Why do brands need a metaverse presence?
Spoiler: Because they have to.
This is not an article with numbers and not a study with focus groups; it is a popular opinion about innovation and how brands will be required to adopt innovation, whether voluntarily or not, in favor of survival.
Big brands like Samsung, Nike, and even celebrities have bought territories and made a mark on metaverse; this has raised many questions. Is this an easy bait to spend money on? Is there a rationale behind the purchase of attendance for tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars?
Early adaptors always take the risk that consumption of early technology will bring them to a place of economic loss. Some see the experience as an opportunity since if the move is successful, they come out profitable, and brand value increases.
What pushed the early adaptors to get into the metaverse?
1. Understanding that being in a virtual space is not like a website.
The metaverse world offers complex and interactive worlds that are not equivalent to the WEB world. Some would say WEB 2.0 vs. WEB 3.0, to be exact.
Experience is the main focus in the virtual world, while in WEB 2.0, the user experience and lead-to-action are essential. While on websites, the fundamental interaction is done with the help of a keyboard and mouse while sitting static. Versite (web 3.0) offers us a different experience based on various interactions with the body, hands, and feet (now also eye-tracking and adding senses such as smell and even vibrations using devices like Woojer). So too on social media, offering a variety of creative ways to attract user attention from a moving ad to WEB games.
As part of the metaverse, the creator of the experience can separate the user from his environment and the various distractions around him, then assimilate the user into the environment and direct his attention to the information. The user moves in the virtual space and is going to be active in practice, not at the push of a button but in a natural movement of picking up, catching, delivering, shooting, selecting, and verbally answering questions in front of others characters. This interaction style opens up a whole world of experiential activity that requires creative minds to develop ways of communicating with the client that is not even slightly similar to the method of communicating with WEB 2.0 clients.
2. Understanding that early entry will be an advantage of seniority in the field, and during this time, brands can learn the new language of the virtual worlds.
The second point is the continuity of the first point. How can we learn about reaching our customers with maximum efficiency? In the early days of WEB 2.0, these methods did not exist. Still, many agencies and products stated their ability to convey the message accurately and effectively reach the customer’s heart. Sharing the relevant information, leading the customer to take active action, and other methods have become standard over the years. Activities like SEO have been built for years and streamlined according to the algorithms of the search giants. The language on social media is different and appeals to market segments of different ages; therefore, the language on Twitter is not the same as that of Facebook and is certainly different from that of Tiktok.
So, where do we start? How do we know to approach the customer and ensure that the abandonment rates are not high?
We will turn to familiar and similar worlds whose root and that of the metaverse world are the same.
Ladies and gentlemen — gaming.
The world of gaming has been with us for thousands of years. Basic methods have been tested and proven to be effective over many years. Over the years, the digital complexity and how the technique is transferred have changed. Every digital transition or change in an intermediary device reveals tools for building new protocols for contacting the end consumer. For example, in a PlayStation device, movement can be with the help of a joystick or the arrow keys. In virtual reality, there are several methods of teleportation and movement in space with the use of game controllers or the player's physical movement.
In the metaverse world, everything is experiential; without experience, there are no customers, and there are probably no brands without customers. The experience is at the center and where you need to invest, the most successful businesses in the virtual world will be the ones that will offer fun gameplay that will win the hearts of customers, the one that will provide attractive rewards, the company that will create a world champion table and the one that will think about the consumer experience.
Seniority and knowledge are required to produce the ultimate experience in the metaverse. It is necessary to run A \ B testing or introduce familiar experiences with a twist to achieve proven goals.
Then test the experience on many users and analyze the statistics. The work is never finished, and one must return to the development stage and always upgrade to innovate. If so, seniority and primacy will bring an advantage to veteran brands as well as to the advertising agencies that specialize in the experiences. The fewer mistakes will lead to greater brand profitability and higher engagement percentages to build the brand.
3. Understand that the audience attracts to fun and not where there are “quality” products.
Is the physical product important in the metaverse worlds? A complex question that maybe time will answer. But at the time of writing this article, the quality of the brand’s product is probably not reflected. As I mentioned in the previous point, the customer interacts with the experience and not the product in most cases. At the current time point of the metaverse, like many social media, there is no point in convincing a customer to purchase something during the experience; this is not a selling point! (Not yet) The purpose of the experience is to engage with the customer, create a connection to the values the company represents, generate a brand memory and make sure that whenever the customer talks in real life about the market in which the brand exists — he will name the brand with a recommendation to friends to try the experience. Over time, the experience will become the meeting place of the customers, the community, the customers’ club of the brand and thus will enable future monetization.
Questions like “How much money can we make from this now?” Irrelevant, just as they have not been asked these questions in the past about the beginnings of social media. Eventually, the community will be led by various influencers who will belong to their own interests. New professions like experience designers and agencies specializing in launching VERSITES will be created.
All of these will come together under a metaverse builder that will include the creators’ marketplace (like the marketplace of websites) and allow easy access for Versite builders to provide services to brands. Until then, brands that want a positive presence in the virtual world will have to pay a lot of dollars for independent developers (compared to the past in web development).
The winning builders in the market will allow high accessibility for an audience that does not necessarily have high-end equipment and enable intuitive tools for designing the experience. Quality builders will work with the brands and allow feedback to understand the market requirements and provide the appropriate features.
All the points mentioned above will bring an audience like a snowball and build a community of fun and raise the brand's Engagement. Do not ask where the traffic is — create it yourself.
4. The understanding that a good brand tries what the market offers in technological advancement, so the consumer perceives it as innovative and young. The brand also utilized the initials for a significant PR move.
Well — innovation has always led organizations. An organization that does not move out of its comfort zone and tries to balance with the market's technology or reinvent it does not survive. Adapting to market requirements is complex and challenging for brands, especially for old and mature brands. In the last decades, brands recognized the importance of the innovation department. The innovation in the presence on the Internet is significant since most of the brands’ customers come from the Internet these days. Customers are the ones who determine how to contact them and in which networks the brand should advertise and how to reach them.
The hourglass has already started working, and slowly there is a significant recognition by millions of users worldwide in the metaverse. I advise innovation departments to explore the virtual world to be one step ahead of users and not one step behind. Metaverse use in the initial stages serves the organization at the functional level I have presented. And in the marketing level , the ability to make an impressive public relations move with the brand’s entry into the virtual world. Demonstrating the organization's capabilities and using buzzwords will yield a significantly higher value if entering this world early. A late entry into metaverse will not interest the press and social media in any way. It will become a standard, so the brand will have a problem standing out and leading after losing the battle for innovation.
5. The understanding of monetization as E-commerce will become V-commerce
Over the years, beyond good marketing and public relations we as a brand want to see profits, we want to show monetization from our investment. Admittedly we will not see this immediately, but the return on investment we can see if we examine the metaverse and try to examine the history. Because history always repeats itself.
Where there is consumer activity, there is a business activity; we can make a careful bet that the whole WEB 2.0 world will move to WEB 3.0 as we have seen the old world move to WEB 1.0 and the same WEB 1.0 move to WEB 2.0.
So what did we have there?
Physical stores moved to representation on the WEB and then turned the presentation into a virtual store. We have seen a newspaper, radio, and television advertising move to social media advertising. We have discovered that the younger generation is repeatedly leading the revolutions in adopting technology and creating new professions and ways to make money without professional training.
Why should we think differently when it comes to entering the metaverse?
If you can not beat them, join them, they say. The basis for monetization in metaverse lies in the ability to tap from the past into the future. Creative thinking of monetization basics soon will allow a quick return on investment.
Examples of application and thinking:
Create an avatar representation for the brand that will accompany the customers just as there is a celebrity representing a company. Another idea is creating experiences with branding, sponsorship, or exposure to similar brands under the same ownership. Long-term competition yells value to loyal customers or even designs unique collections and distributes them to customers who visit the company’s versite to create outstanding value.
Eventually, these ideas and many more will allow the brand to set up a store I call V-commerce (virtual commerce) at the first opportunity that the infrastructure will enable and create real sales of physical products but not only, virtual products and trade of buying and selling NFT for example under the brand or through distributors.
To summarize this article,
For any brand that looks ahead to the future and wants to remain relevant to its customers, I recommend getting to know the metaverse and considering an experiential presence in it. The metaverse is here to stay, and giants have invested billions of dollars in supporting infrastructure and technology. All data show that the market is growing at a significant growth rate. Many customers are making a digital transition to a new platform and may eventually leave the social media that will not meet their needs as customers. Making a decision not to invest in a property in metaverse would be a costly mistake for old brands that would not adopt innovation.
Many brands have already joined metaverse in some way, creating an applicative multiplayer experience or an everyday metaverse experience. At this point, what is essential is getting to know this world, examining the metaverse's language, and rebranding the company in the virtual world.
For those who have come this far, I invite you to enrich the content or offer counter-arguments.