A few months ago, we hosted a webinar where we challenged some great minds from great brands to help us create a map into the metaverse. The hour-long discussion went far and wide. And by the end, we came up with some solid steps brands can take if they want to start exploring the possibilities of the metaverse – and the wider Web 3.0 environment.
We distilled this down until we had five destinations on this journey into the metaverse:
- Survey the landscape
- Create a strategic map
- Get your crew onboard
- Chart your success
- Measure your progress and adjust
The metaverse is also full of FOMO. We don’t believe great decisions are necessarily made from a fear of missing out – although it can be useful for moving projects along. So we also polled our webinar attendees to see where they are on their own brand journey. While these by no means portray a full picture of the state of metaverse projects globally, we think they do give some insight into how early-stage some of these brand projects are in general.
1. Survey the landscape (65% of respondents)
Surveying the landscape might initially seem passive, but every journey simply has to start by hoisting yourself up to the crow’s nest, peering through that telescope and taking a look at what’s going on around you.
This can be making a list of what others are doing in the metaverse, exploring what they do wrong or right, and seeing opportunities to make things better. Or, when it comes to emerging technologies like the metaverse, it can simply involve playing and experiencing what makes these digital environments so compelling.
Open minds will succeed in this crucial first step.
“The first technology [to explore to get acquainted with the metaverse] is Xbox, PS5 or your PC,” Matt Marcus from Publicis Groupe explained to us.
“Gaming engines are the places where the metaverse is emerging. Fortnite is a metaverse; it’s got an incredible creative environment where you can build all kinds of things. Just getting in and playing around and seeing what individuals are making in these spaces … that’s a great place to be.”
2. Create a strategic roadmap (25% of respondents)
Once you’ve seen what the landscape currently holds, it’s time to strategize around what your metaverse experience can be – where you’ll start, your goals and how you’ll iterate towards greater success.
Many of the things that makes the metaverse an enticing experience boils down to interactivity and immersion. They’re two keywords that define what people want in the metaverse, but they’re so-far lacking.
So as part of your strategy, brands should look at how they can enable more interactive, immersive experiences for their users.
“If it’s just about a virtual space, it’s not interesting,” Gana Meissner from Forward 31 (an innovation hub for Porsche) told us. “It’s ultimately about the people – the people you engage with – and really focusing more on that human part of the interaction.”
3. Get your crew onboard (5% of respondents)
How you get internal buy-in is an age-old question for future-focused technologies. It’s hard to show people why something is important when you can’t actually show them. Not to mention, some people will always be resistant to change.
It will be the younger generations who will build the metaverse. So it’s important to make use of their ideas in your project planning, as Thomas McMullen, Creative Director at Digitas explained to us.
“You need to make sure the juniors and the young people are part of the team. That’s a given. And you need to be listening to them. Their voice needs to be heard in the projects – that really helps.
“[And] make sure it’s led by someone who’s actually passionate about the metaverse. I think it’s really important that people who love it speak up.”
You can also use expert analyst research to help get internal buy-in, whether from your teams or from boards.
“We use the Gartner Hype Cycle as a way for people to get excited,” Thomas continued. And that’s a great, impartial way of showing that you’re not just running off chasing rainbows; you’re proactively looking at technologies that are tipped to succeed in the next few years.
More than that, the Gartner Hype Cycle (as the name suggests) uses its famous way of modeling hype, disillusionment and eventually productivity. It helps teams and boards see that just because a technology has passed peak hype, it’s certainly not dead in the water.
4. Chart your course (5% of respondents)
What’s important when creating your first metaverse projects and campaigns is that they’re designed for learning.
This might be a change in thinking for marketing or innovation teams who have a greater idea of what’s involved and what’s at stake. Your teams, your goals, your measurables need to be calibrated to provide valuable lessons and takeaways – things you can build on as the metaverse begins to take shape over the coming few years.
So don’t be afraid to technically “fail”. Be brave, test, learn and try new things. This kind of mentality is what being a pioneer is all about!
“We have to get our mind into a new way of thinking,” Arno Selhorst from Deutsche Telekom told us. “What it means to collaborate, to work with each other, to build new communities and to take an active role again after Web 2.0, which was maybe a little bit more passive.”
5. Measure your progress and adjust
With your goals set, the right team, an exciting project and the right mindset all in place, we’re coming towards the end of our roadmap to metaverse success. But really it’s just the start.
As you start measuring your results, it’s time to iterate, tweak and start continuously acting on those learnings.
Remember, at this stage in the metaverse, you may need to move away from success metrics as you know them.
“When it comes to setting yourself up for success, it depends on what the success is,” Thomas McMullen from Digitas advises.
“If you’re trying to fulfil a traditional marketing goal right now in the metaverse, you’re going to fail. But if you’re trying to just try something – just dip your toes in the possibilities of the future – then you’re setting yourself up for success. Because THIS is the future.”
If you’d like to unpack these stages in much more detail, you can watch the full webinar below. Or, if you wish to explore what digital humans can do to make your metaverse experiences more immersive, interactive and fun, our team is available to chat.