The metaverse is mostly a novelty—for now.
Unlike when mobile phones were first introduced with their promise of “unlimited, real-time connection, from anywhere, to anywhere,” it’s unclear at this point what intrinsic value to society the metaverse truly holds.
While much of the ongoing criticism of the metaverse is well-deserved, a quick look back through our digital history shows just how quickly that can change. Even the iPod took nearly three years (a lifetime in the digital space) to garner its first million users. And if you had asked futurists back then about its impact on the digital realm, none would have predicted how that piece of technology would spark an entire technological revolution.
While it remains the prerogative of users and consumers to scoff and remain skeptical of the coming “metaverse revolution,” it is critical that we, as marketers and brand managers, remain vigilant and poised to adapt to change.
So, what are some areas where the metaverse may actually impact brands? Here are three we think are worth keeping up with.
Top Three Areas of Metaverse Impact
Decentralization of the financial system will be where the money is in particular—through all those transactions. Perhaps adoption in the financial space will end up funding/driving the virtual reality element.
For now, the reality is that most brands shouldn’t be experimenting with virtual reality—there’s such a small group of users that the money spent to spin up virtual brand experience isn’t worth the squeeze. The “first in” approach is only a benefit to a handful of brands (e.g., Nike). However, if you want to gain some buzz about your brand and are a smaller brand entity, it might be worth dipping into this space in order to leverage PR.
The metaverse isn’t just about creating your own content, but about broader content ownership, or shared content ownership and distribution. There’s so much dormant intellectual property that can be reused and redistributed.
Through blockchain we should have the ability to see how intellectual property is being distributed, leveraged, and monetized. What’s really variable is actual value of this content.
One of the most promising horizons for the metaverse is Customer Experience (CX), where up to 72% of respondents surveyed believe that metaverse interactions will one day replace real-world interactions, or be part of a hybrid customer experience.
From previewing and demoing large purchase items like cars and homes, to banking and telemedicine, the metaverse promises to improve outcomes and reduce barriers for many consumer interactions.
In the shorter term, thinking of the metaverse as a complement to both existing e-commerce platforms and the in-person shopping experience is a prudent path going forward. In its current form, the ROI is only there for big brands or brands with a lot of cash flow. For those brands who can afford to experiment in the metaverse, the goal should be to think about the ways customers already interact with your product: What friction points exist in experiencing the product, and how can the metaverse help smooth those points? For example, helping home buyers “tour” properties in the metaverse alleviates one of the largest bottlenecks in the homebuying process: the time constraints of visiting homes in the real world. In the metaverse, buyers can spend significant time “in” a potential home assessing whether it fits their lifestyle and needs, versus touring it once or twice before making one of the biggest purchases of their life.
For those of us in categories without an obvious “killer app” for the metaverse, continuing to refine engagements outside of the metaverse seems to be the prudent, short-term course. But staying aware of improvements and keeping an eye towards experimentation and change will help foster a culture willing to pivot towards the promises the metaverse holds.
If any of this gives you pause or you find yourself looking for an experienced guiding hand, D6’s digital team are experts at helping brands prepare for and navigate on the digital horizon.