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The Future of Metaverse Brand Strategy is “Significant Experiences”
A publication of It's A Working Title LLC
This publication focuses on how business and economics trends, technology, and the drive for sustainability impact the global luxury, fashion, and experience economy industries. Prepared by the staff of content strategy agency and think tank It’s a Working Title LLC, each issue provides a summary of recent trends across the globe and a leader that conducts a deeper dive into content strategy.
Leader: The Future of Metaverse Brand Strategy is “Significant Experiences”
Is the metaverse a “good” investment for brands? Who are these experiences even for and what is the ROI for brands?
In a recent article, The Drum explores what “success” means for the current state of the metaverse from a brand strategy perspective. It is an interesting question and one we get a lot from clients, though it is often challenging to benchmark.
At this stage of early evolution with immersive experiences like the metaverse, it almost seems premature to talk KPIs and success measures. Yet, both qualitative and quantitative success measures are absolutely essential forms of learning and information gathering in the define and discovery phases of any project, whether it is a pilot or full-on development.
The purpose of brand metaverse activations should always be to connect with and build relationships with consumers in an innovative, fun, and meaningful way. If Gen Z are pulling back from the digital into heritage-focused physical experiences, it is out of a desire to connect with people, things, and experiences that matter.
On the other hand, you also have the popularity of the UGC-engine that is TikTok and the insidious rise of fast fashion. As Joanna Williams continually notes on LinkedIn, brands lose consumers every day by not engaging with Gen Z and Gen Alpha on these social platforms in the right way. The rise of TikTok shows not only a generation hungry to connect, share, and play new trends and ideas in rapid-fire succession but also a preference to engage with brands and purchase goods they view as desirable that can meet that see-now, buy-now mentality.
While the trend in Gen Z towards the physical and more artisanal may seem at odds with the explosion of TikTok and fast fashion among both Gen Z and Gen Alpha, both phenomena are symptomatic of a consumer desire towards authenticity, self expression, community, and co-creation. In short, consumers are done with traditional brand marketing and want a say in the products they buy, the experiences they have, and the world in which they live.
We classify all of this as a trend towards what we call “Significant Experiences”:
Significant Experiences are more personalized, vision-centered, authentic, and often story-based or immersive experiences that prioritize customization, community, and co-creation.
Through this lens, the goal of creating Significant Experiences is a perfect “why” for the metaverse. It offers brands the perfect opportunity to use technologies like AI, VR/AR, 3D modeling, and immersive metaverse spaces and gaming-like experiences to engage and re-engage with consumers by providing them with new, imaginative ways to communicate, co-create, and ideate. This means endless opportunities for storytelling and to use technology for more positive ends, like sustainability and inclusivity.
At this developmental stage of metaverse technology, as Tom Ffiske of The Immersive Wire told The Drum, “The predominant benefit is PR/brand awareness, penetrating a new demographic to increase pick-up for a brand.” From the standpoint of measuring success, the most important KPI right now for the metaverse is “creating brand love,” as Rafael Espesani, OREO UK Senior Brand Manager at Mondelēz International, told The Drum.
While the question of utility and use cases for immersive metaverse technologies are critical, brands need to think about their “why” behind these activations in order to determine the right strategy and roadmap (and the key content and UX requirements and technical specifications) to determine how to build more “Significant Experiences” for consumers.
Decentraland Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 Recap
Decentraland Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) is over and the reviews are rolling in.
We love Mike Charalambous’s perspective on year 2 of MVFW: “Last year the brands were more showing up but now they know a lot more what they want…. There’s now a coherent strategy behind it employing real narrative and brand values.”
We are very excited to see fashion and luxury brands continue to collaborate with digital fashion designers and tech experts in the metaverse space to create fun, memorable experiences.
New Pinterest Shopping Features
Social platform Pinterest announced that it is adding a new Shuffles feature designed to the UX more fun and interactive.
The Shuffles feature enables users to tap an image used in a collage to find out the brand and price of the item as well as similar items. In the report, Pinterest notes, “[U]nlike typical product exploration, Shuffles brings an interactivity that makes the experience fun…. Gen Z is curating fresh, relevant content, which is quickly making for a marketplace of trendy, shoppable ideas.”
Now this is content strategy designed to make shopping more playful and to encourage discovery.
Finding the Right Tech Solutions for Your Brand
How do you know what tech solutions are right for your brand?
As entrepreneurs, we are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of innovative tools and technologies to troubleshoot problems we don’t even know we have.
For fashion and luxury retail, digital technologies offer an array of ways to do everything better, faster, and from a more customer-needs focused perspective.
But, knowing where to start with digital transformation is half the battle.
Fábio Caversan from Stefanini Group authored a great piece for Forbes on top tech trends for fashion and luxury brands and includes some great insights and takeaways.
He notes, “Luxury retailers are finding it increasingly important to create a seamless experience across mobile, social media, web and in-store.”
He also cites Gartner’s prediction that by “2024, Tier 1 retailers in North America and Europe will reduce inventory carrying costs by 30%,” noting that the right technologies offer innovative ways to reduce inventory, to improve supply chain efficiency, and to make it all easier to manage.
According to Caversan, here are some key ways to identify the tech and innovation solutions your brand needs:
Learn more about your customers
Implement sophisticated inventory management strategies
Facilitate supply chain optimization
Drive in-store engagement
Create personalized customer experiences
We would add into the scope of his article the critical value of XR, AI, and immersive experience metaverse technologies to improve customer experience, inspire consumers, and improve both inventory and asset management, never mind sustainability and supply chain management.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of designing an overarching brand and content strategy to value set and tailor all of these technologies to your goals, your organization, your products, and your audiences.
Having the right strategy enables your brand to create processes, products, experiences, and, well, content that make technology manageable, scalable, and meaningful.
Empower Your Content through Data
Use your data to empower your content.
The problem? Brands are sitting on a goldmine of data they’re not using.
Data for data’s sake is not useful.
Data becomes powerful when it forms part of an overarching strategy that ties your business vision. goals, and success measures to your products and your content.
In short, fashion and luxury brands need content strategy.
Content strategy is a holistic approach for setting out mindful and targeted content that marries your brand’s unique raison d’être with its customers in a dynamic way.
Content strategy can also help you create a more integrated approach to data strategy that reduces siloing across teams and helps you target brand content more effectively across channels.
As Marc Bain notes in this succinct piece for The Business of Fashion, “[T]he key to making this information sharing [with data] effective is making sure teams across the company are communicating and thinking holistically and not just about their specific roles.”
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