Tiffany demystifies the metaverse and discusses what virtual experiences brands can offer to customers.
In a report published in May, global consulting firm McKinsey forecasts the metaverse could generate up to $5 trillion by 2030. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Meta, recently said he envisions 1 billion people joining their metaverse. According to new research by Baringa, over a quarter of British retailers report they are preparing to enter the metaverse. The question for brands, marketers, and agencies is: is the metaverse becoming too big to be ignored?
To demystify, bust some myths, and discover what’s possible in the metaverse for growth-minded marketers, we welcomed Tiffany St James to the What’s Possible Community.
Tiffany is a digital strategist, futurist, and co-founder of Curate42. The company specialises in helping organisations understand and implement digital engagement opportunities in the metaverse. They help organisations realise opportunities with Web3 technologies and the metaverse.
The topic of the metaverse continues to flare up in the marketing world. Even at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year, there were immersive metaverse innovations that marketers could interrogate for themselves.
Tiffany says marketers and agencies risk being left behind if they don’t interrogate the opportunities the metaverse presents for brands.
“There is a real risk. You will see expressions of brands and businesses using, trading in, and having offers within the metaverse. We have seen that nimble small Web 3 startups who have only been going a couple of years understand this space and are working directly with the bigger brands, rather than the agency groups,” Tiffany warned.
Brands are asking their agencies about what their businesses can achieve in the metaverse. Tiffany believes there is a compelling reason for marketers within brands, organisations, and agencies to understand the space and look for the best authentic value for their clients.
Tiffany explains that there has been a lot of experimentation in the industry. The most successful implementations are in the gaming, music, trading, and collecting industries. Brands like Gucci, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Wendy’s, Hyundai, and Samsung have all begun playing around in the metaverse.
Coca-Cola launched collectable digital merchandise in the form of non-fungible tokens. To learn more about NFTs and how they will factor into the future of collectables, see our Community session with Virtua CMO, Pierre Dadd.
Nike partnered with Roblox to launch Nikeland, a free immersive virtual space where fans can explore the brand and dress their digital avatars in Nike gear. The company also acquired RTFKT, a brand that ‘redefines the boundaries of physical and digital value’ and may unlock digital community building for Nike.
Tiffany expects there to be some winners and losers along the way during this experimentation phase. Not every brand will be successful. What is apparent, however, is that a lot of the big brands are getting involved. Microsoft and Meta suggest that these technologies can even re-shape the workplace.
For Curate42, however, they are most interested in how these technologies have given rise to new ways of gathering, community building, and learning.
Tiffany says brands and businesses may not be able to ignore this technological development for much longer. This is because consumers will be demanding metaverse-like experiences when interacting with companies in the near future. The always-on self-educated customer will increasingly turn to the internet to guide themselves through the purchasing journey, Curate42 asserts.
“You’ve got the opportunity to build a space that is branded and representative of what your business looks like. That is, either your virtual space that you can bring people into and have an experience with them. Or you’re there, and you can guide them through it,” Tiffany explained.
However, Curate believes the 24/7-365, always-on brand experience and event model cannot be ignored. They believe brands and event organisers can unlock deeper and richer engagement through always-on virtual spaces.
In a recent white paper Curate42 published, they wrote: “Event organisers need to move from the traditional three-day event model or collectively lose £48 billion in annual revenue”. They can help build immersive environments where prospective customers, or attendees, can log in and explore a virtual space at their leisure.
“You can pin your content, and instead of having a flat website where people come and look at a PDF, they can come and have an experience. They can navigate and watch a video – which plays locally when they arrive in the room,” Tiffany said.
“When they move to the next piece, they can maybe fill in a survey and look at plans and what’s happening. Perhaps they can leave feedback at that moment. All during their working day on their mobile phone or desktop.”
Tiffany is passionate about showing brands and businesses what’s possible when they implement virtual experiences. She cautions, however, that it must be a good fit for the customers they are trying to target. The winners will be those businesses providing an innovative service their customers really want. Consequently, Tiffany believes marketers should be building communities. And finding out if a space in the metaverse is what their customers may respond well to.