I want to start off this blog by being brutally honest. I don't like what I think the Metaverse will bring to our society.
From my standpoint, we need to be reducing screen time and online experiences and focus on in-person experiences. My worry is that society will lose touch with reality more than we already have.
Despite my initial take on the Metaverse, I am also confident that along with the negative impact it will have on our society, there will still be some incredible positives that we will all benefit from. This article isn't about bashing the Metaverse, this blog's purpose is about the opportunity I think businesses will have within the space and how early adopters will see massive benefits.
What is the Metaverse?
In the simplest terms, the Metaverse is an endless network of real-time 3D worlds and simulations. No longer will you have to wonder what it's like to stand in that far away country you've always wanted to visit, try on that piece of clothing, or ride that wave in Laguna. The Metaverse will allow you to experience dreams like this and others in real-time along with countless individuals.
While many thought leaders have made it clear to state that the Metaverse isn't a real place, I think this will be one of society's biggest struggles. Determining real from fantasy.
How Old is the Metaverse?
Despite what the general public thinks, the Metaverse isn't new. It's just only been widely discussed since the end of 2021, specifically when Mark Zuckerberg made his announcement from changing the brand name of Facebook to Meta.
The term metaverse can be traced back to Neal Stephenson and his dystopian cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. The novel was released in 1992, and it's considered a canon of the genre, along with William Gibson's Neuromancer, which describes a virtual reality dataspace called the matrix.
Taken from: https://www.td.org/atd-blog/what-is-the-metaverse-where-we-are-and-where-were-headed
Take a look at this Google Search Trend from 2021.
Advertising In the Metaverse
The strongest form of marketing is when you don't even realize you're being marketed to and I think that's what we can expect in the Metaverse.
Remember when Influencers started to appear? We didn't even know what they were at the time, we just assumed they were people we knew of, or trusted sharing bits of their life and not actually trying to sell us products or services. Before becoming public knowledge, Influencers were one of the best forms of what I would call, sneaky marketing.
That organic feeling we once felt is what I expect to be part of the Metaverse and frankly, it's already happening.
Purchasing Real Products In the Metaverse
Imagine walking through a city you have always wanted to visit in the Metaverse. You come across a Domino's and order a pizza that is connected to your MetaMask wallet. You make a payment and then instead of experiencing that pizza in the Metaverse, your doorbell rings, and your pizza arrives at your actual home. Weird right? But this is an actual thing. To the point that the NFT of a picture of the first pizza ever purchased landed on OpenSea.
This won't end with huge chains like Domino's, smaller brands will be able to take advantage of similar in-home experiences, it will just take them longer to get there.
Think of it as a live performance that has been canceled or had some restrictions because of Covid. We've come to expect huge businesses like MLB and NBA to come up with a solution but we're seeing it now with small local venues as well. Instead of canceling the performance altogether, we have been offered streaming services of a show or event and in some cases, our faces have been displayed on a seat in a stadium for a basketball game to show us in the stands.
This will be no different with the Metaverse, I fully expect to have the option to go see your favorite artist at Madison Square Garden perform through the Metaverse one day.
Want to see it in person, you still can. Want to stream it at home for a lower price? Absolutely. Want to see it live in the Metaverse? Sure thing, just make a payment through your digital wallet and take a seat.
Creating Digital Assets For The Metaverse
We're seeing large brands like Coca-Cola, Gucci, and Gap start to create products that can be worn and exchanged in the Metaverse. People will be able to have this to show their social status and if they choose to, they can sell these digital assets for profit in the future.
Here is Gap's first NFT released last month. They made these available for purchase, which then opened people up to buy a more exclusive and rare digital asset after these sold out. Basically, you wouldn't get the opportunity to buy the limited rare digital assets unless you bought the lower-priced digital assets.
It's also worth noting that just because you bought the less rare asset it didn't guarantee you of getting the more rare asset.
Just like we see local brands create their own clothing, they could do the same for the Metaverse by creating their own digital asset. People love to support their favorite local by repping their favorite brand. Think of doing the exact same thing but in the Metaverse.
Reward Existing Customers
Remember when we used to carry around loyalty cards in our wallets all the time? These cards would open up an exclusive world for us with different discounts or items people couldn't get without being part of the club. This has happened for decades and you can expect the same thing in the Metaverse.
Just like your favorite musician offers behind-the-scenes footage on that Blu-Ray you purchased or your favorite restaurant allows for discounts when you purchase through their app. Any business could do the same thing in the Metaverse.
Imagine yourself as a coach of some sort. You normally provide a service that your members can get at a base level but now you could go a step further and reward them with another more exclusive level of content that can only be available in the Metaverse.
One thing any BRAND can do in the Metaverse
What if businesses looked at the Metaverse differently. Instead of trying to advertise our business directly in the Metaverse with display advertising or creating our own digital assets to be sold, why not promote our business indirectly.
No different than visiting an in-person event or chiming in on a Facebook Group in your niche, why not spend time in the Metaverse? Connecting with people there like you would in-person or on social media. Engaging with people and having real discussions while creating real connections. This will allow you to converse with people you might have never had the chance to connect with before while developing brand awareness.
With cryptocurrencies, blockchain tech, and VR becoming more real by the day, brands and individuals will now look to create content specifically for that platform. Regardless of the size of your brand, there will be a place for everyone at the table but how you execute will be up to you.
Expect huge brands to get burned and brands to build off the Metaverse alone. This new marketing platform will unlock experiences we've never known possible.
If you're a brand looking to engage with a younger demographic; then selling exclusivity, networking, or rewarding those individuals will open you up to whole new opportunities.