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Kim, MinChung
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Brand Exploration in Metaverse: Effects of Avatar Resemblance on Brand Attitude

Lee, JaehyunKim, MinChungKim, YeolibKim, YongHee
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A ‘brand’ metaverse is a virtual space where customers experience the brand via digital avatars. With the advancement of augmented and virtual reality technologies, a brand metaverse is an important medium for communicating the brand with customers. In this study, we focus on the resemblance between a customer’s self and his/her avatar (i.e., self-avatar resemblance) in the brand metaverse and examine its influence on brand attitude. Prior studies examine self-avatar resemblance exclusively in non-brand related virtual gaming platforms and test its effects on identity perception and immersion in the platforms. However, few studies probe the extent to which self-avatar resemblance influences customers’ exploration in a brand metaverse and their attitude toward the brand. We fill this research gap by uncovering the positive effects of self-avatar resemblance on brand attitude and purchase intentions. Moreover, we proffer that attitude toward the brand metaverse platform mediates the relationship between self-avatar resemblance and brand attitude. In addition, based on the interactive nature of metaverse, we hypothesize copresence―the number of avatars exploring the brand metaverse at the same time―to be a moderator which strengthens the mediation. We conduct an experiment using a fashion brand’s virtual world positioned in a popular metaverse platform. In this experiment, participants create an avatar and freely roam around in the brand metaverse with their avatar. By reviewing the screen recording of each participant’s brand exploration in the metaverse, we measure self-avatar resemblance and other constructs. We also collect responses from questionnaires designed to measure attitudinal and behavioral variables. With the accumulated data, we test the hypotheses using partial least square structural equation model and find the results largely consistent with the hypotheses. With the findings, we provide important and interesting implications to marketing practitioners considering and doing ‘metaverse marketing.’


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