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The metaverse has become one of the most talked-about innovations since Mark Zuckerberg bet the future of Facebook on it. He even went so far as to rename his company, Meta. The metaverse is the next iteration of the evolution of the Internet. It’s a place where your brand needs to have a strong presence.
The metaverse is embodied internet
Neal Stephenson first coined the term metaverse in his 1992 book, Snow crash. But perhaps the first major chief executive officer (CEO) to discuss the metaverse was Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Nadella described Azure’s offering as a metaverse during his keynote address at Microsoft Building developer conferencesaying:
“Finally, as the virtual and physical worlds converge, the metaverse, comprised of digital twins, simulated environments, and mixed reality, emerges as a premium platform. With the metaverse, the entire world becomes your app canvas.”
However, Zuckerberg’s conversation with Casey Newton brought the idea to a worldwide audience. Zuckerberg described it as a “successor to the mobile internet”, calling it an “embodied internet, where instead of just watching content – you sit in it. And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, with other experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or web page.”
That notion of presence is at the heart of what the metaverse is about. In Mathew Ball’s Metaverse Primerhe described the metaverse as seven qualities:
- Synchronicity and Quality of Life
- No limit on the number of concurrent users
- Existing as a complete, coherent economy
- Bridge the gap between the digital and physical world
- Provide interoperability of all assets, items, content and data
- The content and experiences should populate the environment and be created and managed by a variety of contributors, from individuals to groups of people
We can take these seven properties as the basis for our understanding of what the metaverse is.
How can brands participate in the metaverse?
As the metaverse is built, more and more people will spend parts of their lives in it. So you need to understand your current customers and your target audience. From there, brands need to figure out how their audiences and customers move to the metaverse. They can then calibrate their strategy based on the amount of time they spend in the metaverse. Gen Z and younger are likely to embrace the metaverse faster than any other demographic. So brands whose core customers come from that demographic will have to act quickly to adapt to the metaverse.
Related: Metaverse: A Breakthrough Innovation for Entrepreneurs
However, brands should be aware that speed is not as important as the right metaverse. Ultimately, a first-mover advantage is lost as rivals catch up. Long-term success is about getting the fundamentals right. It’s about being the best mover, even if it means not being the first mover.
A company must navigate a competitive landscape to survive and have any chance of making a profit. It’s important that you begin to study how your competitors navigate the metaverse and the kinds of decisions they make there. Do they see something you don’t? Can you learn something from their approach? What are they missing? It can help to assign someone to study the metaverse and help your company align its strategy with the opportunities and challenges of the metaverse.
Your brand needs to think about ways the metaverse helps it achieve long-term goals faster or more deeply. Currently, ESG investing is becoming increasingly important. The metaverse can provide a path to try out innovations to achieve long-term sustainability and other ESG goals in a measurable way.
Explore the best way for your brand to enter the metaverse. This can go a long way in determining how successful your brand will be. You want your entrance to be as seamless as possible. Difficulty accessing can stain your brand. Winning the metaverse isn’t about filling the metaverse with ads. It’s about creating value. Brands need to create great experiences for their target audience and customers. Nike’s Rise on Roblox like Gucci’s Launch of an NFT are examples of how brands can get the right metaverse and deliver value to customers.
Related: 6 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse
The metaverse, like the Internet today, will not be dominated by a single company. As far as we have multiple social media apps, we will have multiple metaverses. There will be room to build many metaverses within one metaverse. Brands can create their own private metaverses and serve their customers in one or several different metaverses. The metaverse will be both niche and large.
Brands already in the metaverse are aware that, like all new technologies, it holds the promise of high rewards. But that also carries a significant risk. All new technologies will have teething problems. For example, the lack of standards, questions about content moderation, reliability and other matters. Brands need to know that they face a very real chance of failure. But the rewards of success surpass anything they’ve tried since the advent of mobile internet.
The embodied nature of the metaverse presents unique challenges for brands. You need to be able to tell a story in a way that is both compelling and real. Even though it doesn’t look like anything in reality. In fact, the metaverse really does offer creatives an opportunity to build on a scale they’ve never attempted before. This will be a real test of the imagination. Especially since the metaverse is in many ways a form of escape. So it really has to give people something that is fundamentally different from what they see on a daily basis, so that they become addicted. Brands that can effectively leverage their creativity across the metaverse will inevitably fare well.
Related: Why Your Business Should Prepare for the Metaverse