fbpixel SXSW 2023: How to find your metaversonality. - MG Empower
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Written by - Kendra Daly

SXSW 2023: How to find your metaversonality.


There’s only one place to be if you want to learn about cutting edge marketing, the creator economy, in-house innovation, content creation and so much more. And that’s Austin Texas for SXSW. 

I was lucky enough to join the global team tasked with getting the inside scoop of the future of our industry and embrace all the learnings that the festival has to offer. And this year there’s no denying, it was all about Web 3.0 technology and data. So after a buzzing few days in the southern state we packed up our cowboy boots, said goodbye to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and raced back to London and New York to bring our top insights home. 

The Metaverse, augmented and virtual reality, all the way to artificial intelligence – it was evident at SXSW that the hype around Web 3.0 is only getting louder. But what is it? What does it mean for brands moving into this new space? And how are we already integrating these technologies into our everyday lives? 

Lucky for you, we have some of the answers. 

Why is everyone talking about community? 

AI, metaverse, VR, AR – they’re all far too broad, far too pluralistic for any one person, company or customer to ever credibly own. We have to make sure, within these larger frames, that we can find ownable niches to speak about. 

This means when entering the Web 3.0 space, brands should carefully consider that their use of the digital realm is not the same as the physical one. They need to have a truly holistic understanding of their value proposition and why they’re entering these spaces – which should probably be something along the lines of ‘to show up authentically for our brand and communities’. 

“We’re so focused on community now because Web 3.0 will allow much more opportunities for communities to engage in deeper and meaningful ways. That’s why communities are to be stronger in this new era than in social media.” JC Oliver, Move78

Finding your metaversonality

When we speak about web 3 and metaverse we automatically jump to Gen Z. It makes sense. They’re the first generation to embrace these technologies, explore, create and innovate. These new immersive experiences are even leading to new identities. Their virtual identities are now as crucial as their IRL identity – it’s part of their biology in more ways than one. 

This shift means we’re probably going to be talking a lot about multiple metaversonalities, and how these will impact the way brands actually target their audiences. One individual customer will be showing up in multiple communities. 

Brands also have to navigate this new ‘no BS’ culture where Gen Z and beyond won’t forgive you if your brand is doing something that doesn’t align with their values or is considered morally wrong. You have one chance to earn their trust, and if you fail to do so, another brand will.

But is anyone talking about other generations? 

And how we can still engage these audiences. Technology is not going to replace the human element so IRL experiences powered by AR will be a powerful gateway to onboard less tech savvy consumers into web 3. Brands need to think of ways to create strategies that combine these applications with the creative element of humans, showing these generations that this new wave of tech isn’t something to be feared, but something that can only enhance their experiences. 

A perfect example of this is the beauty industry where artificial intelligence is rapidly revolutionising their everyday. Esteé Lauder spoke about how they’re using these technologies to further enhance their skin analysis, virtual try-ons and even perfume emotion sensing – all further driving engagement and ultimately sales across their products. Some of their audience might not even realise something like their foundation matching quiz online is actually powered by AI – so they’re already using Web 3 tech…

But there’s still a bit of a mountain to climb when it comes to AI. The data that powers these technologies doesn’t represent the perspective of certain demographics meaning results produced are still biassed. Those behind the data have a huge job to do when collecting it to ensure that it represents and is inclusive of all. 

Data, data, data: How we’ll get around signal loss 

With cookies now expected to expire in 2024 and with 80% of advertisers still dependent on them, today’s marketer faces an identity crisis and is desperately trying to figure out what to do next. Brands are going to have to take much more ownership of their first party data as we enter into a new cookie-less era. What is it that your brand wants to capture? That is going to be the first step towards building truly relevant experiences for your customer.

Brands need to become accountable to build this first party data: those are the foundations. Strategise: figure out what data you want, so we can define how to get this data. And who is going to manage it and analyse it to discover the use cases for marketing activations.

Now we know when it comes to data there are way more questions right now than answers – which sounds pretty overwhelming but that also means there’s a huge opportunity here to carve your strategies to be truly bespoke. What’s most exciting is that the speed of the impact and the data collected from a web 3 experience is massive and immediate, the level of data you can collate is impressive. Experimenting in a new space has never had such tangible rewards before with test budgets collating mass data. 

Kendra Daly is a Brand Partnerships Manager at MG Empower. And luckily for us, she spends most of her time on the ground in our London headquarters as opposed to Texas. If you’d like to chat opportunities and find out more about how we can empower your brand in Web 3.0 and beyond, get in touch.

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