Metaverse: A costly fad or a viable platform for business?

Use EXPERIENCE, COMMUNITY, and LOYALTY to be successful
Metaverse: A costly fad or a viable platform for business?

According to Statista, the global metaverse market in 2022 stood at $65.5 billion, a number that will rise by $17 bn in 2023, before surging to 936.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2030.

These numbers reflect the existence of several opportunities that the metaverse could usher in for businesses. But what about the challenges?

In the following interview, Dado Van Peteghem, co-founder of Imagin3 Studio, discusses steps needed to make metaverses a viable part of businesses.

“Merely building a presence in the metaverse does not guarantee success. We’ve seen many examples of that. Many metaverse activations remain empty or perish quickly because they simply lack fundamental values,” Dado began.

“In today’s world, people have endless entertainment options at their fingertips, making it crucial for businesses to stand out from the crowd. To win the battle for customers’ share of attention, brands must offer a unique viable advantage that sets them apart from the competition.”

Dado Van Peteghem

The Magic Triangle


To cater to the needs of the metaverse generation, businesses must focus on offering experiences that money can’t buy, building thriving communities of fans that care, and cultivating loyalty beyond merely earning points. Dado said that a nice virtual building where you can walk around with some other strangers is not going to cut it.

“We believe organizations need to play upon the ‘magic triangle’ of EXPERIENCE, COMMUNITY, and LOYALTY to be successful in the metaverse,” Dado said.

The challenge is to tackle those three elements. How do you build an experience that has the wow factor? How do you engage a community of fans around an inspiring mission and shared interest? And how do you make people come back for more? Always start with the customer first and platform second.

“If you see the Metaverse as an advertising platform or activation for an event, it won’t generate long-term value. Companies should analyze successful games to adopt storytelling techniques that fuel engagement across those 3 crucial ingredients. Without a community, they won’t come. Without an experience, they won’t stay. Without loyalty, they won’t come back,” Dado explained.

Read: The rise of generative AI: A threat to the metaverse?


Headache or opportunity?


Experimenting with the metaverse is always an opportunity as you can learn and discover new ways to engage with your customer and fan base. Starting small and scaling fast allows you to test the waters without risking too much investment.

“Once you see that your experiment is working, you can scale it up, and the opportunity becomes even more significant. Even if the experiment fails, you have still learned valuable lessons and showcased your ability to innovate. First mover’s advantage matters,” Dado indicated.

He said brands and organizations need to stay flexible in today’s environment. Things are moving fast and one needs to keep up with the pulse.

“Facebook might have been the main social media platform years ago, but today it’s all about Instagram, Tiktok, and Snapchat. You need to skate where the puck is going and above all, you need an ‘experimentation budget’ next to the big chunks allocated for your main channels,” Dado advised.

When considering investments in emerging technologies like the metaverse, it’s important to not only look at the potential ROI but also at the risk of not investing (RONI). While there may be risks associated with investing in new technologies and platforms, there are also risks associated with not investing and falling behind the competition.

“Ultimately, the metaverse presents a new frontier for businesses to explore, and those who are willing to experiment and adapt are likely to reap the rewards,” Dado indicated.

Taking the plunge into the Metaverse


Many organizations were skeptical of e-commerce or thought it was a fad after the dot-com bubble in 2000. Today, some companies (like Meta or Disney) might have over-invested or face other challenges to solve, hence they’re resizing or right-fitting their teams and investments.

“But that doesn’t mean that the Metaverse is over. On the contrary, many players keep building and releasing. Look at Gucci, Nike, Starbucks, and many others,” Dado pointed out.

Most tech evolutions, he added, follow the hype cycle, saying that first they get overhyped, then some start to lose faith, and later on they get to the so-called ‘plateau of productivity’.

“It will be interesting to see what happens when Apple introduces its mixed reality headset later this year.  We use our “3 Tells” framework when looking to stay ahead of trends and emerging technologies. The framework involves paying attention to three key indicators: what KIDS are doing, where DEVELOPERS are focusing, and where the MONEY is flowing,” Dado clarified.

Younger generations are often early adopters of new technologies and platforms, and it’s very clear they’re spending most of their time on platforms like Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, etc.

Developers are often at the forefront of technological innovation, and many young developers are taking a major interest in 3D design, blockchain development, and obviously AI. Lastly, by tracking where investment capital is flowing, companies can get a sense of which technologies and platforms are attracting attention and investment from major players in the market.

“It’s important to not just look at Meta, but at the global investment levels at big tech & VC players,” Dado advised.

Cost versus reach


Most metaverse environments can be accessed today through a URL, mobile app, or gaming console, but in 3D rather than 2D pages.

“The metaverse is not all about VR headsets. This means that businesses can reach a wide audience without requiring expensive hardware. Additionally, businesses can offer a range of experiences that cater to different budgets and preferences, from free experiences to more premium ones,” Dado explained.

Another approach is to partner with hardware manufacturers or offer rental options for VR headsets and other equipment. This can help lower the barrier to entry for consumers who want to experience the metaverse in a more immersive manner. Ultimately, it’s important for businesses to consider the needs and preferences of their target audiences and find ways to offer a range of experiences that are accessible and engaging to a wide range of consumers.

“Lacoste is a nice example. They launched a virtual store through a URL on their website. Instead of a boring website with a grid of products, you can ‘walk’ through the store like you would do in real life. You can browse through their products in a much more immersive way, moving from ‘convenience e-commerce towards ‘experience e-commerce’. And it’s accessible to all,” Dado ended.

For more on the metaverse, click here.