By Piyush Gupta
Aging is a constant struggle. Particularly so for brands. As the original set of loyal customers grows older, a brand must find ways to appeal to a new generation. The new customers would have different needs, expectations, and values. Gen Z, for instance, are often more diverse and global, with alternative perspectives. It makes it even harder for a brand to remain relevant and appealing to all of them.
The way Gen Z interacts with brands is also changing rapidly. Technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and the Metaverse are transforming the landscape even further, especially in the post-pandemic era. With social media and other digital platforms, Gen Z is digital native. They have grown up with an unprecedented access to information and entertainment.
Digitally savvy, they use technology to digitally connect with brands. According to a Gartner report for World Economic Forum, by 2026 a quarter of people will work, study, shop and socialize on the Metaverse by 2026. Of course, leading the charge would be Gen Z.
Changing Online Engagement
Twenty years back, it was the norm for a brand to have a website. Next, with the rise of social media, having a strong social presence became an essential to engage with customers and remain competitive in the market. As we move into the future, having a presence in the Metaverse will become just as important as having a website or a social media profile.
The immersive technologies enable personalized and interactive experiences more than websites and social media ever could. They resonate with Gen Z consumers. At the same time VR tech is growing by leaps and bounds and becoming even more sophisticated, empowering users to create their own Metaverse experiences.
We can expect Gen Z to increasingly take ownership of their digital experiences, including building their personal Metaverse. It could take many different forms – from private gaming clubs and social spaces to public discussion zones and entertainment arenas – and all done by users themselves through DIY tools.
Brands will need to remain in-sync with these trends and be innovative in engaging with consumers. They must be prepared to meet these expectations by creating immersive and interactive experiences that allow Gen Z a sense of ownership and creativity.
Brands will need to include the Metaverse into their overall marketing strategy to stay relevant and competitive. Success in the Metaverse will depend on the ability to adapt to the changing needs and desires of Gen Z, who will continue to shape the future of this virtual world.
Aim to Connect
But being present is just the beginning, making an impact is the goal. One of the biggest draws for Gen Z to the Metaverse is the social experience and the sense of community it offers. It can be a place where they search for connections with people who share unique interests and perspectives, and break down traditional boundaries of diversity.
For businesses and brands, this means that they must approach the Metaverse not as a sales platform, but as a place to connect with their target audience and create a community. Not surprisingly the rules of the physical world and the virtual world are almost the same.
The same values that a brand stands for in the physical world must be displayed in the Metaverse. It is not about sales, but about building relationships with customers and building a feeling of belonging around the brand.
To strike a chord with Gen Z, it is crucial to recognize their desire for a sense of community. They seek meaningful connections and would expect the same from the brands they follow, as well as from new brands seeking to capture their attention.
Building relationships that last
To succeed in the Metaverse, brands must carefully evaluate and harness the unique attributes that distinguish it from traditional marketing channels. By strategically leveraging the social and interactive features of these virtual worlds, brands can create distinctive and unforgettable experiences that deeply connects with their target audience. We need to bear in mind that the Metaverse is an unconventional opportunity just like website and social media once were. Time for brands to plan ahead.
The author is the CEO of VOSMOS (a company providing Metaverse, virtual events, and customized technology solutions)