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Coupled with the upsurge of virtual experiences as consumers’ lives transition into the digital realm, and the advances made in gaming and social technologies, brands and retailers are designing experiences and products to service consumers in their digital lifestyles. Customization, support of evolving styles, and outfit and appearance options that can be changed based on new interests or preferences, have become the key attributes consumers look for in creating avatars and online personas. Digital identities represent a new marketing channel for brands and retailers, as direct-to-avatar selling becomes the virtual direct-to-consumer model.
Nikeland was built with a goal of turning sport and play into a lifestyle, and brand fans who visit the Roblox-metaverse experience are able to create exclusive branded digital avatars and related virtual products for their in-game identities. Visitors to Nikeland also own their own “yard,” a personal digital space within Nikeworld that can serve as a platform to show off their Nike-branded items.
Each player’s virtual yard can be fully customized based around several available in-game sports. There are tennis nets, basketball hoops, soccer goals and even gymnastics equipment for the Roblox players to choose from, and the yard can be as simple or lavish as the individual player wants. Games can be played in each yard, with other users able to come and check out what’s available, and both Nike and Roblox want the emphasis to be on creating a more enjoyable and engaging gaming experience for all users.
Virtual avatars and their associated digital items and clothing are not restricted to Nikeland. Users can move their Nike-wearing virtual personas to other Roblox environments, which transforms these visitors into digital brand ambassadors. This is advertising on a new scale, and serves perhaps as a first glimpse into a future landscape where everyone will be able to create their own avatars that can be used across platforms. These next-gen collaborative experiences will provide potential to move engagement from static social media posts to fresh, dynamic and real-time interactions.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, The Influencer Marketing Landscape.