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Indian brands making their way into metaverse realm

Indian brands are making their way into the new realm of the metaverse, a relatively unexplored platform that experts are hailing as the ‘future of the internet’. The global metaverse economy, which lends itself well to offering immersive virtual experiences, could be worth a whopping $8 trillion – $13 trillion by 2030, according to a Citibank report.

Speaking at a recent MMA India event, Arun Srinivas, director and head, global business group, Meta India, claimed that by the end of this decade, there may be more than a billion people on metaverse. “With metaverse, we will see a transformation in the way things are done, whether it is meetings, shopping, banking, sales training, entertainment, fitness, etc. Consumers will want to shop in a metaverse store aisle as opposed to an e-commerce platform,” he said. Meta, with three-and-a-half billion people on its apps globally, expects to play an important role in the development of the metaverse.

Web 3.0 operates on a philosophy of decentralisation, so consumers can manage their own data. Vishal Jacob, chief digital officer at Wavemaker, offers the example of existing metaverse platforms such as Sandbox, which are created on this premise.

There are three ways for brands to navigate the metaverse, as per Jacob. First comes ‘association’, like the first metaverse wedding which saw brands such as Coca-Cola, Fabelle and participate. “The idea is to explore how you can make your presence felt in an event that is already happening,” Jacob says. The second way is to make communication more experiential in nature. Brands such as Nike have tried to drive monetisation through digital art or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They drop these into existing metaverses such as Roblox or Sandbox, and consumers can purchase and use them on their avatars, or even resell them. This also helps glean consumer behaviour data. The third format that brands such as Qatar Airways are already exploring is in the creation of their own metaverse.

In India, a few brands such as Mondelez, McDowell’s No.1 Soda and Tata Tea Premium (TTP) have experimented with metaverse-led initiatives. While Mondelez created a metaverse dinner date experience on the ‘moon’ for Valentine’s Day this year, TTP and McDowell’s celebrated Holi with a metaverse party.

Show me the money
Unmisha Bhatt, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Tonic Worldwide, points out that at this stage, metaverse is really more about offering new experiences, rather than fetching ROI. “Metaverse is not yet a performance marketing platform, though it certainly has the potential in the long run to lead to business cases and ROI with virtual showrooms and demos that enable bookings and leads. The spends on metaverse are currently impulsive,” she remarks.

As markets are beginning to open up, the timing may be right to bring personalised experiences in new formats. “We will continue to evaluate impact based on consumer sentiment and engagement rate. Our TTP Holi metaverse party saw over 5,000 users and 17,000 registrations,” says Puneet Das, president – packaged beverages, India & South Asia, Tata Consumer Products.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk’s metaverse dinner date campaign saw over a million consumers send secret messages to their loved ones, which were revealed to them on a virtual moon. Anil Viswanathan, vice-president, marketing, Mondelez India observes that despite its nascency, the company will not hesitate to spend on metaverse if the right brand fit comes along.

Jacob notes that brands would need to shell out a few million dollars to get onto an established global platform like Fortnite as opposed to a few thousand dollars for emerging ones like India’s YUG Metaverse. Financial Express

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