A new study from Vox Media found that 80% of internet users are open to brands being involved in the metaverse, and 53% want brands to help them have experiences they aren’t able to have in the physical world.
Yet, with the logistics and technology of Web 3.0 remaining undeveloped and undefined, how are brands expected to trust or understand current metaverse opportunities?
To help answer this question, we spoke with Briar Prestidge, a metaverse entrepreneur who acts as CEO of Prestidge Group and recently launched a collection of non-fungible token (NFT) pantsuits that were shown in the first-ever metaverse Fashion Week in Decentraland.
MediaPost: With metaverse technology still relatively undeveloped, how should skeptical brands prepare now?
Briar Prestidge: At the moment, you don't have to be ready. Just like when the internet started you didn't have to be ready either. But eventually every company will become a Web3 company.
The nice thing about entering now is that you can dabble...You can experiment and learn about it rather than 5 or 10 years down the line when it might be too late. So many companies waited for the last minute to be on the internet -- do they exist today? Probably not.
It's the same for companies that didn't bother to go through digital transformation before COVID-19. We always have to be thinking ahead and evolving.
MP: What do you think about Meta's adoption of NFTs on Facebook and Instagram?
BP: I think it's the start of it. It's only going to spiral from here.
I think from what we're seeing in the market at the moment with NFT sales being down -- it's a time like this when we'll start to weed out the projects that aren't as strong. Certainly on the metaverse side of things, I've seen some projects pop up that I think are stupid.
What is the point?' That is the important question brands should be asking themselves before they do anything. Why spend all of this money trying to be in the metaverse if it's not a very good idea and you don't have a proper strategy and you don't know why you're doing it?
MP: Do you think Decentraland is the current leader of virtual worlds?
BP: They certainly have grown and they had the world's first metaverse fashion week recently -- which was pretty incredible. However, I know there are a lot of great things going on in Odysee and Roblox and Horizon. It's hard to tell.
With regard to the technology, some platforms have stronger visuals, and some don't have legs for avatars. Ready Player Me on the other hand is doing a lot of integrations and their avatar customization is amazing.
MP: Why might a brand want to become metaverse-ready?
BP: It's trending at the moment. If you are a brand and are able to be part of the conversation, this is what people are discussing at the moment. It's always about being relevant and the brands that aren't involved in it aren't so relevant right now.
MP: What should brands keep in mind when experimenting in the metaverse?
BP: Think about the strategy and the purpose. Then start to think about the platforms. There are big platforms, but right now nothing is really integrated. My suits are on Decentraland at the moment but not on another platform.
We have to manually be reaching out to Ready Player Me and Odysee and Horizon and other platforms to get the suits on there. I look forward to the future when you can take your purchase and walk into the next metaverse and see the integration of these virtual worlds.
Brands should begin thinking about the long-term side of things. They can't be everywhere at the moment -- so where is the most meaningful place for them to be in the now?
MP: Are there specific strategies that will help brands take on the metaverse?
BP: Gamify the user experience. Because our younger generations have grown up as digital natives, their brains are going to be wired differently...This to them is all second nature.
We've got kids begging their parents to buy them NFT Nikes. One of my friends' cousins went trick-or-treating on Halloween and he wanted an NFT Halloween costume. They asked him why he didn't want one in real life and he said 'All my friends are doing it on Roblox.' To them this is just as important as real life.
I believe that brands need to start to think about how they will gamify the experience so that they are connecting with these kids, who in 10 years' time will be their customers. Which will also be when the metaverse is coming into fruition –– so brands need to be planning this stuff now.
MP: Are there particular brands or industries that will be successful in the metaverse?
BP: I think we're certainly seeing retail doing quite well. Especially with Nike's collaborations and huge projects with fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana's big NFT sale.
But I think we need to be creative about how other industries will apply themselves in the metaverse.
To be honest, the metaverse isn't always virtual reality anyway. It could be holograms, or crypto –– there are so many different components to the metaverse, it doesn't have to always be a whole virtual world.
MP: Do you have a metaverse "doomsday scenario"?
BP: What happens when our virtual worlds become better than our real worlds?
MP: Does the potential for more invasive privacy issues concern you?
BP: I do think it is concerning. Already the social media platforms have so much data on us, and if our physical world is interlinked, if we're using contacts, for instance – –and to be honest, I'm looking forward to the day I don't have to carry this thing [points to phone] around –– but where's the line? I think it's going to be so important as with anything that we do have regulations.
MP: You mentioned that women are creating a more inclusive metaverse. How so?
BP: My whole message to women, especially -- we're obviously a woman-led brand––is that we need to get involved now. We need to stay curious, we need to participate, we need to get involved.
In the last few months, we have seen the rise of some powerhouse women. These types of profiles are doing a lot to educate and encourage others and I think there is a higher ratio of women involved in the metaverse than there are women in tech.
There was a woman assaulted in virtual reality and there were women complaining that when they entered they would only see male avatars around them. But I think in the last few months this is starting to change.
MP: What are the biggest differences when launching products in a virtual world and the real world?
BP: When I think of myself and what I want to wear in the metaverse, I want to be fantastic and outrageous and have a persona I might not be able to get away with in real life. I certainly couldn't walk down the road wearing a suit made of shards of glass.
You go through the same kind of process in both. In real life you have to get the product fixed and tweak things slightly. You do the same thing in virtual reality as well, but production is so much easier.
It's just dropping it on Decentraland -- minting it. Whereas in real life you need to do all the runs and distribution.
In the metaverse you get to be as creative as you want.