Brands and consumers are all trying to wrap their heads around the idea of a metaverse, which is not new given that it was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 sci-fi novel. Brands such as Hyundai, Gucci and Warner Brothers have taken the leap of faith and entered the metaverse scene.
Industry players previously told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the metaverse is a digital environment that replicates the real world and allows for users to interact with both a digitally-generated environment and other users via their digital avatars. Currently, it seems like a whole new world awaits brands, which brings about the question of whether there is a need for a specialised role to oversee the metaverse. A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE on LinkedIn found that there are not many individuals with the title of chief metaverse officer, except for Cathy Hackl of Futures Intelligence Group.
Although the role of chief metaverse officer might not be widely available, Aiken Digital's account strategist, Iris Gu, said the rise of the metaverse makes it highly possible for this role to be an essential part of brands in the future.
"Brands will need dedicated talents who have a deep understanding of the latest development both from the technical side and user behaviour. They would be then able to connect what the brands can achieve within the metaverse to the overall business objectives," she explained.
Meanwhile, Zoe Cocker, head of brand and Yahoo Creative Studios, ANZ, explained that there would not be a trend of CMOs suddenly becoming chief metaverse officers overnight. While it is possible for such senior leadership roles to emerge at big tech companies such as PlayStation, Facebook or Microsoft, Cocker explained that for the majority of brands, the metaverse role will be integrated through divisions within marketing teams. This is much like how social or programmatic has evolved, she added.
"The metaverse has the potential to generate new revenue streams particularly through retail and eCommerce and because of this, I think the C-suite is particularly interested in its potential. CMO’s should leverage the expertise of companies already operating in the metaverse space and build that knowledge into their teams," Cocker said.
On the other hand, Media.Monks' SVP of growth, Catherine Henry, said the real chief metaverse officer is, in fact, the CEO. To her, the metaverse is not a niche technology, just as the web was not either. Rather, Henry said the metaverse is a byproduct of virtualisation: the next stage in digital transformation – which applies to everyone.
She predicts that in 10 to 15 years, everyone in the industry would be an expert in this realm, as the word “metaverse” itself will take on a meaning akin to “digital” in-depth and prevalence, with far-reaching implications across all business functions. Henry added:
The metaverse is a gold rush, just as the Internet was in the early days, and there are speculators everywhere.
Meanwhile, Media.Monks' report titled "Making the Metaverse" said the metaverse erases the notion of borders and physical distance. As brands consider how they will show up in the metaverse, they need to consider areas such as business expansion, commercial and revenue generation, advertising and marketing, as well as media and entertainment.
As with every new trend, challenges will arise and for the metaverse, this includes regulations. According to Media.Monks, pervasive illegality using emerging technologies will post challenges in how they are regulated globally. Currently, platforms have power in dictating who can use their platforms and to what end. "Who will be the police force of the metaverse?" Media.Monks said in its report.
Industry players shared with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE about the ethical challenges brands might face in the metaverse, as well as the potential areas of mistakes they should avoid.
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