Enter the Metaverse?

The metaverse is getting much attention now as technologists, marketers, and pundits examine and debate what’s possible in this domain and how companies can leverage it. As a result, brands may wonder if they should create metaverse experiences now or wait and see if the metaverse lives up to the hype.

We think the decision is easier to make with an imaginative perspective on the metaverse, how it may evolve, and how your key personas, business, technology, and infrastructure can benefit from it.

Develop a Working Definition of What the Metaverse Means to Your Company

The idea of the metaverse is not new, but the zeitgeist is still scouring for a universally accepted definition. There are common themes like 3D visualizations and video game-like immersive experiences.

Some even say it is the internet in 3D because dimensionality is one of its essential elements. But in a more practical sense, the metaverse is effectively the next stage of internet evolution that transpires over time instead of at the flip of a switch and will continue to unwind.

We are heading to a future of technology-enabled “superpowers” that let us go inside the internet rather than solely experiencing it through a flat screen. Instead of visiting web pages and apps for everything, we’ll frequent virtual spaces and overlay information into our everyday realities. Instead of consuming, creating, and sharing content, our virtual experiences will be the content that others engage with. Think of what that means to your brand.

Will these immersive experiences replace websites? Not likely. However, the metaverse’s lure over the flat internet does seem irresistible. The level of immersion will be a central topic for user experience designers, design agencies, and consultancies in the coming years.

Why the Metaverse Should Matter to Your Enterprise

Gartner expects 25% of people to spend an hour or more each in the metaverse by 2026. And at least half of US adults and teenagers are counting on the metaverse to improve their experiences shopping for beauty, travel, clothing, furniture, real estate, and workout routines. Not to mention the opportunities VR, AR and MR bring to asset management, training, analysis, and automation.

There’s a clear potential first-mover advantage for brands that start creating immersive experiences in the metaverse. Brands daring to plunge in can help define the emerging metaverse. Brands that sit out risk treading water in a metaverse defined for them instead of riding the waves.

Let’s go back to the definition of the metaverse as the next stage of the internet. Should your brand have a website? The question seems almost ridiculous today, but in the ’90s, it wasn’t a requirement. The brands that started first got more experience about what works – other brands waited to develop an internet strategy. And thus, the concept of digital transformation was born to assist the companies that didn’t embrace the world wide web.

Determine What’s Possible for Your Brand in the Metaverse

Thinking about the metaverse in three categories can be helpful.  First, there are the immersive experiences that most of us associate with it — gaming and community.  Second, there’s blockchain technology, which encompasses Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), smart contracts, cryptocurrency wallets, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Third, are digital-twin technology that uses 3D representations of structures as large as cities to artifacts as small as a pin. But processes can also be digitally twinned.

It’s also helpful to think about the goal for each metaverse experience. Is it to immerse consumers in brand-related moments to engage them in new ways? Or is the plan to leverage digital twin technology for exact, location-independent employee training or more responsive and efficient field service? What other use cases exist for employee, customer, and asset journeys?

Once brands know which use case they want to start with, they can develop the right metaverse to fit from consumer-facing experiences to industrial applications and everything in between. Brands should be willing to experiment with metaverse technologies. This is faster, cheaper, and less risky, given the metaverse is in its infancy and the technology is rapidly evolving.

Identify the First Steps Required for Your Brand’s Entry into the Metaverse

What does a brand need to start getting some quick wins in the metaverse?

Metaverse project leaders need support and clear cross-organizational communication. For example, it’s wise to find out if other metaverse projects are planned or underway inside the company. If so, coordination will streamline tasks, prevent duplication, and generate efficiencies. Projects may also require a consultancy partner to help implement or leverage immersive technology, identify projects with fast outcomes, and develop a roadmap and metrics for success. With those steps in place, brands can embark on their journey toward metaverse maturity.

Thinking of the metaverse as the internet, but better take some of the mystique away from this unprecedented shift. However, it also compels brands to seek immersive experiences to produce. So they’re not left behind as the metaverse goes from a shiny new trend to an inevitable part of humanity’s evolution.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Thisisengineering; Pexels; Thank you!

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