27 Jul 2022

Metaquette #VirtualBrand Q12


                                                                         Beer Break

Weekly Tips & Tricks on negotiating The Metaverse with Pooky Amsterdam

"Through the past, smartly" could be the title of this weeks blog as News from Decentraland was caught up in my brain blender with a very fun video that we did a while back, and fits perfectly with the Question of the Week. 

Q: Is it possible to build good brand relations in The Metaverse?

This weeks jaw-dropping events calendar from Decentraland is amazing! Cuervo with a MetaDistellery and Christian LaCroix 35th Anniversary is full on happening but what caught my eye was the new Netflix original, The Grey Man. Netflix is behind an 8 Day quest, where players are helped by knowledge of this movie. The prizes are digital facial, and other hair plus a level of wearables unknown from any movie before. Yes, it is more than possible to build good brand relations in The Metaverse, it can be imperative. Part of the fun and excitement of being in The Metaverse is the fun you can have. Why not with a brand?

The way of The Metaverse is to engage the end user, it is the same goal of engaging a customer with a brand. About 15 years ago JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey was quoted as saying, "Time is the new currency. The better the idea, the more time people spend with it." How much time people spend in one Metaverse is the key to its value. Engagement metrics should become time-based measures rather than impression based, for what percentage of a person's time is spent in a world, and why is vitally important.  I find the Netflix investment in Decentraland fascinating as those who will go to find where the fountain is in the maze thus retrieving the virtual USB stick will be spending time with The Grey Man. I do believe those who do will watch it on Netflix. I'll be curious to see how it all goes down beginning this Friday.

So Beer Break is here to illustrate how in a virtual world, community could be built around a brand, and building out that shared experience. In this video it's about surfers; it was to be a world wide virtual surfing competition for The Beer with the winner getting a trip to the Baja peninsula and of course a year's supply of the beverage. Here there would be targeted reasons to go into a world, using both video, a quest, activity, sponsored competition that allows the community to build up around it. People would have had their avatars in a program, virtual reality TV if you will, that comes with a TOS understanding that by attending your avatar could be part of the series/show/event/program. Advertisers will gain by allowing their customers real opportunities to interact with their brand, not just throwing a lot of stuff up to see what will stick.

With live events taking place on a regular basis, and at specific times, people know to tune in or to go to these events in what becomes "Appointment Internet". This will build consumer loyalty to the event which will translate into customer loyalty in the product. The Metaverse is rapidly becoming a professional marketing environment, like living within the world of these virtual goods and services. There should be ongoing compelling reasons to return, that attract more and more potential customers with engagement, and rewards for that engagement. Though not every company may want to hand out fake moustaches, or the ubiquitous NFT.

How about this example? Let's say you were a Heineken drinker all your life, but there was a great game in Somnium Space called Bowling for Budweisers which was fun to play virtually, in a retro bowling alley where you could win a cool customized digital bowling shirt. Upon going, you meet people there, you bring people there and you begin to play and have fun, appearing on the leaderboard for everyone to see, taking pictures of that and your virtual buddies for your social media pages too. You are having fun with the product!! I don't care if you have been a Heineken drinker all your life, at some point you will eventually pick up a Budweiser because it has become part of your life through your chosen playtime, and you associate it with having fun.

And let's say there was a web series also filmed around this in the Metaverse and the "regulars' at the bowling alley are played by known actors. Even though they are relatively safe at home, they are mingling with people from all over the world, and you or I could have a conversation with them, maybe they would even pick us for their bowling team. A scripted series filmed for a fraction of real world costs around an activity creating a live audience spending time, actively participating in the promotion of the brand is what The Metaverse is made for. No one has to travel to Universal Studios to see the show, they just have to log in and be part of the brand game. It is insanely cost effective and also encourages people to create their own user generated content around the brand if they can utilize the sets and activities for their own social media promotion.

Here is a way to engage ones customers of a brand literally and figuratively where they live and play. So indeed The Metaverse can offer an outstanding platform upon which to build brand alliance, community and engagement. And this can be piggybacked upon existing advertising, all a company has to do is include the URL of where this game or event is going to take place. In The Metaverse this means cost effective, valuable, virtual community which meets the very important requirement of time spent with the brand.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line.

21 Jul 2022

Metaquette #VirtualGoods #DigitalAssets Q11

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of The Metaverse.....Pooky Amsterdam

Yes! The greatness that is shopping! It can be so enjoyable. Remember when "Let's go to the mall" was a weekend thing? Being able to buy stuff is more than consumerism; it's a destination,  an economic driver, can be a social activity, an opportunity for alone time and plus it makes us feel special! We shop everywhere, anytime and increasingly online so it makes sense that we would want to shop in The Metaverse.

Q: Will shopping in the Metaverse be as much fun as it is in the physical world?

Shopping in the Metaverse can be an incredible amount of fun. It is location-time-opportunity sensitive and as you create a life for your avatar, you will want to buy it stuff, just like in the physical world. And everything plus might be available. It is certainly a big pull for companies who want to use the Metaverse to reinforce brand awareness and even make sales. 

Shopping can be along a main strip where you can visit store after store, turning your thumbs up or down on the large variety of items, these nexus can offer a hub for socializing so you spend time with their product as well as wear it. There are some worlds which offer a Demo version so you can try that hairdo on before you buy it, or that tuxedo or you can teleport to the sales destination and try out  a version of what you want to buy. See demo versions of places and builds that could be part of your home. Sometimes there can be an incredible catalogue from which to decide on your purchases. Plus in the Metaverse with digital goods there are so many opportunities for WOMMA  and avatars often ask each other "Where did you get THAT?" Quality products become known and traffic to those places which deliver quality good is high.

As certain assets for an upscaled virtual existence often cost much less than their real life counterparts, another bonus can be where one's "local" wealth is leveraged. We can buy more for less, in many categories. Although for example, The Sandbox might have some assets that are 5 and even 6 figures, it is possible to get some cool stuff for $70 an item, that would kit out your little piece of land soooo well, you think, "Heck'n why not? I want to meet the folks next door." And you have a flying drone bar with endless drinks, for under a hundro.

Digital consumption also offers aspirational purchases which allow us to "own" virtual items we would not otherwise be able to, or even imagine. Top brands have leapt into places with Nikeland in Roblox, Dolce & Gabbana in Decentraland, Gucci in TheSandbox, Balenciaga in Fortnite, Ralph Lauren in Zepetto. If these are clothing styles you think are cool, you can suit up, there for a relatively small fee, and sometimes pick up promotional goods. If you don't have room in your closet, they take up even less space in your Metaverse Inventory and no dry cleaning!

Art is something you can buy in The Metaverse, and often you can hang it in your virtual home. As well as stunning NFT creations, in places where you can import textures,  you might even be able to find a duplicate of Beeple and import it for your walls. In my own home away from home, I have an incredible collection of art, which would cost $700 million in auction at Sotheby's. In my Metaverse inventory, I also own 100+ pairs of shoes, many are 5 inch heels which I can no longer wear all day in the physical world, but my avatar can and does. The Metaverse offers that better way of life, and a way to make your desires a reality. Shopping for things you might not be able to own in your reality, like that just right virtual Airplane, is thrilling. 

Buying stuff is like going on an adventure, you don't quite know what you are going to find, but you know when you have found something you want. In the Metaverse, the search, or the surf within your own world can lead to all kinds of discoveries, and of things you didn't even know you needed. Whether it is the excitement of seeing all the listed items, or wandering down a street you can't recall discovering, it can have value. With a plethora of companies joining in, I do envision an ad for let's say Wayfair, who joined the Metaverse Standards Forum to be shot entirely within a Metaverse,  a spokesavatar touting the beauty and functionality of its design. Shopping in and advertising with the Metaverse go hand in hand, or hand in mouse. Whether they are things created by other people like you, or the Gods of the game or International companies it doesn't matter. If you enjoy it, that's what counts, and yes shopping can be incredibly fun in The Metaverse!

13 Jul 2022

Metaquette #VirtualLove Q10

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating the Metaverse

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of the Metaverse....Pooky Amsterdam

Life can be a singular enterprise, and while we want to be able to be alone with ourselves, or at least find our own company suitable, we seek social groups, other people and like to engage with those whom we feel good about. Some of us are shy, some of us are outgoing but it isn't always easy no matter where you are to find that special someone to share the big and small things of life. A lot of dating happens online where people answer questionnaires to get matched, or look at pictures usually taken from an old relationship, compare hobbies, email, text, F2F and maybe a real life relationship, Y/N?

Q: Is it possible to find true love in the Metaverse?

Finding love online has its challenges, which anyone who has been to an online dating site like Match.com or eHarmony knows. There should be an agony column just for Tinder, Grindr, Plenty of Fish, match.com and others. Least of all the problems I would suspect are with people not looking like their pictures. We are visual people, how one looks to you matters. Walk into a bar and see someone really attractive and spend time talking to them hoping the person will be just as attractive on the inside. What if there's only their inside because you have no idea what they really look like? And everyone is attractive or has a somewhat similar look?

When you meet someone in a virtual world or Metaverse, you don't know who they are. Yes, Voice Over Internet Protocol is widely available, but you still don't know what the other person looks like behind their avatar, whether it be male, female, humanoid or furry. And while we project onto "another" in many ways developing a relationship with someone where you are mainly hearing and paying attention to what they have to say, brings you both much closer. The same goes for you, if you are somewhat shy, there is very little social risk in a virtual world, here is a tip: People are just too concerned with what they are doing to be paying attention to your flubs and fluffs. Relax.

And what if you do find yourself in communication with someone in your vicinity that seems okay? There are no distractions like at the bar, no waiters and waitresses, no Ex about to walk in. You are both in the moment each of you in your comfort zone at home, logged into a really neat place, colorful, funny remarks flow, "Hey did you see that guy stuck upside down?" "Yes, it was me!" There are a million things to comment on and you take chances because you can. If you dont want to engage any further, all you have to do is turn around say, "BuhBye," teleport or log out/in a different region. And if you do hit it off with someone, you can talk as long as you like, travel the grid together and even meet up laters. 

It's very low-pressure and the way to gain trust is to keep it like that, developing a friendship with your maybe new bestie, you log on when you want to see them. If they are not there, maybe they missed your call, but you can always send a message because you searched for their name! Friendships are encouraged, finding the fun folks you met and want to find later is the secret sauce of these environments. A nice polite message, will get a reply. It's easier to be polite in a virtual world because there is no physical contact or judgments beyond your avatars outfit. I'd like to say there are fewer triggers for defensiveness or anger, but you can't see what anyone is doing behind the screen, yourself included. You aren't worried about how you look, smell or come across where you physically sit, everything is cool. Sometimes you talk like old friends, or you feel strange tinglings of your heart thumping and you know this is someone special.

You find what you both like, in your conversation  you can't help but talk about the world you live in with your real feet on the ground. It's very freeing talking to strangers, who become friends, who then open up a world of possibilities because they've spoken.  You think what are the chances in this entire Universe that we would be brought together? And there is Fate or Kismet or Luck, the people you meet have a destined feel sometimes. 

It moves forward if you both want the same things and a Metaverse romance means you see can see them every night, the only cost is long distance love. Sometimes time zones have to be managed, times you will both be "on" arranged, yet it often progresses to real life video calls if it's meaningful. You can find someone who understands you and knows what you are like through the time you spend together with a real closeness. Bernhard Drax did a series about it that is fascinating, here's a great example of Love Made In Second Life from a few years ago. 

Serious long term relationships also come into focus with VR as it means greater immersion and sense of being there with your partner. To see what that looks like tune in soon to a film on HBO,  We Met In Virtual Reality. You can find your sweetheart in a Virtual World as chances are you share a lot of in terms of culture and technology, but also a language that lets you cross virtual boundaries.

What about marriage? People have been getting married in Virtual Worlds for decades though for entertainment purposes only, here's a wedding package video from IMVU.  And Animal Crossing has an actual wedding season! Virtual worlds which have been around for a while have seen many marriages already, the new ones will have them too. They might include a different kind of meeting the prospective families in the MetaVenue of your choice. Can't hot air balloon together "irl?" You can do that as an avatar and even push your brother - law out of the balloon with little consequences. There are all sorts of stories about weddings, like  a couple married in a virtual environment created for their wedding in the NYT last year.

Can VR help married couples? Here I want to relate a story of a wife and husband team who were running a nightclub in Second Life. They had just had a little boy and the business was doing well, until the husband had an affair with an avatar who was working as a model. The wife had him sleeping on the couch the next day, and the marriage was over she said. Weeks passed, he remained sorry, deleted the interloper from his friends & Skype list and eventually his wife took him back. That episode gave him a lifetime perspective. He had the scare of his life to lose his family, an opportunity to work out his rebellion on a much smaller scale, he didn't get a disease, or get anyone pregnant, there was no lingering relationship and they are still married today!

An older married couple who live in a part of Ohio that is landlocked, were getting a little bored with one another, started fighting but discovered a virtual world. They decided to build an outpost in SL but pursued different things - He became a virtual sailor and she began running steampunk airship competitions while a new phase of their union blossomed.

Not only can you find love in the metaverse, it can save your marriage too.

For those who are curious, yes to virtual pregnancies and children, which will be explored at another time.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject Metaquette, and it will be answered.