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The Impact of Metaverse on the World of Public Relations

If you can, as a public relations professional, beat the competition to the metaverse, you can give your clients a head-start of miles when it comes to activation and innovation. Public relations practitioners need to actively promote understanding of these platforms set up their clients’ brands as credible allies from the get-go, with internal and external audiences alike.

Public Relations as it is Understood Currently

Most people’s mental image of the public relations sector comprise articles in publications, collaterals such as brochures and fliers printed on expensive art paper, and publicists in razor-sharply tailored business suits with notepads, pencils, and an iPad at the ready.

In spite of such stereotyping—which is not incorrect to a certain extent—public relations, at the end of the day is all about first establishing and then improving communications between brands and their target audiences.

Businesses, business owners, and public figures all have an audience that is (at least tacitly) interested in them and eager to put their trust in them. Simply put, public relations is the field concerned with shaping the story spoken about these individuals and organisations in order to affect their standing in the eyes of the general public.

Public relations is only one field that stands precariously close to a highly significant paradigm shift affected by the metaverse’s emerging technological capabilities.

What is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is an online, digital ecosystem that has grown in popularity thanks to virtual reality (VR) platforms such as HyperVerse, Decentraland, and The Sandbox. All that users need is a headset to be transported to the metaverse and they can create their avatars, interact with other people in the metaverse, play games, and put in place any fantastic but realistic setting that comes to their minds.

The metaverse during its incubation period was a platform for future-themed video games, then why am I saying that it has any relevance at all to public relations? That is because as the metaverse has evolved it has gone much beyond being an ecosystem for playing games, it has become a method of conveying information.

A Look Back and a Look Forward

COVID-19 brought to the fore a characteristic that is both innate and unique to humans: the ability to operate both operate remotely and visit any part of the globe.

Due to the existing shortage of physical workplaces, the metaverse provides new possibilities for connections. Horizon Worlds, Facebook’s freshly launched metaverse, is actively being developed and maintained by over 10,000 people in Europe.

The goal of the metaverse PR is therefore to let us reconnect as a global community, regardless of our physical location.

Public Relations in the Digital Age

Public relations as specialised domain that requires specialised expertise can only benefit in the long run from this innovative approach to getting together, talking to one another, networking, and disseminating information. Virtual networking and speaking events, podcasts and interviews in front of “live” audiences, and digital book and magazine signings and meet-and-greets are only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities.

Media: The Digital-Era Avatar of Print

Online publications, podcasts, and video news will continue to be widely used because of their convenience, popularity, and importance. Media’s basis will always be print, and print media’s heart will always be the reader. Considering this: Users in the metaverse can buy digital magazines from virtual news-stands and “handle” them in their virtual hands.

The idea combines the tried-and-true methods of traditional media amalgamated with today’s cutting-edge digital components.

Booster for a Live Audience

For PR professionals, another significant perk of the metaverse PR is the opportunity for podcast and live-stream viewers to observe and learn from their role models in real time. Workshops, think spaces, podcast streams, Q&A sessions, and anything else that can be imagined can be held on a regular basis by brands and entities, and the value they provide will be significantly greater than the value provided by the current formats due to the personalised nature of virtual reality.

It might have sounded amazing even five years ago, but courtesy the metaverse we can today experience the same level of intimacy as if we were physically present in the same room as our heroes. This with the benefits and low cost of being thousands of kilometres away from them, with audiences from all over the world.

As a caveat, I would like to make it absolutely clear here that this is not going to render in-person gatherings obsolete, we are humans after all with an innate instinct to socialise in the “real” world. In the field of public relations, specifically, in-person meetings will and should continue to play an important role.

Let’s talk about the importance of networking now. The trend toward telecommuting has dampened the scene somewhat. We do not have a steady stream of meetings and events to attend when at work, so we have to decide whether to stay inside and work through our inboxes and social media feeds, or venture out into the world in search of our next great client or connection. In most cases, pursuing either at random will not yield as many positive results.

Metaverse’s Digital Network: Infinite Possibilities

Let’s talk about the importance of networking now. The trend toward telecommuting has dampened the scene somewhat. We do not have a steady stream of meetings and events to attend when at work, so we have to decide whether to stay inside and work through our inboxes and social media feeds, or venture out into the world in search of our next great client or connection. In most cases, pursuing either at random will not yield as many positive results.

In the same way as podcasts and seminars will immensely benefit their audiences, so too will events, masterminds, and virtual events. Most of the magic in mastermind events occurs organically, between the attendees themselves. When tuning in to a live stream with thousands of other people, the likelihood of making true connections with other like-minded listeners is low. If you put them in a virtual reality thought tank, you can do anything.

For the uninitiated, here is what Mastermind is:

  1. A Metaverse Mastermind group cannot have more than eight people.
  2. The group meets twice a month on Zoom for three months.
  3. Everyone has someone they can rely on to keep them on track and motivated.
  4. In the Zoom meetings, members then discuss existing and potential problems and come up with potential solutions.

In the coming days, success of businesses will depend on their PR in the digital domain. A company’s success will hinge on the widespread dissemination of one’s brand using metaverse PR, more so in the next decade.

Strategies for Integrating the Expanded Environment

The best part is that instead of a complete replacement, the metaverse can be viewed as another asset. It’s possible that someday a part of your sales staff will operate almost exclusively in the virtual world. Perhaps your company will operate entirely online and you will hold regular get-togethers for employees in the metaverse as a form of team building. Perhaps you will do your customer interviews in VR.

The most important thing to remember about the metaverse is to treat it like any other disruptive technology. The reasons for this are as follows:

  1. People discuss and argue on its value in society
  2. People love it
  3. Those who failed to perceive the advantages of the technology when everyone else did stand to lose

Sounds quite similar to the pattern people went colour television or the cell-phone was introduced.

Conclusion

With each passing year, networking, digital PR, and a distinct online presence for your organisation will grow in significance. I feel very lucky to live at a time when amazing technological achievements are within our reach.
Exactly where have people disappeared to, I wonder? Whether or not you think this is a good thing, the fact is that everyone nowadays uses the Internet. And before long, everyone will be there, in metaverse.