The metaverse – Is it important for your business?
The metaverse is the latest in a string of buzzwords that has captured the imagination of the public. While internet fads will come and go (like hairstyles and fashions), it may be difficult to know which ones to ignore, and which ones will become table stakes. After all, many businesses believed social media just a craze. So then, do you need the metaverse to make your business succeed?
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual “landscape” that allows users from anywhere in the world to interact with each other using virtual and augmented reality to mimic the way people connect in the real world. Put simply, the metaverse includes any digital experience on the internet that is persistent, immersive, three-dimensional (3D), and virtual.
The metaverse is not a new concept, but it made headlines in July last year when Mark Zuckerberg staked Facebook’s future on the metaverse. To prove he was “all in”, he renamed the company Meta. Facebook is not the only company to invest in this landscape. In February of this year, the MTN Group was the first African company to enter the metaverse with land ownership on Africarare, the first virtual reality metaverse in Africa. Major console and PC gaming titles, such as Epic Games’ Fortnite, have also invested billions into normalising playing and socialising with people in these virtual settings.
It’s safe to say that the metaverse is the tech world’s next big thing. But is it anywhere close to delivering on its promise?
The metaverse will allow brands to create awareness for their products or services by maximising on experiential marketing and creating memorable experiences for customers. Creating virtual worlds will create unique journeys and delight customers. The most exciting aspect of the metaverse is that anything goes when it comes to structural make-up.
Not only will this new iteration of the internet likely become a social platform where people can interact virtually but using the same blockchain methodology as NFT (which stands for ‘non-fungible token) and cryptocurrencies could see these technologies converge in a rich digital economy.
This leaves us with the question: should your client or brand be making plans to join the metaverse? Brands should always be in a test-and-learn mode because the digital landscape requires intellectual curiosity. The metaverse is potentially the next iteration of how individuals use the internet to connect, communicate and transact and sitting on the side-lines too long is not likely to be an option. However, like all content, quality content is what generates value – so investing in this new technology without a clear strategy is unlikely to be successful.
The bottom line is that the metaverse will continue to evolve and be the platform for everything from social interaction to point-of-purchase sales. It’s an area of tremendous growth that will boast significant investment and it will be important for business to be aware of. While it may not be advisable to go all in just yet, brands can start looking at their digital and data readiness to capitalise on this opportunity while the proverbial iron is hot.
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