Brand management tips for the metaverse
The metaverse is a vast collection of platforms, social networks, video games, and virtual worlds where citizen-consumers can interact in the form of avatars. Whilst time will tell as to how ingrained to our psyche the metaverse will become – close to 60% of US adults don’t understand the purpose of the metaverse – of those that do understand it, nearly three in five believe it could soon be just as popular as legacy social media channels. Whether or not it becomes mainstream, the metaverse is already driving business models and product transformation at warp speed. It has even been a driving factor to Facebook being rebranded as Meta.
But while a single, unified metaverse does not and may never even exist, marketers are keen to get involved and position their brand in this new space. There is potential to reach billions of digitally-transformed consumers in one virtual place. This shift from e-commerce towards ‘meta-commerce’ will enrich the omnichannel customer experience with an added dimension, giving brands the opportunity to listen to and support their customers in an entirely new way.
The need to manage complex interactions
Brands looking to build connections and interactions with consumers in the metaverse will certainly want to open virtual storefronts. And it’s likely they’ll have committed customers who are willing to follow them there. But it won’t be as easy as putting your products on display - instead, companies will need to provide and manage a truly immersive brand experience. We’re already seeing brands take a shot at this – Coca-Cola recently used a custom-built Fortnite island to debut a brand-new limited-edition flavour called Zero Sugar Byte. There is no doubt that the metaverse will provide an exciting arena for brands to approach customers. Though if not managed effectively, these brands’ reputations will be on the line.
Organisations will also need to be mindful that many consumers will choose to navigate virtual spaces on their own, giving brands the opportunity to create lots of different touchpoints, as well as bigger, more impactful campaigns. The Sandbox, a virtual gaming platform that allows players to build, own and make money from their gaming experiences, recently announced a partnership with Tony Hawk to create the biggest skatepark in the metaverse. It’s these types of experiences and interactions that brands must consider if they are to break through the noise.
The need to build community engagement and balance
Community is already an important part of brand management in today’s digital world, particularly on social media. But when it comes to the metaverse, building and managing a community will be essential to a brand’s reputation. Think support services that help to onboard and safeguard consumers, communication and behaviour moderators and other activities that will help build a successful, safe environment.
Luckily, there is technology available today that can help. The likes of the latest artificial intelligence (AI), automation and cutting-edge technology can all be used to support an existing human-centric approach. Super smart content moderation and online safety and fraud prevention, via outstanding player analytics and payments optimisation, can all help ensure that consumers feel protected within the metaverse.
It’s imperative ambassadors are able to help users feel safe and secure, which is why content and community moderation is key. But, whilst a degree of control is needed, it is a question of balance. Users want to see and feel the presence of brand teams and ambassadors within the platform, while still being free to explore.
This is not the time for brands to cut corners. Companies need to protect their consumers, reputation, and business, both inside and outside the metaverse. Thankfully, through end-to-end solutions such as content moderation, fraud prevention, know your customer (KYC) and payment services, brands can keep their customers and their business safe.
Embracing the new frontier
Understanding customer journeys in the metaverse will be key to a brand’s success – though this can be difficult during the early stages of metaverse growth. What organisations need to understand now is how important it will be to moderate complex user behaviour and user-generated content in real-time. They’ll also need to onboard social media users into the metaverse without lowering customer support expectations. On top of that, they’ll also need to continue protecting their community and assets as they traverse through universes.
With all the myriad of opportunities and challenges ahead, there is no doubt that the metaverse is becoming the new frontier for both consumers and businesses. It will forever enhance connections with our favourite brands through entertainment, gaming, and user-generated content, while providing a space for creativeness and support in a completely new way. As companies gain confidence and discover the value the metaverse has to offer, they’ll have the chance to get ahead of the game, find new audiences and connect with them in unique ways. There is a huge opportunity for brands to establish their presence as savvy early adopters in the metaverse.