NFTs are gaining in popularity as a way to purchase and sell digital artwork. The market for NFTs was worth an astounding $41 billion in 2021 alone – almost the total value of the entire global fine art market.

    In addition, NFTs are generally one of a kind, or at least one of a very limited run, and have unique identifying codes. 

    Clinique has already capitalized on the popularity of NFTs. When the brand's Black Honey lipstick went viral on TikTok and sold out, it created an NFT showcasing the product. This gave consumers the chance to get in on the experience and to own it digitally.   

  • Hosting events and launches within the metaverse
  • Virtual events were thrust into the spotlight at the start of the pandemic, and they’ve become increasingly popular ever since. As events continue to evolve and technology keeps disrupting this space, the metaverse is set to change the way we enjoy events virtually.

    With event planners continually looking for ways to keep their audience engaged, the metaverse provides a promising way to do this. The increasing availability of tech such as VR headsets, apps that utilize augmented reality (AR), and 3D software is making it easier than ever to create events that are even better than the real thing. 

    Beautyque has hosted several virtual events, giving consumers across the world a chance to connect, interact with, and experience the brand – and all the brands it represents. The virtual world also lends itself to virtual launches, making it ideal for the beauty industry or for those who want to introduce new spa experiences or concepts. Consumers can get a real feel for what they can purchase, and a brand has the opportunity to create a connection in their minds that could lead to future sales. 

  • Creating virtual stores or platforms for shopping experiences
  • The additional convenience that virtual shopping provides helps retailers increase online sales. In fact, for customers who utilize an e-commerce store’s online video chat feature, there’s a 30% increase in average order value. This is because virtual tools such as chat allow brands to provide a more human sales journey. As opposed to regular e-commerce stores, sites and apps that have a virtual element can use their sales team to build trust and strengthen customer relationships. 

    In the metaverse, this opportunity to really connect with consumers will be enhanced dramatically. A brand can create a comprehensive shopping experience complete with brand ambassadors who assist customers in making purchases, answer any related questions, and even advise them on which products to choose for their skin type or coloring. 

    Just like shopping for beauty products in-store, a brand can promote its products and educate consumers about what will work for them, and why. Using an avatar, video chat, or text-based chat, brands can interact with consumers in a 3D environment, helping to guide their purchasing decisions. They can also utilize AR to show consumers what a product will look like, especially in the case of lipstick, eye shadow, and other similar cosmetics. AR has already made huge leaps forward, and in time, the tech evolution is sure to bring even more improvements to the way it’s utilized. 

    A positive, interactive virtual shopping experience is sure to create a memorable impression. Based on this great experience, every customer will remember the brands that they interacted with. This will increase retention and, in turn, improve turnover. 

    Branding Enters A New Dimension

    Strong branding has always been essential and entering the metaverse won’t change this. A strong brand is crucial in a competitive marketplace and it’s a basic requirement for every business, no matter what they have to offer. 

    Based on the need for a strong brand, there’s a lot that beauty brands can already learn about branding in the metaverse. But the key takeaway is that branding in this new virtual world is going to offer different and exciting ways to connect with an audience. There are new ways to engage and interact with consumers, and every brand needs to capitalize on this. 

    Now is the time to adopt a test-and-learn mindset, to be open to experimenting, and to build a brand in a virtual world that demands attention yet still inspires trust. The beauty world is changing and virtual branding in the metaverse is part of this.


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