Will Metaverse Change the Fundamentals of Communication?, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity
By Piyal Banerjee
The 21st century has seen changes like no other century. Ten years ago, we started our day with a newspaper to find out what was happening in our country and in the world. Especially for communicators, it was a ritual to get their daily dose of information on industries, companies, etc. It was almost as if you hadn’t read page by page, you had missed something.
Over the years, the digital space has started to grow at a breakneck pace. Everything has gone from analog to digital. Whether making payments, booking taxis, depositing ITRs, communicating, traveling or obtaining data and information, everything involves the internet. The way people consumed media completely changed. Just when the printing industry started to grow in India, the future had planned something else for the media and entertainment industry as well as all other industries.
We had to accept these changes as they presented themselves. It all started with the digitization of the nation, and only accelerated with COVID. Communication saw a lot of strategies and tactics in the digital space as several technologies were involved in the whole process.
Today, real and virtual aspects coexist around us, and many things that were once considered speculative have happened. One of these developing technologies has changed the way we perceive the world. It’s more than just a technological advancement; it ushers in a whole new world where the real and the virtual will blend seamlessly. The Metavers. A virtual cosmos that continues to expand as researchers and computer enthusiasts discover new areas.
No matter what changes are happening in the digital space, communication will always be crucial for any business/organization. In the midst of all these changes, communication is an essential aspect of everyday life, because what good is it if people don’t understand what a company/organization wants to convey? When the pandemic hit, communication was the first problem to be solved. By interacting through online video platforms, students were able to attend online classes.
People also attended office meetings, events, and webinars. Therefore, it’s fair to expect the Metaverse to be a communication revolution, changing the media landscape in the process, because the Metaverse itself is rooted in communication. It’s essentially a new touchpoint for communications specialists to connect with. It emphasizes greater immersion that will continue to evolve through ever-changing technologies.
The most significant change, however, is that communications will likely become increasingly data-driven and highly personalized due to new use cases.
Brands will be able to innovate and celebrate unique forms of engagement, such as playful rewards and immersive experiences. Gamification will be the next big thing for marketers and communicators; the metaverse is basically designed for that, and almost everything we do can be made more engaging through gamification.
A good example is real-life product sampling. Other than that, the metaverse is full of activities including concerts, parties, and business meetings. We can interact in a completely new way by organizing virtual events around communication or public relations objectives.
This will require communicators to be proficient in the areas of digital transformation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the metaverse, as well as able to offer guidance, strategies and techniques in these areas, in addition to to be informed. It’s more than just a portal where marketers can connect with consumers. The ability for businesses to have virtual headquarters and touchpoints is a whole new world.
However, it’s not all roses, sunshine and positive results. There are also inherent risks in the metaverse.
Any privacy concerns can be applied to the metaverse, as data ultimately fuels and enhances the experience. Will the metaverse work the way free sites like Facebook depended on the flow of personal data to sell to advertisers? It is still uncertain. However, as things stand, advancing further into the digital sphere with additional data streams from handheld devices, microphones and other sources could result in significantly higher privacy concerns. What is often advertised as big business data recovery can easily escalate into a company with even less privacy.
Cyberattacks are an important issue because they pose far greater risks than privacy. What would happen if you purchased virtual land in one of the metaverses and that platform was attacked? The metaverse’s legal structure for dealing with cybersecurity vulnerabilities is ambiguous or non-existent. Scams are another thing, because it’s not easy to tell what’s fake and what’s legit.
The Internet era is entering a new phase. The metaverse will look like the one we would have in the future. How this evolves is hard to say. It is obvious that people like this new environment and, from the point of view of communicators, it opens up new opportunities. The fact that things have completely changed in the digital age proves that change is the only constant and should be accepted as it comes.
At the same time, stories will continue to connect us and give meaning to our engagement with the real and physical worlds. The habit of reading the morning paper may spread throughout the day thanks to digital news, but the fundamentals of good storytelling will never change. Whether or not you believe in the Metaverse, it’s a good idea to start learning about it so that you can at least understand it better.
The author is External Communications Manager at IPM India. The opinions expressed are personal.