Knowing that digitalization is not an option, but a reality for all those organizations that want to guarantee their future, it seems clear that those who do not know how to adapt will be relegated and condemned to disappear.

The rise of so-called web3 seems unstoppable. Suffice it to say that in 2021, venture capital firms invested more than $27 billion in web3 projects. It is perhaps worth clarifying the term, whereas in web2 it was necessary to install applications in order to use certain services, for example, instant messaging programs; web3 is known as the cloud internet, as much of the content is stored that way.

New web3 platforms use decentralized
blockchain
chains and cryptocurrencies for fully digitized transactions, giving creators and users a way to monetize their activities and contributions in a way that current platforms don’t offer. To put ourselves in this context, this is an example: Facebook receives revenue through user data and the sale of personalized ads. A web3 version of Facebook would allow users to monetize their own data, or even earn cryptocurrency revenue from other users for posting interesting content.

New realities

With web3 on the horizon and metaverse architecture taking shape, interest in these new realities – along with those supporting technologies that make them possible, such as blockchain, augmented reality, and virtual reality – is reaching an all-time high. Leading brands and organizations are already taking steps in this direction, experimenting in the areas of immersive experiences promised by the Metaverse, new value models based on cryptocurrency, decentralized transactions, NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens), virtual lives… the list is very long.

Although it can be assumed that the leaders of any company want their companies and brands to be ready for anything, the usual question of whether a brand is ready for the metaverse does not have such an obvious answer. The answer will depend on what the Metaverse ends up being and how it will affect business. In addition, the type of business and its sector will also have an influence.

What is the Metaverse?

Talking about the metaverse is a lot like talking about the internet in the 70s and 80s. As the building blocks of the new form of communication were established, speculation was generated about what it would look like and how it would be used. Everyone was talking about it, but few knew what it really meant or how it would work.

The metaverse is understood as a graphically rich virtual space, with a certain degree of verisimilitude, where people can work, play, shop, socialize; in short, to do what humans like to do in real life and, also, on the Internet. Proponents of the metaverse often focus on the concept of “presence” as a defining factor: feeling like you’re really there and feeling like other people are really there with you, too.

Arguably, a version of the metaverse already exists in the form of video games. However, the metaverse does not seek to be a fantasy world, but a type of alternate reality in which we will be able to do what we do today away from home, but without leaving the room.

Virtual World

As technology advances, experts predict that we will spend more and more time in digital universes, and perhaps more time in our virtual world than in the real one. Some data already shows the increase in interest: in 2020, nearly 84 million people were already using augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) on a regular basis in the United States alone, and that number is projected to continue to rise.

There is currently infinite scope for imagination with the concept of the Metaverse, not to mention an infinite limit to business growth. Big companies like Microsoft and Epic have already invested in the metaverse, aiming to reclaim their virtual brand. As a result, the augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality market is projected to reach $300 billion annually by 2024.

The best is yet to come

How the Metaverse will influence business continues to be a big topic of conversation in all specialized forums. But the reality is that what this fusion of the real and digital worlds will mean for brands has yet to be explored in depth.

Let’s consider that brands have two main functions, recognition and building trust. With respect to the second, the virtual world generates a series of unknowns. For example, Nike is a powerful and reliable brand. If you buy a Nike item and it’s defective, you trust the brand to fix the problem. However, in the Metaverse the function of the product changes completely, which exponentially amplifies the brand recognition component. Quite a change of mentality.

Brands and the Metaverse

The new normal is becoming a reality based on the hybridization of seamless interactions between online and offline experiences. There’s never been a better time to channel brand strategies by delivering exceptional experiences, engaging customers wherever they are. But it is necessary to think about this future in a way that is able to create lasting value for the brand, the business and the environment.

So, how can brands adapt their strategies to deliver value in the Metaverse?

Still immersed in full debates about the what and the how, from the brand perspective there are two strategies that should undoubtedly be taken into account:

  1. Convergence

Brand is a fundamental factor in building any business. Not only does it identify who the company is, but it also connects it with values, with a way of understanding the world. Unifying brand perception in both physical and digital environments is critical. Consistency and consistency are critical as customers demand seamless omnichannel experiences. This means moving from a physical world that has been formed by silos, to a hybrid environment that requires holistic views, finding entirely new solutions to fill critical gaps in the customer experience. Brands that want to reach their customers in a world that rejects the conventional boundaries of offline and online will need to first understand what their customers’ expectations are and find new ways to surprise and delight them.

  1. Humanization

This is the age of people, digitalization must not forget at all the need to humanize brands. With the aim of creating more personal connections with brands, it seems that there is no choice but to humanize them so that they speak and act like people, even providing them with emotional intelligence. This is a new framework where branding will evolve from a concept based on iconographic identity to human identity. A renewed virtual and real scenario at the same time, in which the brand is no longer a faceless icon, or without a voice, but evolves and acquires a human appearance, with a physical appearance, a gender, a way of expressing oneself and moving, a tone of voice and a specific language.

Now what

The future and the Metaverse are something that is being written every day as developers gradually build more and more tools and products around it. At the same time, it’s quite likely that much of its growth will be driven by the interest of companies, especially large ones, and how they manage to monetize the experience and data they provide to users.

According to Zuckerberg, in the Metaverse we will go from watching the internet to immersing ourselves in total experiences. If so, there’s nothing more promising for brands.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó
CEO Branward