Almost no other topic has become as controversial as the metaverse. For some it’s the latest buzzword that will disappear as fast as it becomes ubiquitous. For others, it’s a game-changing new reality.
In a recent Future of Luxury masterclass in Paris, we polled the participants — all top leaders of luxury brands — on which new trend, technology, or lifestyle change they think will impact their businesses the most. The metaverse was the top pick.
This is also reflected by the sheer volume of metaverse projects in the luxury space. Many spend millions on experimentation, yet few brands actually produce initiatives that create significant value or go beyond a PR activity.
In my view, the metaverse as part of Web3-related new realities is going to be as critical to luxury brands as the internet and social media. We are still in its infancy given that only one device, the Oculus Quest 2 by Meta, has managed to achieve significant reach so far. However, despite its limitations, it’s a precursor of what is to come.
I recently presented a metaverse keynote in the metaverse using Quest 2. The setting we chose was a space station circling around Saturn, and participants were encouraged to play virtual minigolf during the keynote. I joined from my conference room in Malibu, California, while the other participants connected from all over the world, some from Paris, some from Amsterdam and London, and others from New York. Though we were all in different “real world” locations, it felt like everyone was in the same room, aka the space station.
While I was elaborating about the opportunities and principles of brand experience creation in the metaverse, we started playing virtual mini golf. The setting created a human connection and intensity that I never expected and that even exceeded to some extent a “real world” presentation. It was a combination of a disruptive visual and spatial experience walking through the virtual reality space, getting completely new impressions, and being for one hour fully present in the moment without phones or any other distractions. This experience convinced me that the immersive metaverse will become not just mainstream as technologies evolve but will entirely change how we interact. We may be still a few years out, but the implications are relevant today.
What is critical now is to generate an understanding of opportunities and risks and to separate noise from strategy. Most metaverse initiatives today, including NFTs, are failures on many dimensions: I estimate around 90 to 95 percent. Millions of dollars are sunk in non-value-creating and non-strategic moves. In many cases, the impact on brand equity will be felt for years. The challenge many companies face is that they underestimate the savviness of their youngest and most influential clients and how they judge the performance of luxury brands in digital realities.
When only very limited value is created and companies (over-)charge for digital assets that lack storytelling, strategy, and often audiences, then experimentations can warp very fast into nightmare scenarios. On the other hand, when initiatives are done well and are backed by a unique value-creating story, brands can gain desirability through a new disruptive channel.
Given the urgency of the topic for many brands and the high demand for education on this matter, Équité and Jing Daily have teamed up to provide an exclusive series for Jing Daily readers. Over the course of three webinars, I will take a closer look at strategic questions and imperatives on the metaverse (session 1 on September 6); assess value creation and pricing aspects in the metaverse (session 2 on September 13); and host a discussion in an expert panel with leading digital strategists (session 3 on September 20).
The series will provide participants with the latest insights into managing luxury brands in the metaverse as well as hands-on strategies to lead metaverse projects successfully.
Register to reserve your spot here.