Brands in the Metaverse

Conquering new spaces for brand experiences

Credits: Nike

The Metaverse offers new opportunities for brands to present themselves and to attract consumers with exciting, inspiring experiences. Mathias Ullrich, Managing Director at LIGANOVA, shares the dos and don’ts for a presence in virtual environments.


The Metaverse is today where the internet was in the early 1990s, so predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. Much of the media hype surrounding three-dimensional digital worlds of experience is reminiscent of Second Life, which was celebrated at the end of the noughties. Nevertheless, one thing is already certain: the Metaverse has come to stay. Thinking about social gatherings during the pandemic and the gaming industry that has been developing for decades, virtual spaces are a familiar terrain for billions of people. They meet there not only to play games but to inform themselves, exchange ideas, and experience something together with their community. Three-dimensional digital spaces are social spaces. And, they are spaces in which consumers already meet brands millions of times – whether the brands want them to or not. It is time for companies to create structures that make their appearance fit for the Metaverse.


Long-term experience is still lacking. What can already be said: As in any other channel, it is about offering the target group a unique experience. This does not work if a Metaverse engagement is conceptualized past the needs. Consider the European Union’s Global Gateway Gala: the 24-hour beach party at the Metaverse was supposed to get younger people excited about the EU’s work. They did not come. The virtual beach remained empty. Web3 activities can also be risky: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) – still popular objects of speculation last year – seem to have lost their appeal. Brands are tolerated guests in the Metaverse, as they were in social media ten years ago. They should look for partners, adapt to the customs of the respective community, and carefully examine the mechanisms of successful activities on the platform to adapt their concept to them. Long-term successful brands build communities.

Credits: Artificial Rome


Virtual events in three-dimensional digital worlds inspire people. Millions of users stroll through the Metaverse as avatars. 45.8 million alone attended Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert. They also encounter more and more brand spaces during their wanderings. Tommy Hilfiger, for example, sold tokens in the virtual store in Decentraland that could be exchanged for physical goods. At Nike or Ralph Lauren, users buy clothes for their avatars. A limited-edition Gucci bag sold for $4,115 in Roblox – more than it would have cost in “real life”. Successful virtual spaces do not replicate reality one-to-one – they create new worlds. The key is brand-specific environments that can be photorealistic or illustrative, natural or architectural. There are no limits to what can be done. Brands can create infinite spaces in the Metaverse for virtual trade fairs, product launches, live concerts, conferences, keynote stages, and virtual showrooms. Like the Casa Madrigal from Disney’s hit film “Encanto”, the rooms of the Metaverse defy the laws of nature. Companies have the opportunity to create brand experiences that ignore time and space, captivate target groups, and reflect values and visions. This is an opportunity that has not been sufficiently exploited so far. As with the change from traditional retail to experience-oriented new retail, brands in the Metaverse must set special target-group-specific incentives and enable the building of communities.

Due to the rapid technical development, large-scale integration into corporate e-commerce strategies is now only a question of when, not if.

During the Metaverse Fashion Week 2023, Artificial Rome, a subsidiary of the LIGANOVA GROUP, showed what the future of jointly experienced product presentations in the Metaverse could look like: high-resolution and photo-realistic, interactive and visionary. Integrated online sales tools, connections to the online store, possibilities for direct purchase of clothing and NFTs pave the way from pure brand presentation to an integrated sales tool.

The linking of both worlds also promises special experiences. Pokémon GO is a prime example of how virtual elements can be integrated into physical reality. Among children and adults alike, the hunt for the little fantasy creatures is back in vogue – and it leads players into unknown realms again and again. Why not transfer this successful gamification, which has earned the company Niantic up to 900 million dollars annually in recent years, to brands and stores? Digital incentives à la Pokémon can, among other things, revitalize poorly visited stores, make museums a desirable place again, create brand loyalty and generate sales – both analogue and digital.

Artificial Rome, for example, staged a multiplayer game for the car brand KIA that was shared virally and played over 1 million times. The next step of such viral community formats is to expand into the physical space where the next level of play could be “unlocked”: several multiplayer tracks could be linked together or the next viral game could be launched. A coming together of the community in both digital and real space is the goal of such activations.

The Metaverse offers enormous opportunities, both singularly and through a complementary interplay of both worlds – physical and digital.

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