At this point, it’s clear that the metaverse will play a key role in the next phase of the web and many aspects of our lives. A recently released study by McKinsey estimated that global spending related to the metaverse could reach $5 trillion by 2030. These astronomical figures are a reminder that the sands are shifting under our feet. As tempting as it might be to remain in your comfort zone, you can’t simply pretend like the metaverse doesn’t exist. Instead, you need to make concrete plans on how exactly it will fit into your business, brand, and marketing strategies going forward.
As a brand looking to make your foray into the etaverse, the process can feel daunting. There’s a bevy of platforms, each with its own set of rules, avatars, and purposes and identifying where or how to start can be intimidating to say the least. However, this is far from an exercise in futility but rather something that can help you fortify your company in the long run.
Before you can begin to lay out your objectives in the metaverse, you need to reevaluate your brand strategy. As always, this starts with unpacking your brand positioning and getting back in touch with what makes your brand unique. This exercise also gives you an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of your target audience and their needs, desires, and behaviors.
The next phase in the process is evaluating your brand image and exploring what role the metaverse can play in enhancing it. Given the sheer number of dynamic new experiences now afforded to your brand there, your presence in the metaverse can no doubt infuse it with some energy, relevancy, and contemporariness. And even better, if you’re an early mover, you’ll undoubtedly be seen as an innovator in your category.
Once you’ve done your due diligence and bolstered your brand strategy, the real work begins. Now you’ve got to pinpoint your gaps. How do you know if you have any? The simplest way to discover them is by identifying the points along the customer journey where you’re either deficient or absent and figuring out how the metaverse might provide opportunities to bring people closer to your brand. Your gaps today might not have been ones a few years ago. They might have even been aspects of the customer journey in which you excelled. However, customer experience is an ever-changing landscape, and you have to constantly take a moment to step back and reflect on how you can continue to innovate upon your customers’ experience with your brand.
The answer will be different depending on the nature of your brand, and there is no silver bullet. If you’re a retailer, you might use VR to give your customers the opportunity to “pick up” the product and examine it more closely without having to come into a store. If you’re a travel company, you might invite your clients to take a walk down the boardwalk of the overwater bungalows in Bora Bora they are considering from their living room or office. And if you’re a service provider, you might choose to use it to simulate face-to-face interactions with your people who might be spread across the globe.
The possibilities are endless for brands looking to get closer to their customers. Imagine trying on a new pair of sneakers or stepping behind the wheel of a brand-new car all from the comfort of your own home. The chance to provide those kinds of tangible experiences are now at your fingertips. It’s the chance to architect the way you want people to experience your brand and an environment where you can better bring your brand to life in ways that were previously impossible.
The metaverse allows your customers to engage with your brand in new, useful, and often mind-blowing ways.
Although the metaverse should play a role in your marketing mix moving forward to some degree, do not lose sight of the fact that it’s still early days. The landscape has yet to fully shape up, and it’s still anybody’s guess what the metaverse will look like in a few years. In the previous edition, we spotlighted the various key players—there are many—but it remains to be seen which of the platforms will ultimately reign supreme.
Therefore, once you’ve figured out what gaps the metaverse will plug for you and have a firmer understanding of what precisely you want to do there, you can then decide how heavily you need to invest to achieve those objectives. Start by focusing on the points along your customer journey where you believe introducing metaverse touchpoints and experiences will have the greatest impact and corresponding results. Remember this isn’t an “If you build it, they will come” situation as it will take time for the masses to cross the chasm and adopt this new realm of interaction.
Study the innovative experiences others are building around you in order to gain a deeper understanding of what people are investing in and where. At the very least, it will paint a clearer picture of what kind of investment should be made in the metaverse.
As of now, we recommend treading somewhat cautiously and hedging your bets by identifying which platform you want to explore and by trying different experiences so that you can truly find your footing and lean into what works. Hedge your bets by exploring the different platforms and experiences currently available and selecting which one works best for you and your brand. Once you find you’ve chosen which path to follow, step back and reflect upon how your customer interacts with your brand. Apply a new lens to how you’re evaluating your customer journey and identify ways in which you can continue to innovate that journey.
“The metaverse is quickly taking shape, but the opportunities to create more meaningful experiences for your customers are limitless.”
Starfish is a branding and creative communications agency that ignites powerful customer connections through the discipline of brand experience.
Starfish CEO | Global Marketing Executive | Brand Strategist