Brands Must Represent Their Authentic Self In The Metaverse

Bridget-Harpur-Interview-(VMF-ZA)

Recently, Volkswagen South Africa stepped into the metaverse with an NFT treasure hunt, launching the campaign to promote its latest Polo model’s safety and intelligence features.

“This is our first dabble in the metaverse, and the response to the campaign has been unprecedented. My advice to brands starting their journey with the metaverse would be to make sure it organically fits into a campaign,” says Bridget Harpur, Head of Marketing, Volkswagen South Africa. A key speaker at the Vibe Martech Fest, South Africa, which will take place on July 27 and 28, Harpur will discuss how marketing teams use social media in brand building in their campaigns at the virtual conference.

Excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about the Polo IQ Drive campaign in the metaverse. How can auto brands prepare for the metaverse?

The brief to our agency was to design a launch campaign for the new Polo, featuring IQ.Drive. This is a cluster of innovative technologies which assist the driver in navigating the roads better. So the agency’s idea was to use the concept of a video game and show the new Polo navigating the crazy streets of Johannesburg in the metaverse. Our heroine cleverly “beats” the game using IQ, from dodging potholes and taxis to load shedding at the traffic lights. Hidden in the ad were 100 NFTs, which users identified and won over five days. This is our first dabble in the metaverse, and the response to the campaign has been unprecedented. My advice to brands starting their journey with the metaverse would be to make sure it organically fits into a campaign and the brand’s authentic self is represented, even in the metaverse.

What marketing technology trends do you see impacting the region specifically?

My Top 3 marketing technology trends impacting the continent would be:

Automation (AI) – It’s particularly impactful for SMEs who don’t have the resources to complete repetitive tasks. This includes technologies like chatbots where customers can have quick but meaningful interactions with brands.

ecommerce – It’s big, but it will get even bigger. With people wanting more convenience and improved safety and security, plus the rise in blockchain and different payment gates like SnapScan, there is a lot of potential for brands to innovate and acquire new customers who are attracted by instant gratification

Branded content – Our ad avoider audience is growing, with consumers actively blocking ads. Content is a space brands can play in to entertain and create meaningful connections.

How can marketing teams use social media in brand building in their campaigns?

Social media is a high engagement channel consumed in real-time, allowing marketers to deliver customised content at scale. Brands can talk to sizable audiences but use buckets of content that can be highly targeted. At VMF ZA, I will discuss how brands can use social media to build their brands successfully, using the Polo NFT campaign and others as examples.

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