Marketing in the metaverse – what will it look like?
Olga LitkovetsView bio
I remember watching the movie "The Fifth Element" as a child and thinking that maybe one day flying cars, virtual transportation and holograms would be a reality – with the metaverse, it's proving to be time for these somewhat crazy ideas to become actual experiences.
There is a lot of noise around the metaverse.
What is it? How is it going to work? Will it eventually replace all face-to-face interactions? So many of us are still confused and left with more questions than answers. Don’t worry, you are not alone!
Change always brings with it a lot of speculation, and sometimes resistance, but also an array of amazing opportunities. In this instance, it’s a monumental change that will gear us up for a whole new way of living.
Thirty years ago, if someone told you there would be a platform where you could find an answer to any question in just a few seconds and clicks, would you have believed it? Probably not. Then Google was born, and humanity never looked back.
Simply put, the metaverse is considered the next evolution of the internet. The metaverse is a digital reality combining aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to allow users to interact virtually in one place.
Thinking about marketing and how people and businesses can connect within the metaverse stirs up a huge amount of excitement for me.
I wonder, what will marketing look like in this immersive digital space? How are we going to connect and find individuals, businesses, products etc.?
1. Starting with the brand
First and foremost, it starts with the brand - how does it look, feel and what does it represent. Imagine if you gave your business brand a sound or a song - what would that be? What is the core of its identity? Is it creating the right perception? Will your targeted audience recognise and connect with it?
We will need to get creative in how we link our physical world and brand perception into the immersive world. Authenticity in who we are and what we represent as a business will be so important. Some businesses are already excelling when it comes to creating authentic, emotional connections with their customers – others are a work in progress.
The question for professional services firms, is how can we represent our purpose and vision through our brand image?
With multiple platforms offering immersive environments, decentralised communication channels and a new two-way process of engaging with clients, we must choose wisely. Apart from offering a product or service, we must create an environment where clients become brand advocates and partners rather than consumers only.
We will need to be strategic when choosing which platforms we want to embrace, researching and identifying which provide the best opportunity and brand fit. It can be a challenge to know which one is the best, so background checks and research needs to happen before a business commits to choosing their platforms.
When it comes to positioning in the immersive world - the sky is the limit. Step into your clients’ shoes and imagine what their experience and preferences might be. Ultimately, we will have to build ’digital bonds’ and ensure our customers are connecting with our services and products.
We will need to create an effective positioning strategy that speaks not only to our brand values, but also demonstrates the unique features or capabilities we can deliver. It also needs to have a softer side that represents the authentic vibes of the brand culture and nurtures relationships with people and audiences.
For businesses, the metaverse represents an opportunity to engage with clients in entirely new ways while evolving internal capabilities and brand innovation.
Collaboration, openness and making it 'real' through engagement, in my opinion, will be the key to building a strong community that understands and appreciates what a business has to offer.
3. Identifying risks of brand reputation
It is crucial to be identifying risks for brand reputation and proactively creating a plan for how to avoid them as far as possible or, in the worst-case scenario, handle them (aka crisis communications). Apart from protecting information, brands will need to think about how to respond to critical situations to avoid reputational damage. In the metaverse, the risk of brand damage is a lot greater as it is live globally in real-time, so any unhappy client and provocative comments without an immediate response can cause irreparable damage.
There are multiple examples of businesses losing millions of dollars because they neglected social media’s superpower of virally spreading negative news in a matter of minutes.
For the construction industry, I also see confidentiality of projects becoming a huge issue - protecting leakage of any information will be critical.
4. Crafting immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences
Imagine for a moment that, instead of just talking about your product, you can take your client on an immersive adventure to try it out - from rollercoasters to walking through a new building design. We all know it exists to some extent with Virtual Reality (VR) but it is pre-programmed. Imagine entering a live and constantly evolving environment that provides a unique experience every time.
It is possible to easily assemble a team from multiple locations around the world into one virtual metaverse room - with a physical immersive presence that is somewhat different to a two-dimensional video call.
The opportunities are limitless. The metaverse offers a chance to break through barriers of the physical world and connect with anyone, anywhere in real time.
It is amazing to see how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabian governments are already one step ahead and setting ambitious goals. For example, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has already announced the launch of its DEWAverse platform becoming the first UAE government organisation to launch in the metaverse.
NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s flagship smart city, has announced that it will have a digital twin in the metaverse to allow guests to have the same immersive experience of this multi-billion-dollar futuristic city as in the physical world. The sky really is the limit!
Considering all the above, we will need to rethink how we measure marketing success. Data science will be essential to not only track and analyse statistics but also to understand the softer side such as people’s preferences, passion, cultural authenticity, and social trends.
So, the big question is - will the metaverse transform the entire world of marketing into fully immersive and digital spaces? I doubt it! At least for our generation we will still enjoy an abundance of human-to-human interaction, but it will definitely add another important layer to our existence, how we do business and interact with each other.