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The agility to adapt to any new platform or technology is what makes a brand and a marketer capture the consumer’s mind space. With Web 3.0 and Metaverse stealing the show as the next big thing of the future, every brand has started exploring these avenues. 

While we have already started seeing brand placements, product launches and sponsorships of events on the Metaverse, it opens up next-level opportunities for content marketers too. 

To brainstorm on how Metaverse would change the way people consume branded content in the future, BuzzInContent Conversations Season 2 Episode 2 brought together an expert panel: Akshay Gurnani, Co-Founder, Schbang; Kartikeya Tiwari, National Creative Director, Kinnect; Karthik Nagarajan, Chief Content Officer, Wavemaker India; Resha Jain, Head of Content Marketing at Sugar Cosmetics and Pratik Gupta, Co-Founder, Zoo Media & FoxyMoron.

Watch the full panel discussion here:

Sharing her thoughts on brands utilising Metaverse to engage with the consumers, Jain of Sugar Cosmetics thinks that as of now executing campaigns on Metaverse is like jumping off a plane, which is both scary and exciting. She said, “There is no excitement without a little bit of fear. Metaverse has opened more avenues for content marketers. While today, we are discussing it, in the future, it will become like Web 2.0 only. Metaverse holds a lot of opportunities for the creator economy and options for revenue generation.”  

According to Gupta of Foxymoron, community building will be at the core of the Metaverse and one would also require different skill sets to create content in the Metaverse. “We will be needing space and avatar designers, people working on unreal engines, and coding. On social media, brands are very focused on building the narrative around the social community. In the same manner, in the Metaverse ecosystem, the community is going to drive everything. Even in Web 2.0, several social media platforms are focussing heavily on building groups and communities. All these trends are moving towards building a life in Web 3.0 today,” he said.   

Schbang’s Gurnani pointed out that Metaverse is an extension of the physical life and it would be highly important to focus on creating an immersive brand experience in it just the way it is in the physical world. “In the Metaverse, one can mirror anything from physical to digital life and create an immersive experience. Therefore, brands need to find out the real value they can derive from the Metaverse for themselves as well as their consumers. Currently, brands are building things on the Metaverse with the expectations of driving PR. But what they need to focus on is driving long-term value for the customers.”

Nagarajan of Wavemaker added to Gurnani’s point that most of the brand work that’s happening now is to create buzz at the surface level, but with the advent of NFTs, brands will be able to figure out more utility avenues for the consumers. 

Pointing out the challenges of the NFT space, Nagarajan gave an example, “If someone launches an NFT of ‘Dhoni’s famous six’, there are over 75,000 channels where I can see it. Then why do I need an NFT of that? Although, there are NFTs of things that money can’t buy and are of art value or new creations.”

Nagarajan further said that earlier people used to buy collectibles to place them in the house and show off to the guests visiting. But due to Covid-19, not many people visited each other's homes. But this ecosystem is opening up now. People can use NFTs as social media DPs. “Once people figure out the places one can show off their NFTs, it will only scale by itself in the future,” he added. 

Tiwari of Kinnect said that while Metaverse has expanded the universe of creativity and storytelling, it will be very challenging for brands that do not already have an existing cult following, famous IPs and mascots that they can bring on the Metaverse. He explained, “Metaverse is the biggest platform for creative expression anyone has ever seen. Theoretically, the potential is immense, but the real world comes with a price. Brands need to create long-term experiences on the Metaverse. It’s very easy for Elden Ring, God of War and Marvel to exist on Metaverse. But brands with deep pockets like BFSI, it’s difficult for them to find their place on the Metaverse. The brands that live in the moment and have not invested in building iconic IPs and stories around themselves will feel the pinch of it.”

Tiwari also pointed out that certain brands do have strong communities, but for most of the players: they will either have to create that love or borrow love from the existing communities. “But borrowed can only last for borrowed time. Big brands for once in a while can get in big celebrities to do concerts in the brand’s Metaverse, but it isn’t sustainable and cost-effective,” he added. 

Gurnani of Schbang then went on to speak that in the current scenario, educating the brands about the Metaverse should be every brand custodian's responsibility. “Once one establishes the brand’s role in the Metaverse, finding the right kind of partners to develop the brand’s space is the second most important thing,” he commented. 

On brands sponsoring events in Metaverse, be it weddings, live events or parties, Nagarajan said that right now the quality of experience on Metaverse isn’t that great because we are very early into this journey, but the learnings are priceless. 

Content marketing comes in handy for start-ups and brands that don’t have big budgets. In fact, so many smaller brands have become big over time through impactful content. While the trends suggest that it is mostly the big brands that are on the Metaverse. Can Metaverse come in use for brands and start-ups that don’t have huge marketing budgets?

Jain of Sugar Cosmetics answered, “Some bigger brands are experimenting with the Metaverse, burning money and making ways for the others to follow until this technology becomes very accessible to everyone. For smaller brands, there are so many ways to make money from it in form of NFTs. In total, the initial journey of brands in Web 3.0 is not going to be very cheap. Therefore, for smaller brands to suddenly launch a marketing activity on the Metaverse seems unviable.” 

A very important aspect of content marketing is refurbishing and repurposing content in new ways for the consumers. But according to Gupta of Zoo Media, this can’t be replicated in the Metaverse. He said, “The content has to be reimagined from the scratch, including the skillsets of people that one deploys because the engagement metrics, communication technology and platforms on Metaverse are very different.” 

Although Tiwari of Kinnect said that content IP could be repurposed for the Metaverse, its experience should be completely fresh. 

Another important aspect of content marketing is user-generated content. Talking about the scope of UGC on the Metaverse, Jain of Sugar Cosmetics said that Metaverse is in its evolution stage and there is still time for all the brands’ audiences to be there. 

Moving ahead, Nagarajan of Wavemaker commented that the metrics and methodology of measurement of content marketing effectiveness are also going to be completely different on the Metaverse. “A place which is currently building in this point in time, it is difficult to build an ROI framework. As of now, it’s just about embracing Metaverse.”

When asked if India has the right set of people with proper skill sets in India to develop content for the Metaverse, Gurnani answered, “The Indian youth is born in the times of digital and will be able to grasp this technology very quickly.”