By Piyush Gupta
Aging is a constant struggle. This is especially true for brands. As the original group of loyal customers ages, a brand must find ways to appeal to a new generation. The new customers have different needs, expectations and values. Generation Z, for example, is often more diverse and global and has alternative perspectives. This makes it even more difficult for a brand to stay relevant and attractive to everyone.
The way Gen Z interacts with brands is also changing rapidly. Technologies like virtual reality (VR) and the metaverse continue to change the landscape, especially in the post-pandemic era. With social media and other digital platforms, Generation Z is “digital native”. They grew up with unprecedented access to information and entertainment.
They are digitally savvy and use technology to connect digitally with brands. According to a Gartner report for the World Economic Forum, by 2026, a quarter of people will be working, studying, shopping, and socializing in the Metaverse. Generation Z is of course at the forefront.
Changing online engagement
Twenty years ago it was common for a brand to have a website. With the advent of social media, a strong social presence has become a must-have for connecting with customers and staying competitive in the marketplace. Moving forward, having a presence in the metaverse will be as important as having a website or social media profile.
Immersive technologies enable more personalized and interactive experiences than websites and social media ever could. They resonate well with Gen Z consumers. At the same time, VR technology is growing by leaps and bounds and becoming more sophisticated, allowing 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 – all done by the users themselves using DIY tools.
Brands need to keep up with these trends and innovate in how they interact with consumers. They must be prepared to deliver on those expectations by creating immersive and interactive experiences that instill Gen Z with a sense of ownership and creativity.
Brands need to incorporate the metaverse into their overall marketing strategy to remain relevant and competitive. Success in the metaverse will depend on the ability to adapt to the changing needs and desires of Generation Z, who will continue to shape the future of this virtual world.
The goal is to establish a connection
But presence is just the beginning, making an impact is the goal. One of the biggest draws for Gen Z at the Metaverse is the social experience and sense of community it offers. It can be a place where they seek connections with people who share unique interests and perspectives, breaking traditional boundaries of diversity.
For businesses and brands, this means they don’t need to think of the Metaverse as a sales platform, but as a place to connect with their audience and build a community. Not surprisingly, the rules of the physical world and the virtual world are nearly the same.
The same values that a brand represents in the physical world need to be reflected in the metaverse. It’s not about selling, it’s about building relationships with customers and building a sense of belonging around the brand.
In order to strike a chord with Gen Z, it’s important to recognize their desire for a sense of community. They look for meaningful connections and expect the same from the brands they follow and new brands looking to grab their attention.
Building lasting relationships
To be successful in the metaverse, brands must carefully evaluate and capitalize on the unique characteristics that set them apart from traditional marketing channels. By strategically utilizing the social and interactive features of these virtual worlds, brands can create distinctive and unforgettable experiences that create a deep connection with their target audience. We have to keep in mind that the Metaverse is an unconventional opportunity, just like websites and social media used to be. Time for brands to plan ahead.
The author is CEO of VOSMOS (a company that offers metaverse, virtual events and customized technology solutions)