QUANTUM WINS & LESSONS

Pivoting into the Metaverse; Birthing a Brand Avatar


The Elysian by Mel Lim on Spatial




Change is upon us. Our gauges for reality are shifting. Societies, cultures, and economies are about to undergo an exponential expansion to realms literally out of this world. Our definitions of who we are, and how we look and act are now subject to shifts and transformation through the sheer power of imagination. The VR worlds that were once the purview of gamers are now intentionally infiltrating every aspect of reality as we once knew it. Ladies and gentlemen, chart your course for the Metaverse. From education to healthcare, to entertainment, to architecture, to the corporate sphere, and everything in between, the digital and real worlds are merging. The next iteration of life, one lived between worlds, is at hand.


How did we get here, or (perhaps the better query) when did we begin to notice the bleed-over of infinite space into our sensory world? With the pandemic lockdown came the in-your-face realization that many people just didn’t need to commute to a physical work environment to work for their companies. Many people and their children sheltered in place and figured out how to work and receive an education through virtual connections. What followed was mass video conferencing fatigue. People felt like zombies, trapped on endless video calls. The immersive worlds began gaining traction. Visionary innovators applied technology from VR gaming and creatively designed spaces that stimulated people’s imaginations and enabled them to engage with others as themselves or as avatars, share ideas, and converse. Suddenly, more people were beginning to experience the exciting potential of VR technology. What began as entertainment for gamers crossed over into the mainstream.




The Elysian by Mel Lim on Spatial



It’s estimated that by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will work remotely using VR. (1) Workers find it convenient to not have to build time for a commute into their day or strategize a wardrobe. Businesses profit from not having to provide brick and mortar structures to accommodate their employees, pay for utilities, maintenance, and custodial, or provide catering for meetings and conferences. Yes, the outside world will absolutely evolve and our planet may benefit as fewer people need to commute, but what is most exciting are the digital worlds that will be created for us to teleport to and engage in virtually.


We are at the cusp of a work/live/play revolution, where we will all socialize, play games, work on projects, attend conferences and concerts, and shop in virtual environments that almost feel real. The Metaverse is a gateway to space and to our understanding of everything as ONE reality.(2) We will be able to travel between real and virtual worlds and do everything we already do in a multisensory way. While some may paint a dystopian picture of our future with augmented and virtual reality, as technology accelerates, our movement toward immersive experiences can be the beginning of a utopian future.



Futurum Forum Metaverse on MootUp


Companies “in the know” are racing to get up to speed and putting VR technology to use in-house. For example, Accenture, a multinational IT services firm dedicated to extended reality (XR) technology, recently acquired 60,000 Oculus headsets for training. This followed news that Bank of America rolled out VR training across 4,300 locations in the US, where 50,000 employees will experience immersive learning.(3) According to Vlad Panchenko, CEO and Founder at DMarket, the Metaverse will grow into the Omniverse, and in three years there will be millions of jobs and thousands of businesses located there.(4)


Enterprising visionaries understand the competitive stakes and the necessity of developing strategies to pivot their 2-D brand presence and offerings into the 3-D virtual world. We are at zero hour, as trends, currency, and the places people go to buy things are changing at a dizzying pace. Companies and brands have got to get up to speed and take the VR leap or they will be left behind. A number of brands have seen the future and are already tapping the consumerism of Gen Z gamers. Louis Vuitton partnered with League of Legends in 2019 and introduced lines of clothing in the virtual and physical worlds. Balenciaga partnered with Epic Games’ Fortnite (with 400 million global users) and designed virtual outfits for purchase. Gucci partnered with Roblox on designs for a virtual world, and Burberry is issuing in-game NFTs in a collaboration with Blankos Block Party featuring characters and accessories that are NFTs.(5) These ventures revealed an entire wave of potential new markets and proved to be a great opportunity for those expansive thinkers who dared to go into the beyond.



Preston and Harrison VR Atelier on Spatial




It is a new day in the world of branding. Brands that are serious about surviving and thriving in the multi-trillion-dollar VR economy of tomorrow must set up Metaverse teams now and create tactical approaches to building an XR program. Virtual versions of products will expand a brand’s identity into the Metaverse. Brands must birth their own avatars. Visionary companies like San Diego-based Maspira Groupe are already poised to help brands make the essential transition by guiding them through Metaverse basics, creating content, and building immersive storytelling experiences that engage users and instill loyalty.


Having an early presence in the Metaverse will allow brands to expand their offerings as the virtual world grows exponentially in ways that have yet to be imagined. To be both future-facing and fully aligned in vision, purpose, priorities, brand awareness, storytelling, guidelines, engagement, and conversions in the 2-D and 3-D realms are a brand’s best guarantee of a synchronous bridging and navigating of worlds.(6) Technological acumen and dexterity are essential, and every company will need a Captain Kirk and a Scotty to seamlessly traverse these bold new worlds. There’s no looking back. We have outgrown our 2-D world. It is time for all of us to step boldly forward into the 3-D realm and say “Beam me up.”



 

  1. The Future of Work: By 2025, 36 Million Americans will be Remote Workers; by N.F. Mendoza, December 15, 2020; TechRepublic

  2. Here’s How 20 Professionals Define the Metaverse Today; Jason Warnke (Senior Managing Director, Global Digital Experiences Lead at Accenture); Quote by Bosco Bellinghausen – Founder of Alissia Spaces

  3. Accenture Acquires 60,000 Oculus Quest II Headsets; Mark Dugdale, 15, October 2021; VRWorldTech

  4. More Than a Trend: Entering the Metaverse Will Become a Necessity for Brands; Cathy Hackl, June 24, 2021, Forbes

  5. Why Games Became Luxury Fashion’s NFT On-ramp; by Maghan McDowell, 10 August 2021; Vogue Business

  6. More Than a Trend: Entering the Metaverse Will Become a Necessity for Brands; Cathy Hackl, June 24, 2021, Forbes


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