Dmytro Kornilov at Gurov Digital Podcast. The Value of Metaverse (text version)
This is the text version of Dmytro Kornilov at Gurov Digital Podcast. In his interview, FFFACE.ME CEO and Co-founder tells about the value of Metaverse for brands, ways to implement web3 projects effectively, and why Metaverse projects can be more than just a PR buzz for a brand.
WHAT IS YOUR AGENCY DOING CURRENTLY?
We are stepping away from representing ourselves as an agency that only creates Instagram and AR filters. Now we are a full-cycle metamarketing agency. As a part of this representation, we significantly expand our product line with digital and semi-digital clothing, virtual influencers, projects in the Metaverse, and NFTs. Everything that our client needs today to create the most relevant innovative marketing.
HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THE METAVERSE CONCEPT AS CLEARLY AS POSSIBLE SO THAT EVEN MY GRANDMA WOULD UNDERSTAND YOU?
Great question. CEO of Snapchat said that if you ask 10 people, “What is the Metaverse?” they would give you 10 different answers. That’s why we are actively working on creating a clear and understandable definition of the Metaverse for businesses. It is essential to divide the Metaverse concept into two categories:
1) The Metaverse, which Mark Zuckerberg promoted as an existentially meaningful concept;
2) The Metaverse as it is today, in reality.
Let’s start with Mark’s concept. Mark said that the Metaverse is an entirely virtual world in which a person exists in the form of a virtual character and, by performing virtual actions, can experience physical and emotional perceptions. In simple terms, Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a virtual world in which you can live real life. But from Mark’s side, it was a long shot, as he spoke about a concept that will be implemented in the future, in the nearest 3-10 years. This concept has nothing to do with the Metaverses that we see today.
Therefore, I suggest looking at the version of the Metaverse as it appears now. Since 99% of the audience does not have a VR headset for a full-fledged Metaverse experience. The software structure of the Metaverse does not allow you to live through physical or emotional experiences from actions fully. In reality, the Metaverse today is a website or an app where the user can walk through the virtual environment performing in the form of a 3D character.
Also, an interesting definition was given by the CEO of Microsoft, who said that gaming universes such as Fortnite are an excellent embodiment of the Metaverse today. It happened that most of the modern Metaverse platforms are the same games, except they don’t have the game process. All that is left are the environment and the character. The brand’s job is to determine what the user will do.
Entering the game will be enough to say that you had an experience of the Metaverse since it has the same characteristics, such as the ability to interact, a virtual environment, a marketplace, and even the ability to experience certain emotions. According to this, the experience of playing Fortnite will be enough.
If I’m a brand or organization, let’s say I’m the Estonian government, and I want to make my Metaverse, but I don’t want to make a game. What options do I have, and do I even need to create the Metaverse?
The analog version of the Metaverse is our world. And the world is empty without life. The Metaverse is just a virtual environment without script, interaction, plots, and action. Brands should ask themselves: what will happen in their Metaverse? If a brand comes up with incredible content, then, of course, it is worth creating. The Metaverse should have an extraordinary use case that will be fun and could be used through a virtual hybrid format. For example, you can create a series of events where entrepreneurs can pitch to government members. Or representatives of different industries can receive feedback from their customers. It is essential to come up with relevant content for the audience.
AS FAR AS I UNDERSTAND, BRANDS MAKE THE METAVERSE FULFILL PR GOALS. THEY HIT THE HEADLINES AND LOOK INNOVATIVE. IS THAT ALL?
If I were a skeptic, I would answer that this is the only thing the Metaverse can be helpful. On the other hand, isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that a brand in an era of informative overloading gets published in the media? This is an excellent result, but I would like to add more value.
First, by implementing projects in the Metaverse, the company, in addition to receiving external results, also receives internal results, which not many people think about. The company thus increases the technical expertise of its team. How is it that some brands are progressive and some are standing behind? This is because some brands miss trends, for example, the creation of their own filters, digital fashion, and the creation of the Metaverse. You’re afraid to go into the water when you can’t swim. This is the path of progression for conservatism, which, unfortunately, is dictated not by position or mission but by ignorance. The Metaverse is a must-have for every big and progressive brand, including for internal team education to keep the innovative muscle in good shape. But there is an important point here: because the output is mainly in PR, brands must carefully look at the number of investments and ensure that the amount of investments is comparable to the number of returns. The Metaverse can be created with a small budget starting from $10,000 or a large budget from $1 million. The difference is only in the outcome. By investing 20%, you can get 80% of the result. A minimum budget will be enough to get the maximum effect: publications, mentions, and user screenshots. Therefore, it is worth going to the Metaverse after evaluating the investments and results.
Besides one-time publications in the press, you can get much more. I talked about this in my talk for IBM Consulting, where I mentioned how to make Metaverse projects that work. You can get more from the Metaverse if you include flow in creating UGC in this project. To do so, you need to give users the motivation to share content on social networks. You talk about events, parties, giveaways, NFTs, and artists and encourage users to take screenshots, tag the brand, and post on their social networks. If users are not encouraged to take these actions, they most likely won’t post any content. Also, to have a bigger return on marketing investments, you need to create a long-term plan: prepare a series of events, and make your Metaverse space full-fledged and new, which will communicate all your activities throughout the year. You can throw a party in the Metaverse on New Year’s Eve. The launch of a new product should also be presented in the Metaverse. Every time you get a publication in the press, UGC, or mentions from partners, you will have more value from your Metaverse.
The most important things in the Metaverse are collaborations. The Metaverse is the perfect place to create partnerships with artists, charities, museums, and other brands. For example, you could split the Metaverse budget with another non-competing brand. Imagine that you are a real estate agency. You create a location and take a bank as a partner, place ATMs of this bank on this location, and here it is — the first ATM in the Metaverse that appeared on the location of a real estate corporation.
CAN THIS SOMEHOW BE CONNECTED WITH THE CONCEPT OF VIRTUAL AVATARS?
There is a tendency to mix and generalize completely different technologies. AR, VR, QR codes, NFT, and Metaverse, are all merged into one pile. Some virtual influencers are physiologically virtual avatars, but existentially they are social media accounts or anthropomorphic humanoid media. Virtual influencers generate content that features a virtual avatar.
You can also talk about virtual avatars as a visual embodiment of a person in games, metaverses, and other VR interfaces. These concepts are entirely different. We make virtual influencers. As for virtual avatars: we can make them, but their worth for the Metaverse is small.
There is a cool ReadyPlayerMe service in which you can make a virtual avatar quite similar to yourself, and it will be exported to all major metaverses.
In gaming metaverses, a virtual avatar is your visit card. There is a more developed marketplace where you can buy new skins, accessories, etc. This is a different business, not related to virtual influencers, which the owners of these spaces mainly serve.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, AND WHATSAPP ARE DOING ABOUT THE METAVERSE?
Meta tried to own a lot of territory for themselves in advance. Meta created the market, but it turned out that other previously forgotten players entered their game. We will see how the battle for this market will end in the future.