Zuckerberg Metaverse? Not quite. Understand What the Metaverse is and its Impacts on Your Strategies
After more than a month of scandals and leaks of sensitive information, Facebook has become Meta. But what is this so-called Metaverse after all? Is this universe really a Zuckerberg asset?
As you’ve probably heard in the last month, a recent leak of internal documents put Facebook in a major crisis, as the company was heavily criticized for the way it handles complex issues.
Employees and internal collaborators are suing Facebook for caring only about their image and earnings, accusing it of being negligent regarding sensitive issues that were happening on the platform.
And then, surprisingly, in the wake of all this mess, Mark Zuckerberg announced a big rebrand for Facebook. From now on, the company will be called “Meta”.
In their launch video, Meta featured the “Metaverse.”
While we waited for answers, the announcement of the rebrand only brought up more questions:
What is the central point of this rebranding action? Is Zuckerberg Really The Pioneer In Bringing The Metaverse To The Internet? Will Meta massively impact the future of the Internet?
And most of all, how could this crisis affect us marketers and managers who depend on Zuckerberg platforms to produce our own results?
To answer this and more, I will address the following topics:
- Avoid the chaos and focus on the metaverse
- Is the Metaverse an innovation created in 2021?
- But at least, was Facebook the first company to explore the Metaverse?
- Meta is an attempt to leave the problems of Facebook behind?
- What about users and networks?
- Is it time for you, as a Marketing specialist, to start thinking about the Metaverse?
- How are other companies reacting?
- Take advantage of this confusion in your strategies
Avoid the chaos and focus on the metaverse
While it was unclear how the rebrand would actually help users with the issues raised in the Facebook docs, Zuckerberg was determined to build a positive, technological image around the new brand.
What do we know about Meta? The new brand will be more closely linked to Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality, which will lead to another level of interaction between humans and social technologies.
The rebranding was done in record time; In the blink of an eye, there is already a new logo implemented in all the applications of the Meta family (obviously this includes WhatsApp and Instagram).
The Metaverse can be seen as the next generation of the immersive Internet. For Meta, this means that change also leads to the evolution of products towards a completely new reality.
Users will be able to enter a virtual world and create avatars, chat, meet friends, buy virtual things with cryptocurrencies, etc.
But before we talk about what this Metaverse is and if (or how) it impacts your brand, let’s do a historical review of the topic.
Is the Metaverse an innovation created in 2021?
The answer is no: Facebook was not the first to merge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (VR / AR).
If we look back at our interactions with the technologies that are available to us, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality have slowly entered our daily lives.
We can start talking about games and then about personal assistants like Siri or Google Assistant. We also have AR on Instagram, , and many other possibilities. There are also virtual reality glasses that are used in different situations.
But at least, was Facebook the first company to explore the Metaverse?
Again, the answer is no. The Metaverse is something that already existed before Meta (Facebook).
In April of this year, Epic Games announced a $ 1 billion Funding Round to support Epic’s long-term vision for the Metaverse. And it’s not the only company that has been in the Metaverse for some time.
Artur Sychov, the founder of Somnium Space (a Metaverse used by more than 1,000 people daily), told Global News that Facebook seems to be taking the opportunity to embed itself in something that was already happening.
This could be a strategy not only to divert attention from the latest events but also to gain market leadership early on so that they can be seen as ‘trailblazers’ in the Metaverse. But they are not.
Meta is an attempt to leave the problems of Facebook behind?
When Meta was announced, Zuckerberg did not refer to the public relations issues facing the company.
Now, it appears that Meta (the company) has addressed the issue and took action, such as announcing plans to remove thousands of ads targeting hot spots and implementing warning screens to discourage posts and comments that can be perceived as bullying and harassment.
What we can say with certainty is that:
- only Zuckerberg has the answer to this question and we will never know if he is being sincere or not;
- that the growing discussions around these issues are damaging their credibility due to the complexity of the situation.
They long to be the pioneers of the Metaverse, they are trying to achieve it not only by changing strategy but also by adopting a new brand as the company goes through one of the most serious crises of confidence. It does not appear to be a mere coincidence.
What about users and networks?
In terms of the future of technology and social media, Meta can certainly lead an evolution.
This is especially true when combining the Metaverse technology that has already been developed by other companies over the years, with the powerful influence that Zuckerberg platforms still have on society.
This can also have an impact on our marketing in the future. The more interactions that take place in the virtual world, the greater the influence to produce social changes in the future.
People can start spending more time in another reality. Your habits, behaviors, and daily consumption can also be affected.
Another point is the increasing presence of smart devices (IoT), such as watches and other devices, which will connect reality with the virtual and, at the same time, collect personal data.
Is it time for you, as a Marketing specialist, to start thinking about the Metaverse?
It is good to be aware of these changes, especially when the dialogue frequently focuses on these topics.
It is still too early to say what changes Metaverse (and Zuckerberg’s other brands) might bring or how users and consumers will behave in front of them.
What we can tell you are our forecasts on the possible challenges for Marketing specialists and managers in the coming years:
- A universe of virtual possibilities: Meta promises to offer a new reality in which people can act the way they want. But don’t forget that we still exist outside of it.
- Changes in consumer behavior: this always results in challenges for Marketing specialists (especially if we think that consumers will now be present in two different realities).
- New challenges: a new channel represents a new possibility of attracting customers, but it also requires new strategies and metrics.
- An evolution in content creation: instead of posts, ebooks and whitepapers, in the virtual world we will be strongly connected to interactive experiences, whether through AR, VR, or any other source of online interactions.
How are other companies reacting?
Former Google CEO Eric Scmidt expressed on Business Insider a real concern about the increasing use of artificial intelligence in our daily lives. Not only for security reasons but also social ones.
This is because the digital world can be based on a perfect image that is not always the same as reality.
Elon Musk is another person who has stated that he does not trust AI very much. So much so that he doesn’t even trust her for Tesla.
Who is on the right track in the Metaverse, and in a simpler way, is Microsoft. It is planning to launch its version of a virtual world within Teams Meetings in 2022, according to The Verge.
The idea seems simple. People will be able to have more interactive meetings. Encounters where it will be possible to immerse yourself in 3D rooms with avatars that will be expressed according to the character of the real person.
With Microsoft coming on board in this new era, we can expect other players to join this trend quickly as well.
Take advantage of this confusion in your strategies
With all these updates regarding Facebook and Meta, it is up to us, marketers and business owners, to keep up to date on issues that could positively or negatively affect our brands and learn from this whole situation. What we can conclude is:
Social networks have repeatedly proven to be uncertain terrain for sowing business projects
Yes, having an engaged audience on social media that your buyer persona uses is a great strategy. However, you have to be careful if your brand is totally (or partially) based on Meta platforms (or even other social platforms).
Technological changes at high speed
Sooner or later, the Metaverse will be introduced into our daily lives, be it augmented reality for the camera systems of our smartphones or the glasses that companies use to create immersive experiences. We live surrounded by that type of technology.
Meta was created in a premature market, but we know that the trend is here and it continues to grow. Marketing specialists know that they must be attentive to market trends.
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