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Metaverse Q&A Part Two: On Leveraging Brand IP, Adding Scale and the Value of Co-creation

A follow-up conversation with State Farm and iHeartMedia on the challenges and opportunities of marketing in the metaverse

Last week, our sister publication Chief Marketer spoke with State Farm vp of marketing Alyson Griffin and iHeartMedia cmo Gayle Troberman about their iHeartLand activation on Roblox, with insights on leveraging synergies between the two brands, the future of music in the metaverse and more. Following is part two of the discussion, with a focus on the challenges each brand has faced while building and marketing a metaverse activation, advice for businesses seeking to get jump into the space and the marketing initiatives coming down the pike for both.

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What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered while creating experiences and engaging consumers in the metaverse? What advice do you have for brands looking to get involved?

Alyson Griffin: I have to give a shout out to Chipotle who had a really cool activation. They had their actual chef talking about a recipe in the metaverse. A user could learn to make it and grill it, and then go taste it in real life down the street at your local Chipotle. I thought that was super cool, talking about their new product and driving real-world revenue from a fun little activation in the metaverse. That kind of “retail”… is easier to think about. For an insurance brand, that’s not the case. That’s where we leaned into the assets that we’ve spent decades and billions of dollars creating value for in the real world and thinking creatively about how to have them show up.

That’s why that initial NBA2K entrance for State Farm with Jake was really important, because we can test and learn and see, and now we know what we have in that asset. It’s thinking differently about the current suite of assets that a brand has at their disposal. Even the sonic [aspect]: On Roblox, in order to get the best viewing platform for the concert, you “jump” on our logo, and every time you jump on it, our “like a good neighbor” jingle plays. So, it’s being open and creative to thinking slightly differently about the wealth of assets that any brand has and being willing to try it. And if it doesn’t work, it’s okay.

Gayle Troberman: My advice would be similar. The collaboration is king, and particularly important when you’re trying new things for the first time. For us, it was a collaboration with the Roblox and Fortnite development teams who are experts in building gaming experiences. And then collaborating with brands that understand how their brand should show up and what makes sense for their consumers. And then collaborating with the artist community, with every artist thinking about what they want to do and how they want to show up. You have to be willing to be a little fearless.

It’s so much easier for brands to come in and partner with people, so we’re all playing different roles in this equation. A lot of brands do everything on their own. We put on thousands of concerts a year. Putting on concerts in the metaverse is different, but it’s still core to what we do. We’re already collaborating with the artists and their management and we know when their music’s coming out and what’s important to each artist at what point in the calendar. And we know how to promote each artist, whether it’s a hip hop artist or a pop artist or country artist.

Marketers love to have complete control, but when you’re taking a leap into the metaverse, you need to give up control and collaborate. And then you need to listen and learn and see what consumers are doing and what they’re loving and what they’re not loving. And then be willing to adapt and keep building. This is probably the most organic, living project we’ve ever created. It’s all about collaboration and learning.

To read the full interview head to Chief Marketer.

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