Let’s be real, we’re all a bit bored with traditional online and offline networking events. What about networking in the Metaverse? We’ve talked to Nikolai Morozov, head of Brusnika creative agency on how his experience led him to creating Metaverse events.
- Networking in Metaverse worlds
- Advantages of interacting in the Metaverse
- Becoming braver in the Metaverse
- Getting in touch with people that are hard to reach otherwise
- Platforms to go to Metaverse
- Cases: what Brusnika has done in the Metaverse
Thank you so much for sharing time with us. Let’s get to it: how did you start making Metaverse conferences?
It all started with my volunteer project that I’ve made for charity: I created VMESTE.VIDEO to help NGOs to create engaging social videos. Why do charities need videos? Because engaging videos can be a powerful instrument for raising awareness, fundraising and PR for the organization.
At one point I realized that the project is successful, but I need new instruments to make it global, not local. I knew there were many skilled specialists willing to help and provide consultations, but with videos we couldn’t reach them – simply because of their location. So, streaming events and creating networking sessions in the Metaverse seemed like a logical step to make our project more global. That’s how I started researching instruments and platforms – and started hosting first virtual events.
What was your first impression from networking online?
I purchased the Oculus Quest 2 headset and became an active user – and it fascinated me. The level of immersion is way higher than with traditional online events. Mostly I was impressed by my VR group session with a therapist – we discussed mental health being in different physical locations. I was surprised because the energy of the meeting was just as it could be at a real, offline meeting. This is what it looked like:
Would you say that networking in the Metaverse could replace offline interactions?
We cherish offline interaction because it’s the maximum level of immersion you can get: you are fully present at the event. With Metaverse, the level of immersion largely depends on the tools you use. You can either enter an event with your computer or smartphone, and then your presence will be limited with your screen. You can use a VR headset – or even a special costume with sensors that mimic a human touch. The technologies are developing and the tools are becoming more accessible, but it will take time until everyone will be able to afford them.
But even now networking at events hosted in Metaverse spaces has advantages you just can’t beat:
- You get to meet people with various background without having to travel;
- There are many instruments for instant feedback – chats, voice interaction, messages;
- You immediately set a long-lasting contact with a person you’re talking to.
As an active Metaverse user, I’ve noticed that people behave differently in digital spaces. They are more free and adventurous – which is a huge advantage if you want to meet someone. In the Metaverse you can sing, dance, draw, fly – do anything you want without feeling the pressure. Just as everyone else, you are discovering the possibilities of a new medium, and it could be a perfect ice breaker. People feel free to attend an event or leave, they can easily say (or type) hello to someone with an unusual avatar – and conversations start with more ease and less pressure. I think this playfulness of the Metaverse is a huge game changer when it comes to networking.
And most importantly, Metaverse events now allow you to get a valuable network of contacts. For example, augmented and virtual reality has already been actively used for 10+ years in heavy machinery and aviation. Large scale companies use VR interactive learning to teach people to use equipment without having to use it in person. And C-levels of such large corporations are actively attending Metaverse conferences. Meeting people like that in the real world can be quite a challenge – while at a Metaverse conference you can meet them and chat with them without a need to get an introduction.
For someone looking into hosting events like this, where would you advise to start?
I would say, first you need to be clear with your goals and the budget you’re willing to spend. The budget on the event will be determined by:
- The platform you want to use;
- The perks you’re willing to provide to your attendees;
- Production scale;
- Your desired PR and marketing values.
For myself, I see five platforms that interest me the most. All of them have their pros and cons, here they are:
- Spatial – The platform that has the easiest interface and the fastest onboarding. It’s also free to use – so creating an event wouldn’t be too costly. People’s avatars look realistic and it has a lot of attention to details like small objects, but the possibilities of interacting with objects are limited. That’s why I would say that this is the perfect platform for someone who wants to start working with the Metaverse – and it’s perfect for showcasing objects. So, if you’re looking for a platform to host a VR exhibition – Spatial may be the choice for you.
- Microsoft Alt Space. The platform that allows you to create animated events with instruments for live interaction. It looks a bit cartoony – which could be a pro or a con, depending on what the brand image is. The platform has a complex authorization process for attendants, which could potentially scare away the not-so-savvy users.
- Roblox. Animated, blocky platform that has various possibilities for interaction. On Roblox you can develop and play games, but the tools for communication are far from perfect. You can chat with other users via text, but having a conversation with your voice requires additional authorization.
- Decentraland. It has the best infrastructure for hosting events or selling items, because it already has crypto embedded into the platform. In Decentraland you can host events, sell NTFs, play games together, but there is one downside – the cost. To host an event there you have to buy virtual land – and it could cost you more than buying land in the center of Manhattan. So, Decentraland is for you if you represent a big brand and you are looking for a PR case to increase media coverage. For instance, one of the world’s largest and oldest auction houses, Sotheby’s opened a virtual gallery in Decentraland and sold a Cryptopunk NFT for a whopping $11 million.
As the CEO I am now in charge of hosting events for clients in metaverse settings. Here are the events that we’ve made in 2022.
VMESTE.VIDEO. This was the project that brought me personally into the Metaverse, and this year was the first time when I brought all participants together in the meta space. This year we had people from different NGOs like the Red Cross, as well as bloggers, IT workers and others who came together to discuss how we can build social projects to create a healthier society as a whole.
Neforum – one of the most influential offline events in digital marketing for the CIS region. For Neforum we hosted the virtual networking session for attendees – and it was an important addition to the offline event that our client created. It was especially successful because the best ideas are always born in collaboration – and we were able to bring creatives together.
The conference was held in Spatial, where we placed the lectures from speakers in our customized location, so attendees could meet each other and interact. You can see how the event looked here.
And, of course, if you would like to outsource an event like this – Brusnika would be happy to help. We develop concepts for VR events, estimate budgets, take care of production and marketing & PR. Together we can come up with an event that will give your customers a unique experience – and they won’t forget that.