Public Relations News | The metaverse: potential and risks
Even though the “metaverse” has been around for a while, doing marketing and PR in the VR space can still be confusing for many of us.
According to the technology-driven platform Tekdeeps, the metaverse is “a shared virtual space created by combining the physical world with the virtual world and includes virtual reality, augmented reality and the Internet”. The term was first coined in the 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson.
Leverage embryonic versions of the metaverse for influence, branding, selling, fundraising, etc. is not new. In 2018, Wendy’s inserted their post about organically unfrozen beef in Fortnite’s “Food Fight” game. He merged advertising with entertainment. Social media mentions increased 119% and the campaign won first prize at the Cannes Lions Festival. In 2019, Facebook created a type of metaverse with Horizon.
But what’s new about the Metaverse is how its potential has surfaced in mainstream business thought. In addition, one of the basic components that power it, 5G, is now accepted. Many clients and clients are now demanding more information and insight into the metaverse, which means communicators need to be aware of its possibilities and risks.
Here’s an introduction to seven ways the metaverse could create new value in communications.
The magic of multidimensional escape. The Search Engine Journal puts it this way: “We can now get out of our real world and into a virtual world where we will have a new economy, a new environment, a new currency and new behaviors. »The escape is available 24/7. Consumers might be so grateful for such a refuge that they will be more receptive to products, services and messages.
Launch of a Metaverse brand only. Such a brand could develop a cult identity and generate sustained demand. The analogy would be private labels. Only available from a specific retailer, they can build intense loyalty. Later, the Metaverse brand could be expanded to sell in the physical space.
Sampling of products without going through bricks and mortar. Consumers can sit in their reclining chair and experiment from all angles. Outerwear can be tried on and consumers can ask avatars what they look like. Much of it is already available, of course. But the experience is qualitatively different in the metaverse. Shopping could become total entertainment.
Set up promotional activities alongside those that take place in real life. A mashup deployment of virtual and real life can reproduce the peculiarity of what the late Steve Jobs orchestrated for product announcements at Apple. Consumers can enter and exit both.
Take advantage of gamification. While gamification can be conducted outside of the metaverse, bringing it into virtual space can add unusual intensity. As part of the customer’s buying journey for a condo, there could be treasure hunts or solving the mystery of the mummy murder in the attic.
Replace human influencers with virtual influencers. The former can be costly, unpredictable and a source of scandal. Those in virtual space can be controlled. This includes configuring the virtual influencer to sync with client / client personas.
Unleash the collective power of the community. Eventually, there will be related metaverse. Currently, most of them are self-contained or “walled gardens”. This private space can intensify the connection experience. The collaboration could be more open and productive. In addition, community members can be mobilized to help solve a global social problem.
As with anything in its early stages, the risks can seem overwhelming.
At the top of them are the legal complexities. After all, America is the contentious one. In May 2021, law firm Reed Smith’s Entertainment and Media Industry Group released the 72-page white paper “Guide to the Metaverse”.
Among the legal issues that Smith singles out: intellectual property; data protection and privacy; Content license; Bitcoins and other crypto assets; Reputation and deepfake; and the management of antitrust and competitive risks.
Another risk is inadequate market segmentation. For example, like 360 digital commerce points out, consumers over 50 prefer a formal communication style. Although they have become more comfortable with digital, especially during COVID, they want promotional approaches to be simple and slow. The metaverse might be too much.
Another risk is this: they can build the metaverse and no one will come. Marketing and PR companies need to take a step back and rethink all communication assumptions. These might even include how to name or rename products and services. What is recommended is to tag or relaunch the products with the keyword “metaverse” for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
Also, what kinds of resources will he need in order to be allowed into the walled garden to present himself to this existing community? Integrated, a network of online communities, sees the need for experimentation, just as it was necessary when social networks were new. Communicators need to develop a mindset of wanting to explore.
Meanwhile, big tech players ranging from Microsoft to Facebook are gearing up for the metaverse as a major trend. For example, Microsoft acquired the video game company ZeniMaxMedia for $ 7.5 billion. Facebook is changing brands to migrate from the social network to virtual reality and the hardware for that.
Jane Genova specializes in results-oriented marketing communications strategy and content ([email protected]).