The metaverse has been the hot topic of discussion these past few months. Brands left and right were — in fact, many still are! — debating whether or not the metaverse was a social tech trend “here to stay” or just another fading fad.
Here's the thing: the metaverse has long been around. In fact, if anything, recent cultural and societal events have accelerated the social shift. Meaning… brands? It’s time to get on board, and fast.
At the start of the pandemic, thousands flocked to online shopping for the first time (and chose to stay), videotelephony and online chat services like Zoom saw substantial growth, and e-sports (plus various other virtual market sectors) moved to the forefront of the entertainment industry. This was only the beginning.
Today, consumer brands are struggling with two major things. The first is whether or not they should be incorporating the metaverse into their long-term strategies, and the second is if said pivot is absolutely necessary to continue staying on top.
[Related: NRF 2022: Direct-to-Avatar Strategy Imperative for Brands Prepping Metaverse Entry]
The answer to both questions is yes — let’s discuss.
Adapt, Adjust, or Fall Behind
Before we dive into why brands need to factor the meta in their digital strategies, let’s dive into why it will be game changing. The explosion of metaverse is further blurring the lines between the concepts of "online" and "offline." The platform is creating a unified experience to connect the physical world with the endless possibilities of an infinite online world.
Consumer businesses will need to adjust, not to a secondary universe, but to the idea that the metaverse is the future of the entirety of their efforts. The acceptance and embracing of this platform will allow business leaders to more quickly recover from the initial loss they will incur to modernize. The focus should be on reducing the friction that consumers may face as they also adapt to this new platform.
Addressing the Friction, Head On
Analyzing and understanding how consumers behave in the metaverse is going to be key. Brand marketers’ analysis may uncover completely different behavioral patterns that brands need to take into account while crafting their metaverse strategy. It is also imperative to keep in mind that as the metaverse evolves and new consumer segments emerge, behavioral buy patterns may — and likely will — continue to change.
Continuous experimentation is no longer a “nice-to-have” mindset; it’s a mandatory one. Brands need to build new hypotheses based on observations (without any bias of the present-day landscape), and then test, learn, and evolve their meta-strategies.
How We Move Forward
There is overwhelming evidence that the technology boom will continue with a greater expectation of exponential advancement. Consumers aren't satisfied with incremental steps forward. They have embraced and will continue to embrace the new reality that the metaverse will not take up time in their days but rather will be so ingrained in daily life that it will be synonymous with time.
Brands should begin researching, analyzing, and pivoting strategies to determine exactly how they can capture the finite attention of their customers. Look at Gucci for example, their metaverse launch stirred up so much attention it drove brand value and authentic consumer experiences. The time is now to get aggressive, because brands that have not boldly accepted the metaverse as the way forward are already behind.
Udayan Bose, CEO & Founder of NetElixir