PR in the Metaverse – Some Thoughts

PR in the Metaverse – Some Thoughts

Some Say, “Not So Fast,” but They’re The Ones You Don’t Want at Your Party

Toby Streett, Principal PR & Media Consultant with Oyster Communications

Most of us are familiar with the concept of the Metaverse by now, but how will we as PR professionals and marketers create life and lend credibility to our businesses and brands and let them shine in this evolving world? How do we synchronize our companies and clients’ agendas in this fledgling online digital space?

Grade yourself an “F” if you’re tempted to simply apply your traditional PR and marketing tactics to the Metaverse and think that’s all it’ll take to get some traction. There’s a hierarchy to adopt in understanding how to move forward from the ground up and it starts with understanding the landscape. Gamers are already ahead of us when it comes to the virtual world. And marketers and PR pros need a metaverse 101 lesson to catch up and then they can have some foundation to build on as they contemplate this new world. Once you digest it’s potential, it’ll be time to have fun and take your clients, services and products to new levels. And marketers have a precious opportunity to not just have a seat at, but to set the table and establish some best practices for playing nice in the metaverse. It’s a short window of time, yet it’s serving us heaps of latitude to carve out new ways of communicating and testing campaigns on behalf of our clients and companies. It’s still the Wild West. And there ain’t no physical boundary.

In this VR and Augmented Reality world, anyone will be able to travel, shop, live in – and experience the Metaverse however they want to. It’s 3.0 baby and you either learn how to market, create meaningful stories, and generate buzz in this new world or wash, rinse and repeat with “We’ve always done it this way.” A lot of traditional marketing and PR practices will obviously still hold a candle in these winds of change, but in this iteration of interactive technology, the players aren’t just the hip adopters who stole the limelight in the past.

Run with GenZ – And Meet Your Neighbors, The Boomers

The sweet spot’s bigger this time around, and while the bullseye is GenZ, the field of players will be loaded with GenX, Boomers, Millenials and then soon enough, Gen Alpha. But pay close attention to GenZ – they’re the demo to watch. And with a $150+ billion audience today, their spending trend is only going to blow up as they hit their stride in the working-and-earning world. Influencers know this and the smart ones will be all over the m-verse, finding new ways to engage, message and pile up the cash as they too, gently grow older with GenZ.

The real power of influencers will most likely be with brands who can show their customers how easy it will be to express themselves in a VR world that lets them try on a new image or persona in a nanosecond. They’ll be able to dress how they want (in their favorite brands), travel where they want with no real financial boundaries – and buy, decorate, build, and showcase to their friends their new m-verse personas. What follows next is the matching real-life shirts, shoes, home goods, cars, and everything else in the physical world which will be just a short buy now away.

Here’s another Deep Dive into how the metaverse can be explained in an approachable way.  Oyster recommends this read!

Food for Thought:

Widening Your Radar & A Peek at the Landscape

Social – Many platforms will get much more heavily involved by integrating purchasing opportunities in the middle of messaging. Throw in some forward-thinking influencers who will test just about anything to see what will resonate with their target audience and m-verse social could get messy. The lines of distinction between an obvious paid-by message could easily get blurred with a cleverly cloaked influencer-designed campaign that could bring marketers and pr pros all the way back to McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message. Will audiences be reading or watching something (and ultimately forming an opinion or making a purchase) in the new digital space because of its inherent delivery platform or because what they’re experiencing is actually meaningful apart from the “cool way in which they’re exposed to it?

This seems like a good pause for “you take the blue pill, the story ends…”. Thank you, Morpheus.

Video – will have ample new opportunities to be used within the metaverse and will be used by brands to engage with m-verse inhabitants with short-form vids for everything from making virtual P.O.P. discounts “in your face” to creating tidal waves that hammer one message over and over until reluctant buyers give in. The clever marketers will know when enough is enough before alienating your audience.

And for those who don’t care, think of it as the pop-up that never sleeps but still annoys.

Boomers & Retirees – The new digital space will give them full mobility even if they’re faced with challenges in the physical world. Limited mobility will not be an excuse anymore for why someone can’t leave the house and go somewhere new – along with their friends. Traveling has the potential to allow people to go anywhere they want at a fraction of the real-world cost, without canceled flights and overbooked hotel rooms. They’ll be able to make new friends from anywhere in the world and join in group travel with those who share mutual interests. And there won’t be a loss of camaraderie because they’ll all be hopping back on the bus for their next leg. And these generations

PR as Earned Media – Whoa! PR leaders need to add a new approach to pitching and connecting with media and influencers. Simply put:

– Get your avatar ready.

– Think about how you will be able to pitch in the ‘verse. Your avatar to your contact’s avatar? Instead of limiting your media contacts or influencer pals to a written pitch, give them a video, hologram demo of your product or an in-person (so to speak) real-time Q&A session with their peers. Your press conferencewill take on a refreshing new dimension.

– Don’t lose what’s working for you but put some serious time into figuring out how your strategies and tactics will resonate in the metaverse and web3. We all need to do this.

The Home Experience – Home cuisine and culinary clients can help us learn how to prepare elaborate (or simple) meals, and then we can dine on a dime with far-away friends and family as we host them in our virtual kitchens and dining rooms, which coincidentally are beginning to look a lot like our physical ones because we bought the same cabinets, counters, and plateware that’s in our virtual space. Our homewares clients will need to have a presence! So will the art dealer who inspired you to hang the French Cubist painting on your VR living room wall. The one that inspired you to buy the real McCoy for your physical home.

Home services clients who specialize in house cleaning, security or lawn care will be able to do virtual walkthroughs, and creative PR placements and marketing strategies could help consumers compare options in their personal digital spaces.

Medicine – And you thought virtual health plans were valuable. Wait until you can talk about your ailments with thousands of others who’re just like you. Maybe there will be a new VR game show with contestants who vie for the prize by being able to rattle off the most aches and pains they have under a tight clock.

Or just maybe, we’ll see improvements to how doctors and patients can find that elusive quality time to listen, speak and get more informed professional opinions on the best way for a particular treatment. Maybe we’ll see increased in-person visits that will allow doctors to catch something in its early stages because their patient went through a virtual, simulated treatment in the Metaverse that’s put them at ease and lowered their level of angst that previously served as a barrier to make an in-person doctor visit.


It’s going to take some time to get there but with companies like Apple, Facebook, Ikea, Coca Cola, Gucci, Alphabet and Roblox going all in at the table, the time is now – in 2023 – to start noodling on how you can insert your clients into the digital culture. And once you know enough about the Metaverse, you’ll be able to do a little demo of its insane usefulness by hosting a meeting using the Microsoft Mesh conferencing platform for teams. And then it will be time to test the hell out of our new world.

We’ll get there. Wherever that may be.

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