We’re all talking about the impact that Meta’s plans will have on our industry, and imagining what sort of future it will inspire.
While a new way of existing was made possible because of the pandemic, it has proved just how adaptable marketers and consumers can be. A hybrid world is here to stay, with virtual now offered as an add-on - something customers can opt into depending on their schedule, their other commitments and how much they want to socialise. We shouldn’t be afraid of a hybrid world. We’ve got a new realm to explore, a new format to understand, and a new way of engaging audiences.
As more brands adopt and experiment with digital activations and experiences, the opportunity to create something spectacular awaits us.
The pandemic caused a behavioural shift. Our attitudes changed and we embraced technology, accepting the newfound digital culture that we were presented with. As more brands adopt and experiment with digital activations and experiences, the opportunity to create something spectacular awaits us.
Above: What impact might Meta's plans have on us individually and the advertising industry as a whole?
The ease and convenience of living a hybrid life restores control to individuals who need greater flexibility from work. But marketers need to play their part if they’re to use the digital space in enticing ways and keep customers curious about the potential of virtual.
Just earlier this year global wine and spirits group, Pernod Ricard, demonstrated its ability to utilise the virtual space in an efficient and more inclusive way. Every year, the brand invites C-suite level employees to its island on the South of France, with content available to the rest of its 18,000 employees. But, this year, makemepulse built an entirely remote event for the whole team and we’re working to host a hybrid version for 2022, so that some can attend in-person and others can join in and participate online. Which will also help to further reduce travel costs and carbon footprints.
A hybrid approach allows people to curate their workloads and establish healthier work-life balances.
A hybrid approach allows people to curate their workloads and establish healthier work-life balances. Of course, not everyone prefers having this autonomy, but for those who found it difficult returning to employment after breaks in their careers, they can now adjust to workloads at their own speed. Companies are more forgiving of how employees juggle their time with responsibilities outside of work. Job postings are also increasingly seeking people based on skillset and not location, knowing that jobs can be completed without ever stepping foot in an office. This is the new normal.
Above: Tomorrowland staged a sophisticated digital music event.
The cultural sectors followed a similar trajectory, getting busy and adapting when we were deprived of live music and events. They learnt to evolve more sophisticated digital iterations of their offerings. Take Tomorrowland Around The World as one such example. Last summer, DogStudio launch its debut two-day digital music festival, housing more than 60 global EDM artists across eight different simulated stages.
Previously, events were limited by venue capacities and ticket sales, but Tomorrowland opened its doors for all to experience its magic. With an interactive map plotting out the digital site’s architecture, the festival was easily navigable mirroring the experience of wandering around real festival grounds. Tomorrowland has since evolved into NOAZ to hold smaller online events throughout the year that will be cheaper to run and require less logistical planning than if they were held in-person.
Consumers are willing to try new things out at the moment.
Digital activations don’t have to be permanent; we can run more experimental offerings to see what works and embrace a trial-and-error approach. Consumers are willing to try new things out at the moment. We worked on the partnership between British artist David Shrigley and Ruinart champagne to create a digital art exhibition showcasing 42 of his artworks. The online activation imitated a real art gallery, specially curated and with a set journey for users to navigate through. It offered a look into how creatives can present new worlds online; in this case democratising art by making it more accessible to new audiences internationally.
Above: An image from David Shrigley and Ruinart's digital art exhibition.
Virtual is a new playground for brands to play in, but it’s a complementary activation to be placed alongside other strategies. Brands can still adopt TV and print mediums; virtual is just another platform to consider.
Virtual has opened the door to the metaverse and prepared us for the next stage.
Many industries have room to expand following the public acceptance and adoption of the improvement and detailing in storytelling narratives. I’m interested to learn what challenges await creatives and marketers. We’re currently looking at how to make virtual spaces more sociable and immersive.
Virtual has opened the door to the metaverse and prepared us for the next stage. While Meta’s ideas may have shocked some, the idea of entering and recreating new digital realms is becoming increasingly intriguing to many. Now it’s up to us to create epic realms for them to enter.