By Kyle O’Brien
The move back to physical offices has hit many stumbling blocks during the course of the pandemic, lately because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. That has made many agencies get creative with how they gather, especially as it comes to the holidays.
One agency office is playing it truly safe while being innovative this holiday season. Movement Strategy, a social media agency that had to shut down its regional offices in Los Angeles, Denver and New York during the pandemic, is turning to the metaverse to open its newest office, and it’s throwing a party where employees, clients and friends can attend and socialize all while staying safely distanced.
So how does a party in the metaverse work? First, attendees have to choose an avatar. The office is located in Decentraland, in the blockchain-based virtual world, one of the more easily accessible destinations in the metaverse for those unfamiliar with the space. Then they can move around the space, join conversations, look at virtual artwork and toast their coworkers and friends.
The executives at Movement Strategy want people to be able to ask questions to learn more about the metaverse and how it works. This party looks like an introduction to clients.
“It has been such a good learning [experience] for us as people ask those types of questions…This has all really sprung up so much in the last six months, even from the time we started this project until today, that the landscape looks so much different. So that’s one of my big learnings that I’ve taken away…everyone’s a little intimidated, and it’s a little bit easier than you think it is—just get in there and play around,” Chelsea Long, director, head of strategic marketing for Movement Strategy, told Adweek.
Movement Strategy is using the metaverse office party to experiment in the space. It has already had meetings in the virtual office and they have set up an art gallery with NFTs developed by designers at the agency. The test runs have also included playing music and teaching people how to control their avatars in the metaverse.
The main advantage the metaverse has over Zoom meetings is a sense of fun, said Long. “You’ll see everyone’s avatars around, you can chat with each other through the chat functionality, you can also talk out loud with a microphone…We’re going to have a couple of different people from our agency speaking about NFT 101s, about how we built this and why we built it…And then we have a little bar in there with some drinks. It should really feel like a real environment, which is fun.”
To incentivize people to tour the Movement Strategy metaverse and attend the virtual party, the agency is offering physical rewards like gift cards, swag and additional donations to charities the agency supports. They’re also offering commemorative metaverse collectibles that prove people were there… which grants them exclusive special gifts for the rest of their blockchain life.
Getting marketers used to the metaverse
The reason Movement Strategy is venturing into the metaverse is to explore what a future campaign might look like for clients in the space. As the interest in the metaverse has ramped up, people want to know more about it and how to use it to their advantage, and that’s something that Movement Strategy has been learning about rapidly.
“Five years into the future, we see that online communities are going to form in a space blending different mediums, like AR and virtual reality, as well as gaming platforms and engines,” Movement Strategy CEO Jason Mitchell said in a statement. “These communities are going to become important for brands looking to build relationships with interesting and innovative people.”
Movement Strategy launched in 2009 as one of the first dedicated social media agencies, and since then the agency has pushed forward on emerging technologies and platforms. “That is now what we’ve been seeing happen for the last couple of years and really ramp up over the past year with Web 3.0 and all of the innovations happening powered on blockchain—metaverse and NFTs and crypto,” Mitchell told Adweek, adding that much of what is developing around NFTs and the metaverse is about communities, so as a social media agency, the team thought it was a space to be explored.
Mitchell stated that Movement Strategy is an agency that embraces and thrives on the unknown and has to continually adapt because there’s a new important social platform coming out every year. Therefore, the team needs to be nimble and pivot quickly to jump on what’s emerging.
“The rate of change within Web 3.0 is unreal. I’m excited about being in a position as a company where we can really help large brands navigate that space,” said Mitchell. “There’s no playbook for the metaverse, and that’s a fun place to be for a company like ours.”