Is it Metaverse?
Since the dawn of the internet, web developers have been kind of obsessed with creating virtual realities, from the candid conversations in AOL chatrooms to the full-scale world-building in Second Life. As our online lives become more and more seamlessly merged with our offline ones, more virtual reality-ish tools (immersive headsets, multiplayer online video games, those uncanny valley Apple MeMoji things) are popping up every day. And ever since Facebook announced its vision to pivot toward virtual reality—and renamed its parent company Meta— the collective virtual dimension known as the metaverse has been on everyone’s mind.
Some savvy brands have already started running promotions in the metaverse, making other brands curious what their first foray into virtual-world advertising should be/ go “ooh ooh me too!”/ask their employees ages 30 and under to figure out what to do with it. And as new companies constantly try to build their own versions of the metaverse, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to pinpoint what exactly the metaverse even is.
So to try and make sense of it all, let’s play the game that’s been sweeping the internet…
IS! IT! METAVERSE?!
That’s right! The only game where we talk about companies and products in the virtual realm and try to determine whether each one is or isn’t part of the metaverse.
Let’s meet our four panelists:
- Digital Director
- Once rented a VirtualBoy from a Blockbuster video
- Has had a Second Life account since 2008
“For something to be metaverse it needs to be persistent (stuff can happen when I’m not there) and have some kind of economy, whether through its own currency, cryptocurrency, or digital goods trading.“
- Digital Strategist
- Developed an AR museum walkthrough project using Google Glass (Which could become relevant again someday, who knows?)
- Gets motion sickness from watching other people play 1st person video games
“Most successful tech ideas aren’t cutting-edge. They tend to come about when technology has evolved far enough to resurrect what failed in the past. The metaverse is primed to take advantage of that. Probably.”
- Media Director (Digital)
- Has a 5-star island on Animal Crossing
- Created a Facebook account when it was only open to college students
“I’ve read too many dystopian YA novels to not be worried about the ramifications of going to a fully VR society.”
- Younger than Google
- Thinks Mark Zuckerberg might be a lizard person
“I really hope the metaverse isn’t the only way I’ll get to meet my grandkids.”
Onto the game.
We'll name a thing and let the panelists decide if it counts as the metaverse or not. Let’s get started!
And the winner is... Mark Zuckerberg! (Just kidding. Mostly.) Should your brand be using the metaverse to reach your consumers? Yes. But also maybe no. It depends on if your customers are in the metaverse or not. If they are, you should be too. If you’re a food company that delivers to offices a lot, maybe make a Microsoft Teams background that counts down to a group order arriving. Or if you see an uptick in orders every time there's a virtual concert in Decentraland, maybe you can put a virtual food truck next to the concert that users can order real food from. It’s all about finding the right channel where you’ll be relevant.
Don’t be worried if you’re doing the metaverse “right.” There’s no playbook for it yet, so if what you’re doing matches your brand, then it’s the right thing to do. It’s always been about being true to your brand and going where your customers are— whether they’re in the metaverse, the multiverse, or the real-world-verse.