We stand at a unique moment in time where technology is creating a new iteration of the internet. New economies that were hitherto impossible to conceive or execute have come into existence. Some of these include Play-to-Earn (P2E), D2A (Direct-to-Avatar, Digital token-based commerce, and so on. These economies powered by web3 technologies are surging ahead signaling a rate of adoption that has never been witnessed before.
Citi estimates the metaverse opportunity to be between $8trillion to $13trillion in the next eight years
eCommerce is expected to touch $3trillion after two decades of existence. We stand at an inflection point in the history of the internet where the transformation and growth will be exponential. Brands that have a DNA of innovation are blazing the trail for others to follow. This is an opportunity for organizations to take notice of the environment that is changing around them, so they not only stay relevant but are also protected from the onslaught of a fast-emerging digital future and fast-moving competitors.
Web3 is a catch-all phrase for everything blockchain, smart contracts, and digital token base economies.
Web3 enables decentralization that puts the ownership of content and entire economies in the hands of the community
No entity owns it, no single entity governs it and yet it operates under defined rules with predictable outcomes.
Metaverse is a shared digital reality that allows users to connect, socialize and transact with each other in a trust less manner. Metaverse enables persistent, immersive, and interactive experiences for brands to engage with their audience.
It is likely that you have heard of web3, metaverse, NFTs. It is highly likely that your appreciation of what they mean, and their interplay is clearly understood making it difficult to create a strategy road map to take your brand into this new world where the customers are already engaging extensively.
Even if this appears too fluid or on the edge of fiction, the fact is that this is
Opening new markets for brands
Opening new ways of accessing customers
Creating opportunities to acquire new customers
So where do you begin?
Blockchain, smart contracts, digital tokens, ERC standards, fungible, non-fungible, and tokenomics, utilities, may sound alien and sometimes intimidating. However, you absolutely do not need any tech qualifications to understand these, but you absolutely need to understand how they work.
You learned how to drive a car, how it operates, how to read the language of road signs, etc. You can now drive different vehicles and navigate in different countries with different rules. You did not have to be an automobile engineer or a train as a navigator. It is the same with web3 and the metaverse. It is simple but requires you to make that effort to learn. You just need to find the right resources.
As you explore and engage, the communities may appear to be from another planet speaking a different language. Depending on the industry you serve it is either the same audience or the early adopters amongst your customers who are now engaging with this emerging digital world.
The ‘funny looking, ‘ugly,’ meaningless-doodles-that-a-5year-old-could-draw abound until you look at the communities behind these. These pictures have come to become social identities, social flex, access to privileges, access to incentives, and benefits. They may also provide voting rights and enable communities to determine entire roadmaps of projects. Brands aspire to this level of engagement. Technology now enables this.
Furthermore, your expectation of a high-definition virtual world may be met with a pixelated version, but the reality is that the users do not mind. It is the engagement, experience, and experimentation that is more important. Spend time at Decentaland, Spatial, Somnium space, Sandbox, Roblox and understand the points of difference, points of similarities and how they power their economies.
At the time of writing, Nike has had over a 21million visits to its store in the Roblox metaverse. Vans 81million, Gucci 35.5Mil. All in just over a year. How is that for a brand engagement opportunity?
First-hand familiarisation of key technologies, NFTs, and different metaverses is crucial. Understanding how the users and brands are engaging with their audience will help you appreciate different constructs to better create your own unique metaverse strategy.
An observant passenger in a car makes for a better driver than an observer on the road who has never been in a car
So, dive in.
Once you have travelled the roads, start crafting a strategy and creating a picture of success. These are early days, and this is a continuously evolving field. You will need to partner with the best minds you can find.
I will cover the nuances of metaverse strategy in another post.
Until then, get into the weeds!