How brand contents and consumer experience are not mutually exclusive

By Dr. Ken Ip – Chairman of the Asia MarTech Society

Dr. Ken lp is the author of “Life Hacks” and “Growth Hacks”, an award-winning brand strategist, Associate Professor, columnist and expert commentator in Tech, Real Estate, Branding and e-Commerce. He’s Chairman of the Asia MarTech Society and a strategic advisor for a Web3-focused venture capital firm with a USD75 million asset portfolio.

In this exclusive interview in collaboration with Programmatic Pioneers Asia, Dr. Ken Ip discusses how brand contents and consumer experience are not mutually exclusive – be it offline, online, Web3 or in any forms of marketing.

“The consumer experience should be influenced by the messaging a brand is trying to convey, and vice versa” he told us as we explore VR and AR’s ability to increase ad revenues, how the metaverse will redefine subscription services and how brands must adopt a holistic view that balances awareness with conversion.

“To be successful, brands must provide incentives for users to create content, as well as make content creation simple, enjoyable, and financially rewarding – allowing users to monetize their time and efforts.”

Keep reading to discover Dr Ken’s perspective on the Web3 buzz and the ‘real life’ implications for brands and tools you can use to mitigate concerns around data privacy in the metaverse.

Everyone’s buzzing about web3 and the metaverse, but what are the real-world implications for businesses?

Broadly speaking, there are four domains in which web3 and metaverse are being used in the real-world right now, allowing multiple users to interact in a virtual world, on a large scale. These include gaming, education, events & concerts, and workplace interaction.

But the most hyped and talked about aspect of Web3 I would say are the marketplaces, where users can buy and sell digital assets online, so this is where blockchain, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies come into play. Decentralised platforms such as Sandbox, and Web3 marketplaces like OpenSea are two prime examples.

But for marketers, I believe the biggest opportunities lies in the ability to recreate, or at a more advanced level, reinvent an immersive experience that is not possible in the physical world, with the aid of smart AR and VR devices such as Meta Quest or Microsoft’s HoloLens.

How will VR and AR increase ad revenues?

In today’s increasingly competitive and fragmented media landscape, engaging with the modern-day consumers with short attention spans has become extremely difficult.

But thanks to VR and AR technologies, it allows a new level of interaction with advertising contents that makes the experience more interesting, immersive and engaging. A number of researches have already shown that VR and AR ads produce higher interaction rates, better brand and content recall, and greater purchasing intent than the standard two-dimensional ads.

One significant advantage of VR/AR advertisements is the ability to allow users to virtually experience products and services. For example, they can try on clothes, go to a pop concert, look around a hotel room, or play a branded game without having to visit in person. These are disruptive changes to the industry.

Not surprisingly we are witnessing more and more companies moving into immersive ads, and this trend is expected to continue for quite some time.

How can the metaverse redefine subscription services and memberships?

No doubt, the Metaverse has, and will continue to transform user experiences, channels and business models. The subscription economy will be one of them.

For example, many retail brands are now expanding into Metaverse to allow members to try out their latest products in the virtual world, and moving all the previous touch points and experience from physical to virtual.

With the rise of the Web3 economy, memberships can even be minted as NFTs, allowing users to sell or rent out subscriptions when they no longer require them.

In other words, rather than the traditional subscriptions’ “all you can eat” or “nothing at all” approach, creators will be able to package content for specific NFTs or incentivise specific behaviours.

For example, a private dining club recently sold USD14 million in memberships through NFT earlier this year. These token holders (or members) can then be shared as gifts, rented out for limited time use or sold to others as investment, such as overseas collectors.

What can businesses do to mitigate the concerns of data privacy in the metaverse?

Users and businesses all over the world have long been concerned about the privacy and security of their data, particularly with the metaverse, which is based on behavioural learning technologies. These are virtual reality, augmented reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, all of which can quickly and easily collect massive amounts of personal data.

To address these concerns, a group called “The Extended Reality Safety Initiative” was formed. They have their own oversight panel and will provide guidance to lawmakers on the privacy risks of the metaverse and virtual reality, as well as guidance to businesses on how to address various privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

If this appears too complex, businesses can instead adhere to three basic principles: visibility (having a transparent consent mechanism), honesty (being upfront about how data is collected and used), and value (to highlight the incentives, such as a better user experience, that comes from sharing of their data).

What does diversity look like in the metaverse and how is it going to play out?

Unlike most assets in the real world, the metaverse is not owned by anyone or any single entity. As a result, the primary goal isn’t just about maximising profits for brands and businesses. Users are equally important in this context.

To be sustainable, the metaverse’s success will be heavily reliant on the satisfaction of its users and virtual citizens. Thus, concepts such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will be critical because these values are the foundation of a good user experience, which is critical to mainstreaming these virtual platforms.

In your opinion is 3D Design the new skill set needed? Why?

I believe so, if you are a creative, designer or programmer. When you consider modern-day creative teams, you’ll notice that the designers are no longer just creating print ads and flyers.

Most designers can now create simple animations, as well as video editing and interactive social media content. With the advent of metaverse and other virtual space technologies, 3D design will undoubtedly become a necessary skill for future creatives.

What are the key topics you are keen to listen to and why is Programmatic Pioneers a must not miss event?

The programmatic value chain is dynamic and complex. As a marketer, I’m interested in staying up to date on the latest trends and technologies, as well as learning about the latest media currencies and metrics. And the Programmatic Pioneer Summit is fantastic because it allows me to learn from the most influential key players in Brands, Agencies, and Publishers.

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