“Welcome to Miami, bienvenido a Miami!” Brandweek 2022, hosted by Adweek, came and went in a flash last week. The event brought together brand marketers, celebrities, influencers, tech enthusiasts and major brands to learn what the biggest opportunities are in marketing.

To put it succinctly – though at the risk of quoting Will Smith’s 1998 hit twice in only two paragraphs – Miami’s bringing the heat!

We were fortunate enough to be presenting, speaking and exhibiting at Brandweek 2022, along with enterprise AI extraordinaires Veritone. Our founder and CEO, Danny Tomsett, was on stage speaking about how brands can take their first steps into the metaverse. Meanwhile, we built an interactive game led by Kate, our digital human and Veritone Avatar, to give attendees a glimpse into what immersive, interactive experiences now look like.

But we also got a chance to see what was going on at Brandweek 2022 – and, like all attendees – learn from some of the best in the business.

We thought we’d list five unmissable insights, for those who couldn’t make it to the event.

Danny from UneeQ at Brandweek 2022

1. Pharrell shines discussing brand responsibility

Want to know about brand? Ask Pharrell. The musician and entrepreneur might not spend as much time in the public eye as others of his musical ilk; and yet notice how we can only use his first name and you know exactly who we’re talking about. Now that’s brand!

Mr Williams spoke extensively about brand responsibility in discussion with Adweek’s creative and inclusion editor Shannon Miller. 

We all have responsibilities as individuals in our community,” he said. “It might not feel like you have a responsibility, but you do.”

“We should be using brands to toe-in change on a social level—even with business practices. If you don’t want to do that, you’re part of the problem.”

Pharrell also launched his new creative agency, Mighty Dream, with Edelman. Mighty Dream aims to solve some of the societal challenges that have impacted marginalized communities, working with brands to exclusively developing products and creative solutions to that end.

2. How to be where people are, with Chobani

Meredith Madden, Chief Marketing and Category Office at food brand Chobani, gave a marketing masterclass

She detailed how the brand identifies the motives behind why people might choose one of their products, and establishes a route to engaging with those people. Why people might choose a coffee creamer over oat milk or a probiotic drink, for example. It sounds simple, sure, but effective; and you can see how Chobani has grown to be a market leader by covering all bases with a clear and concise marketing strategy.

But perhaps most eye-opening of all is the brand’s experiments into “going where the people are” – which includes immersive online environments like Roblox.

As more brands experiment with Web 3.0, Madden advises other marketers to be fearless in approaching new technologies as a means to get closer to their customers. 

“You can’t be afraid of it,” she enthused. “There is ample opportunity out there, and finding the right mix of short-term and long-term brand building doesn’t happen overnight.”

3. The importance of play!

One of the key moments in one of our webinars earlier in the year was when Matt Marcus from Publicis Groupe told us a great way to start in the metaverse is to get in and play around.

So it was great to see other big names in business promote a similar mentality. Coca-Cola’s Robin K. Triplett chatted with Snap’s Jason Poinsette and reaffirmed this point.

“Test, learn, reapply, play,” Triplett encouraged. “We have a wealth of data at our disposal and sometimes it paralyzes us and prevents us from playing.”

Doing so effectively, she explained, “requires a marriage of creative, data, tech and media.”

4. How to engage with Gen Z

If there’s one thing that brand marketers fear… it’s not having a decent budget to match their ambitions. But if there’s a second thing, it’s the idea of falling behind the times and losing sight of what burgeoning generations want.

The chat between Coca-Cola and Snap execs also uncovered what Gen Zers want – a generation, Adweek explains, that spends double the amount of time engaging in the digital space vs. physical spaces.

Robin K. Triplett explained that Gen Z craves “participatory, experiential, two-way conversations” with brands, creators and influencers. It’s also critical for brands “to not only show up in these places but give a real value to them”.

As creators of metaverse-ready, immersive, conversational digital humans, you can imagine how pumped we were to hear such a spot-on assessment.

The two brands also revealed an AR experience featuring The Kid LAROI, which ties into this goal of creating engaging Gen Z-focused experiences.

5. How not to get ran over by the metaverse hype train

So important is the metaverse discussion to brand marketers – but so seemingly unknowable at the same time – Brandweek 2022 had a dedicated Metaverse Day. It was here that we joined Sean King from Veritone on stage to discuss how brands can get a step up in their metaverse plans.

We’d like to share some of Veritone’s top truths about brand marketing in the metaverse. These can be boiled down to:

  1. What you do today shapes your metaverse tomorrow.
  2. Interactive brand ambassadors are the next frontier of consumer connection.
  3. Synthetic media is key to ensure brand continuity across channels including immersive environments.

If you’re yet to embark on your brand’s metaverse journey, you’re not alone. Don’t let the FOMO petrify you and the hype train run you over. This recent Forbes article by our CEO, Danny, explains why it’s OK to not be ready for the metaverse, and what you can do to take confident steps in the right direction.

Do you have any top takeaways from Brandweek’s series of talks, workshops and masterclasses? We’d love to hear what you have to say.

10 reasons brands should care about the metaverse (infographic CTA) | UneeQ Blog