As the metaverse splits critics arguing over whether this is the future or just another passing fad, I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen it all before.
In the late ’90s, I worked for a public relations firm, representing online-only brands like TheStreet.com and CDnow as well as older brands looking to make it big on the internet like BMG and MTV. She continued as Vice President of Online Communications at MTV Networks, overseeing PR for online destinations such as MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon. These years have combined excitement and opportunity with confusion and madness.
Fast forward 20 years later, and I see some clear lessons learned that CEOs can apply to the new frontier: the metaverse.
1. Meters don’t go far
At that time, there were organizations that ignored the Internet, especially in the early years. But everyone joined in the end. The few CEOs who failed to see the coming wave of change and embrace the internet set their brands (and careers) years back, if not indefinitely.
While the digital existence is a no-brainer today, the same seems to be true of tomorrow’s metaverse. Unconvinced? Facebook – now Meta – has staked its hundreds of billions of dollars brand on it. Don’t write this off as a trend.
2. START LEARNING ABOUT METAVERSE TODAY
If the metaverse is here to stay, the next order of business is to get up to speed. While many of the brands my company works with are already involved in creating NFTs, leveraging cryptocurrency, and developing innovative virtual experiences, many companies — and entire industries for that matter — are not familiar with metaverses.
Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 brand or a startup, you need to understand what the metaverse is – what it is, how it works, and how people interact with it. Treat this time as a learning experience. We follow TIME’s in metaverse Newsletter and Fast Company coverage including surveys of business leaders and experts on what’s next. Publications such as CoinDesk and CoinTelegraph were among the first to provide in-depth reports on cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
3. It’s okay to start small
Even if you’re ready to launch your brand into the metaverse tomorrow, the truth is that a huge part of the landscape is still taking shape. Similar to the early days of the internet, there are different players and platforms. For example, there is not one metaverse, but there are many different platforms, including Decentraland, Sandbox, Roblox, and Stageverse. Just as you didn’t have to move your entire business online in the first day of the internet in the ’90s, you don’t have to do everything in the metaverse today.
It’s okay to take your time. Find out what’s available. Start laying the foundation for your long-term goals. Fashion retailers, for example, such as Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Nike, and Adidas have started selling NFTs or placing brand orders for virtual products. It’s time to start the conversation. Consider what makes sense for your brand, what your industry does, and what your audience expects.
4. Do not treat meters as one
Avoid fragmented strategy. Having led the PR effort for the “Internet Department” myself, I can say that this is the wrong approach. Just like the internet, metaverse, AR, VR, and NFTs will eventually permeate every aspect of business, consumers and social life.
Instead of hiring a metaverse expert within my team, I encourage every writer and account manager in my PR firm to learn about the area they’re facing — coming up with creative campaigns, incorporating it into thought leadership, and incorporating it into the pitches in time.
5. Dive into metaverses and get famous (yes you are!)
I remember one meeting during my time at a PR firm with an online retail brand that we represented; They asked if we’d seen their holiday promotion. Many of us didn’t know how to answer because we had never visited their website – and some had never any website. It was who – which Early in the days of the Internet!
You cannot talk about, write about, promote, or benefit from the metaverse if you have never experienced it personally. Order a VR headset, start creating a crypto wallet, create your avatar, and start exploring.
Depending on who you are, the metaverse may seem like a daunting concept, a frivolous fad, or an exciting new frontier. But take it from someone who learned from the early days of the internet – the metaverse is likely to become a bigger and bigger part of our work and personal lives. Start learning about the metaverse today and you’ll likely be ahead of the curve rather than catching up with competitors.
Mark Basetsky is the founder and CEO of public relations agency Mark Allen & Co. , where he acts as a trusted advisor to senior C Suite CEOs.