READ MORE: An Evolving Strategy For The Emergent Metaverse: A Web3 Manifesto For Brands And Artists (Forbes)
Marketers might be feeling the pressure to develop a presence in the metaverse, and that means getting to grips with Web3. In many ways the interconnected virtual worlds of the nascent metaverse are an evolution of existing experiences between brands, artists and audiences. But of course, it is also more complicated than that.
“Web3 is compelling enough to command attention but daunting enough to stall many efforts before they even start, especially for brands that are tasked with other strategies, executions, and KPIs,” says Cathy Hackl, a tech futurist writing at Forbes.
Although storytelling remains the primary link between a brand and its audience, Web3 does throw a few wrenches into the works. Alongside Jeremy Gilbertson, who describes himself as a “Metaverse Methodologist,” Hackl offers a framework to help brands understand Web3 and create an informed position to develop and deliver tangible ideas in the metaverse.
“The most difficult part for brands is trying to take a stance on something that is being built in real-time by the entire community,” says Gilbertson.
ALSO ON NAB AMPLIFY:
Here are the three major considerations Gilbertson and Hackl outline within their brand framework to help marketers claim a stake in the metaverse:
Define the Metaverse for Your Brand
Define what the metaverse actually means for your brand. Gilbertson explains, “while there are many interpretations of the metaverse, the most important definition is the one created by your team. Blanket definitions can serve as inspiration, but it’s not as simple as grabbing pieces of existing copy.”
To get to this point it is advised that marketers build “a nimble, interdisciplinary, internal Web3 team.” Although, that is surely easier said than done.
The metaverse may be a wild frontier, but here at NAB Amplify we’ve got you covered! Hand-selected from our archives, here are some of the essential insights you’ll need to expand your knowledge base and confidently explore the new horizons ahead:
- What Is the Metaverse and Why Should You Care?
- Avatar to Web3: An A-Z Compendium of the Metaverse
- The Metaverse is Coming To Get You. Is That a Bad Thing?
- Don’t Expect the Metaverse to Happen Overnight
- A Framework for the Metaverse from Hardware to Hollywood and Everything in Between
Buy or Build?
Decide whether to buy or build a metaverse platform. That’s because a core part of what Web3 means is the migration of ownership from a platform to the creator.
“Instead of populating platforms with your intellectual property, you now are the platform,” says Hackl. “You can control your instance of the metaverse by building your own experiences or buying that ability from instances that already exist.”
Gilbertson advocates a strategy that combines both buying and building. For example, brands can launch pop-up experiences on metaverse platforms like Decentraland or The Sandbox.
“Compelling experiences require a community of users interacting in interesting ways, and unless you have a deeply engaged community eagerly awaiting your next project, you should meet the users where they are,” he says. “I like a hybrid approach of creating pop-up installations in these worlds to experiment and build community before driving traffic to your own presence in the metaverse.”
In the Metaverse — Just Like IRL — It’s All About Location, Location, Location
By Adrian Pennington
Brands are being encouraged to enter the #metaverse and establish connections with Gen Z, but most companies don’t have the marketing resources to burn. If you’re Nike, Adidas, Gucci or Taco Bell, then you’ve already invested in pixel real-estate or experimented with brand activations on metaversian sites like The Sandbox or Fortnite.
Here’s a top tip: practices for expanding your brand’s presence IRL can be extended into the metaverse.
So says Wyatt Ferber, director of business development and partnerships at marketing agency Boathouse.
“If a company were interested in opening a new brick-and-mortar location in the real world, the business would aggregate data about various locations, study the population of consumers in each location and investigate the possibility of further development by other companies in those same spots,” he advises. “The same process of destination evaluation and comparison exists in the metaverse.”
Extrapolating from regular business practices, Ferber goes on to suggest that companies should base their decision to “set up shop” in a virtual space by first interrogating geographic, demographic and consumer behavior data.
However, the information to form such conclusions remains minimal in the metaverse. Ferber counsels companies looking to acquire property or space in the metaverse turn to virtual real estate agents who might have that knowledge “to secure the most coveted locations and minimize the risk of their venture.”
As guidance, you might want to consider that the priority to brands building in these virtual spaces is the ease of being found. How will consumers find you? This issue mirrors that of the real world.
To help overcome this challenge, Ferber suggests one approach is to have a strategy focused on the accumulation of multi-parcel properties, making it easier to be located and offering greater options in the creative design and development process.
“These ‘districts’ or ‘estates,’ depending on the platform the vocabulary changes, will be easier to locate on the virtual map for users. Just like the location of major brands at shopping malls, the value in location is both in size and proximity to additional audience-driving brands or virtual experiences.”
In short, to be a disciplined digital investor, brands should focusing on location and the ease of visibility within a virtual world(s) since “superior immersivity will distinguish the winners from the rest.”
One of the main challenges facing marketers and the metaverse is an audience not in the least savvy with Web3 protocols. For example, majority of any non-Web3 native brand’s audience doesn’t have a wallet for crypto which is necessary for trading within a Web3 economy.
“Is your audience Web3 curious or are they Web3 averse?” poses Gilbertson. “By understanding this, brands can create strategies that align with their audience’s fluency in Web3, and they can be an onboarding ramp authentically through their activations.”
So instead of approaching Web3 as a money grab or to combat an instance of FOMO, brands could help educate people about Web3 within a branded project.
“Think about how you can engage them through traditional channels as a bridge while teaching them about security and how to avoid phishing scams” advises Hackl.
“The first step in the journey could be to set up a wallet, and once completed, the brand unlocks gated experiences as a reward.”
Does web3 offer the promise of a truly decentralized internet, or is it just another way for Big Tech to maintain its stranglehold on our personal data? Hand-picked from the NAB Amplify archives, here are the expert insights you need to understand web3’s potential and stay ahead of the curve on the information superhighway:
- Magnificent Obsession: Why Are We in Love With Web3?
- Web3 and the Battle For the Soul of the Internet
- Web 2.5 Is Just… Awkward
- Avatar to Web3: An A-Z Compendium of the Metaverse
- Brave New World? Sure, Just Click Here
Another plank of the brand framework for Web3 is to plot the outcome. Apparently, this takes quite a bit of thought to get it right.
“For some, it’s profit-driven. If so, is it an extension of an existing line of business or an entirely new product?” questions Hackl. “Others see an opportunity to expand their audience, deepen the connection with their existing audience, or activations, while authentically extending brand presence into this new realm.”
Then there’s the hardcore tech part — the bits that actually connect a brand to the technical infrastructure of Web3.
“Even if brands don’t want to get too far into the weeds, a high-level analysis for types of blockchains, levels of interoperability and decentralization, user security, and environmental impact is a great place to start,” said Gilbertson.
For example, if one group in the organization creates an idea that serves the goals of their department but requires a technology that is difficult to integrate into the company’s overall technology stack, it may never come to life.
Similar to a traditional real estate model, brands will need to evaluate ownership in or access to the metaverse.
“While some ideas will be compelling enough to dedicate resources to alleviate these complexities, other nascent ideas will be discarded before they become compelling because they are not aligned with the company’s current technical capabilities,” says Hackl.
In other words, it’s all an experiment. But getting into the sandpit is the first step to learning how to play well with others.