Public Relations in the Metaverse

Two years and numerous waves into the pandemic, most of us can identify ourselves as digital creatures reflecting on the interaction and reliance on technology in our routine.  It can be encapsulated aptly in the words of Vladmir Lenin stating, “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” It is impressive how fast we transitioned our entire world online, overnight in some cases. The change was not as easy in some sectors as it was in many others but has certainly proved that we are quite agile and adaptive to our ever-changing environment. 

Leveraging the technological push and highly evolved consumption behaviour, envisioning the opportunities from the internet’s next big thing – Metaverse has created waves of excitement everywhere. Despite some reservations and doubts about its meaning and impact on different individuals and businesses, one can’t help but imagine their place in this exciting new virtual frontier.

Metaverse is rightfully being positioned as the biggest tech disruption since the invention of smartphones. While it is still in its infancy, there is a lot to explore as we transition into the metaverse world. While envisioning communications in this highly engaging and community focused world where one can build real connections in a virtual setting seems exhilarating, one must weigh the benefits and risks, especially for corporate communications. This reinstates the need for rethinking and tailoring our communication channels. 

Communication is all about creating experiences that are real & create impact. This is exactly where Metaverse plays a role. When experiences are unexpected, yet positive, they increase the consumer’s affinity for the brand. 

Metaverse can host millions of people together for 3D experience to work, play, socialise and create, making communications and marketing central to any business strategy. Imagining product or service launches across the world at once, or a press event without the hassle of travel or even a 3D board meeting that can compress our timelines and expand our clientele, paves way for a 360-degree approach to communication for brand placement in the blended real and virtual world.  Just like every other version of the internet, Metaverse will scale ideas and expand possibilities. 

Recently, a leading pharma company partnered with Infosys XR Platform to create a digital twin of their vaccine lab allowing engineers to access vaccine culture data to accelerate the decision making and shrink the margin of error. Being a healthcare communications specialist, I am truly fascinated and could not ignore imagining how metaverse can transform healthcare and healthcare communications in par. The pandemic paved the way for digitisation in healthcare and metaverse can only aid it further by enhancing patient experience and improving access by making it geography agnostic. 

While Metaverse is exciting, we as communicators need to leverage it in a planned manner:

  • Train the employees about the mechanisms of Metaverse and empower them to identify the differences and similarities of the decentralised and community owned platform. 
  • Understand the perception of their audience and build a strong network base to be able to sustain and control narratives. 
  • Transition and implement a plan for existing clients and positioning them in the Meta world. 
  • Formulate advanced PR strategies for unexplored audiences beyond the real-world limitations.
  • Understand the risks involved in creating digital assets by tracking the time and cost mechanisms involved. 
  • Make monetisation and payment systems comprehensive with block chains and digital currency provisions.

I am personally looking forward to creating thoughtful and integrated opportunities with socially responsible developers and causes which can make our business models more inclusive and truly economise on the democratic nature of the platform.  Communications in metaverse is the next big thing in the digital world. Even though metaverse is in its nascent stages, it is safe to say it has marked the beginning of a new era with many comparing it to a second life.  The multi-tiered digital infrastructure will enable all to create rapid business innovation through process, technology and people.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

This article was first published in the PRAXIS 2022 special edition print magazine of Reputation Today.

Ritika Jauhari
Ritika Jauhari, President - New Business Development & Strategy, SPAG

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