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Winning Web 3.0: Creating Immersive Metaverse Experiences

Understanding the web 3.0 metaverse and its key characteristics is essential to creating immersive and engaging metaverse experiences for your customers.

Rewind 10 years: Smartphones have already hit the market, but their potential is just beginning to be recognized. Now, whenever we need to purchase something on the go, run an errand at the bank, or share an update with our friends and family, we intuitively pick up our phone and complete the task in a matter of minutes or even seconds.  

In the same vein, we will see the Metaverse gradually blend into our lives, providing added convenience, multi-layered connectivity and unprecedented experiences in ways we have yet to discover. Brands need to pave the way for this future. In Web 2.0, brands serve as identities, externalizing purpose, values and personality, while engaging with customers and consumers. In Web 3.0, brands have evolved into entities. The Metaverse enables brands to come alive and interact with consumers in novel, innovative ways.  

To prepare for this uniquely immersive future, brands must start thinking of how to create unique experiences in the infancy of the Metaverse. What test and learn experiments can be launched in the near-term future? First, we must understand what differentiates the Web 3.0 Metaverse from the Web 2.0 we know. 

5 Characteristics of the Web 3.0-Enabled Metaverse

1. User-Owned  

Enabled by blockchain technology, the true Metaverse will be a decentralized platform, where users are given ownership over their data, assets and experiences. Unlike in Web 2.0, where consumer information is constantly being tracked, stored and sold, users will be able to decide how they want to collect and even monetize their own data in the Metaverse.  

In the Sandbox’s Metaverse, for example, players who hold SAND tokens make up the platform’s governance through a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) where decisions are made by voting. 

2. Anonymous 

 The Metaverse allows users to have the freedom to shape their identities without being limited by their age, race, gender, appearance, citizenship and more – constraints that are unavoidable in the physical world. Instead, users rely on avatars – and can shape them to be any persona they want, choosing physical traits and a pseudonym they desire.  

3. Infinite 

 In the Metaverse, there can be an unlimited number of users as well as interoperable virtual worlds. And these users can move freely, unrestricted by constraints of the physical world such as distance, time and borders.  

For instance, rapper Travis Scott performed a larger-than-life concert in the video game Fortnite. The surreal spectacle was watched by over 12 million players, earning the artist $20 million according to reports. 

4. Boundlessly Immersive 

 With the continued advancement of 3D, VR and AR technologies, the Metaverse will continue to offer more interactivity and a more immersive digital presence for users. It will increasingly become a parallel reality of people’s everyday lives, with virtual and physical experiences reinforcing one another.  

Farzi Café, in India, has partnered with OneRare, a Metaverse built for the food and beverage industry. Users can play games at the Metaverse version of Farzi Café, minting tokens that can be exchanged for actual food items at the restaurant’s physical location. 

5. Persistent 

 The Metaverse is a permanent virtual space (which can be continuously built upon and is constantly evolving) that is independent of whether an individual user is online or offline. The persistence of the Metaverse allows users to share experiences synchronously or asynchronously. 

How Brands Are Building Metaverse Experiences Today and Tomorrow 

When foraying into the Metaverse, brands must take into account these characteristics that are unique to Web 3.0 and build accordingly. Brands that are pushing into the Metaverse understand that reimagining their brand experience and their business model will be key to finding early success. 

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The 2020 pandemic posed a major challenge for countries that rely heavily on tourism revenue. To create a virtual alternative, Singapore’s Sentosa Island partnered with Nintendo Switch’s popular game, Animal Crossing, to offer a unique experience – to explore the island of Sentosa in the Metaverse. Visitors from all parts of the world were also able to purchase unique merchandise and take part in social events and experiences, creating a new revenue source for the island in the absence of traditional tourism spend.  

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Fashion house Ralph Lauren announced that its Q3 2022 revenue increased by 27% to $1.8 billion as it tapped into an all-new market in the Metaverse and a new Gen Z customer base. The brand partnered with gaming platform Roblox to launch the Ralph Lauren Winter Escape experience, which includes winter-themed activities, a Ralph’s Coffee Truck and exclusive digital apparel. On South –Korea-based Zepeto, Ralph Lauren similarly offers clothing to users to dress their avatars, selling more than one hundred thousand units in the first few weeks post-launch. It’s become clear to Ralph Lauren that virtual product sales will grow to become a significant revenue stream for the brand. 

3 Considerations for Business Innovation in the Metaverse 

However, creating one-off brand campaigns on the Metaverse is not enough. Brands must think deeply about their customer journeys of the future. In our conversations with tech leaders and brand owners alike, this recognition is shared by many: “Consumer behavior and the battlefield of brand marketing have changed. Digital natives are the early adopters in the Metaverse. Brands must build their brand, create new experiences and reimagine their products in the virtual world,” said Grace Huang, head of B2B marketing at Yahoo Taiwan. 

In the Metaverse, users can explore virtual worlds that exist in parallel with their lives in the physical world. As technology advances, the lines between these worlds will become increasingly blurred and the transition between them nearly seamless. Brands must consider how the above characteristics will shape the future of brand experiences. We anticipate three major shifts: 

1. Persona 

 The current standards by which our social value system is defined may change. “Metazens” may have professions that don’t yet exist today, possess far more virtual assets than physical ones and restructure the entire social hierarchy. As a start, brands can rethink how they design their products. For instance, apparel in the Metaverse can span a much broader range of sizes, shapes, colors and designs than in the physical world, but items that can be recreated offline as well might have additional appeal.  

2: Behavior 

 A significant amount of time will be spent online, from work to hobbies and from shopping to personal banking. Most activities can and will be completed in the Metaverse in the not-so-faraway future. Brands can consider which interactions with their consumers can be replicated in the Metaverse. Which will disappear entirely? What will emerge that does not yet exist in the physical world? 

3. Business 

 Gaming and entertainment are the initial sectors to have entered the Metaverse, but eventually, every industry will be reimagined and reinvented. Similar to e-commerce’s evolution over the past few decades, the Metaverse has the potential to become a major contributor to the world’s economy. What are near-in and far-out revenue streams that brands may be able to create? 

With this future full of untapped opportunities, what can brands get started on today? 

  • Start to get immersed in the Metaverse, as a brand builder but also as a user. Designate Metaverse experts within your team and organization. 
  • Ideate on how your industry and intersecting industries will be reshaped by the Metaverse. Look to both in and out of category examples to find opportunities for innovation. 
  • Choose one or two ideas to build out, implement and test, leveraging an agile approach to gather immediate feedback from partners and customers. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Designing Metaverse experiences is the next frontier of creating relevant and engaging brand experiences for your customers. Companies across industries are testing out bold ways to launch into the Metaverse, through partnerships, business model innovation and test and learn approaches. 

Prophet has both the digital expertise and the experience innovation to be your partner in the Metaverse. Connect with us today to discuss a Metaverse experience strategy for your brand. 

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