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How brands can prepare today for tomorrow’s metaverse experiences

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Are you ready for the metaverse? With research predicting that immersive digital experiences will soon be commonplace for consumers, Paige O'Neill explores how brands can prepare themselves so they are ready to take advantage of this futuristic technology. 

19th Dec 2022
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The metaverse’s integration into everyday life may seem like a distant reality. However, Sitecore’s recent Perceptions of the Metaverse report found that 88% of consumers expect brands will sell or advertise in immersive digital experiences within the next two years. 

But, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Maintaining a consistent brand persona when entering any new digital media platform is extremely complex, and the metaverse brings in new challenges due to its immersive and highly interactive nature. Here are a few key considerations to ensure brands are properly preparing for the metaverse when the time is right for them to leverage this new opportunity to solve business challenges. 

Create brand standards and policies for the metaverse

Metaverse giants such as Meta and Microsoft, among others, recently formed a group to foster development of industry standards that would make the companies' emerging digital worlds compatible. And while these standards take time to develop, brands should start considering how their own metaverse will operate and define their individual brand standards.

For example, consider:

  • How will you manage financial transactions? Will you accept digital currencies like NFTs? 

  • How will you enforce data protection or protect against malware?

  • What is your metaverse advertising strategy?

The brands who fail to address these questions, will find their metaverse launch to be scattered, unplanned and, ultimately, a waste of time and resources. Adhering to industry standards is a great place to start, especially since Web3 is still burgeoning. By thoughtfully creating a roadmap and benchmarks for how you’ll launch next generation digital experiences, your brand will be able to successfully transition into Web3 and maintain a competitive edge.

Build without bias

As we usher in the next phase of the internet (Web3), there is a unique opportunity to create an inclusive environment for people to interact and learn. As with any new medium, however, there are always new opportunities for bad actors and there have already been reports of harassment in the metaverse. It’s critical that brands adapt and build new platforms to create a space where people feel empowered, included and safe.

To reduce bias in the metaverse, brands must assemble a diverse team of developers and technologists to build a more inclusive experience from the ground up. Brands should collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds and seek input from grassroot organisations to gain context and source pain points that are often overlooked in current technology. By consulting with a diverse team, brands can ensure that they are taking every perspective into account and therefore create a more inclusive metaverse for every customer.

Beyond race, age, gender and identity, brands must also consider building for people with diverse abilities. Many developers and builders have experience with online compliance regulations like ADA, and metaverse builders must take similar approaches to build adaptable, accessible experiences. Since so much of Web3 is still uncharted territory, this gives brands a blank canvas to create an accessible experience that they may not have been able to provide in other apps or websites. 

Adapt to the new world of advertising

We’re seeing a big shift in the advertising world, as brands can no longer peddle unwanted ads to random groups of people. Instead, ads must reach those who are actively interested in a brand and the experience it has built – a concept that will be strengthened in the metaverse.

As the metaverse gains steam, brands are already experimenting with immersive experiences that allow them to reach prospective customers while maintaining their loyal customers. Wendy’s, for example, has gamified the consumer engagement in its “Wendyverse”, where consumers can “unlock” free food in real life.

This is a good example of a “phygital” experience that seamlessly merges physical and digital components to engage customers and shows how brands can adapt to changes in advertising to meet customers in unique and strategic ways.

With the rise of Web3 and the metaverse, consumers have high expectations for how brands will participate. Sitecore found that 87% of consumers say the metaverse will play a big role in how they shop and interact with brands, which will force these retailers to remain agile. They must be able to quickly identify consumer trends and desires and adapt in real-time to meet them. If not, they may fall behind their competitors in attracting and retaining customers.

Brands are debating their entry into Web3, and as they begin to develop their strategies, it is critical that brand identity does not get lost in translation. Journeying into a new digital platform is never easy and must be done so with a carefully laid plan, or else brand experiences will fall flat, which could damage customer loyalty, brand reputation, and their bottom line.

By prioritising inclusivity, brand standards and flexibility, brands will be able to build metaverse experiences that reach their customers in innovative and relevant ways.

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