Will the metaverse trigger a restructuring of brand and agency teams?


Tomorrow’s customers will be in the metaverse, we are told. Facebook is so convinced of this that it’s considering changing its name to reflect its commitment to the Metaverse (or perhaps to distance itself from its past; we’ll let you decide). But will anyone sell or market to these consumers? Brands and agencies may not be structured to take advantage of this burgeoning marketing channel, according to metaverse specialists.

The industry has historically been slow to adapt to major technological changes, from the birth of the modern internet to the move to mobile, social and cloud in Web 2.0.

“A lot of money and time was wasted getting started on these S-curves,” says Alex Wills, director of The Mill post-production facility experience. As Web 3.0 approaches, a more immersive, connected and open version of the Internet, Wills recommends that brands and agencies develop a framework strategy to enable early experimentation and experience development.

This will require “much deeper” agency-brand relationships, greater reliance on independent partners and talent, and fluid internal structures, experts say. Asia-Pacific Campaign.

Indeed, inherited structures and thinking are often cited as the main obstacles to marketing innovation. As part of an in-depth series exploring marketing in the metaverse, Campaign asked five experts if they expected the “beyond the universe” to lead to changes in the structures of brands and agencies. Their full answers below.

Tessa Conrad, Chief Innovation Officer, TBWA Asia

There are a lot of factors that are causing changes in brand and agency structures, be it Covid, fee structures, remote talent, shifting to projects rather than mandates. , etc. But the Metaverse will certainly create and amplify a lot of these changes. For the first part, I think it’s going to force brands and agencies to have a much deeper business strategy relationship. Since communities are at the heart of the metaverse, it’s imperative to share more data and be extremely aligned with the brand, community, product, and future goals.

While I don’t think project relationships lead to anything, I do think having a few strong thinkers and orchestrators as part of a team will be crucial. Having a partner in this space is crucial because you need someone who is constantly thinking about the big picture with you or you risk getting stuck in gimmicky marketing that will be rejected by communities that want it. authenticity in the metaverse.

I also think we’ll see a more balanced mix of full-time and freelance talent. Since no one can be an expert in everything, we need to be more nimble about when and how we harness talent while ensuring that it benefits all partners. Finally, I believe that the continued increase in the number of creators in the metaverse will see partnerships become a much more important aspect of relationships between brands and agencies. It doesn’t all have to be under one roof, but proven success with different partners will increase the objectivity of implementing business solutions for the Metaverse.

Michael Patent, Founder, Culture Group

What’s unique about the metaverse is that it’s decentralized, so a technologist or a creative community or an artist has the ability to develop something in partnership with the brand. I don’t think a lot of brands are designed to be proactive in finding these opportunities. If you think about how a digital group might be structured within a given brand, they might consider a lot of commerce or a lot of brand-focused initiatives, but they might not be looking to build their brand. in a new area that was not taken into account when writing the work.

I think the best structure would be less structure. If you are a global or regional brand, you often think in the form of a structure and how that structure supports your business. But we’re talking about activations and a creative community in an inherently unstructured world. So, creating an environment within your business where you can attract cryptocurrencies, blockchains, and near-endemic talent into the organization will be the first step. And without creating that environment, you won’t be a desirable place to work or partner for anyone with these skills. And when I say endemic, we are generally talking about sharp young people who often work by project rather than by career.

Each company will have to go through an application process: “what will be the role of our brand and what will be our business opportunity in the virtual field?” And then they’ll need to understand who owns that profit and the brand perception within the organization. It will be different in every business. I can foresee someone who is web 3.0 or metaverse focused to sit between divisions, similar to an innovation manager, but with a P&L responsibility. Much like a decade ago, e-commerce lived in retail because it sold products, but many brands then realized that it was a digital initiative and that it should go digital. The sooner we can conclude that this is a stand-alone initiative interconnected with other areas of the business, the better.

David Porter, Vice President of Global Media for APAC and Africa, Unilever

Agencies have always had fluid structures. Only a generation ago digital people were sitting in incubation pods. Now they run the holding companies. There will always be a small group that finds its way through the next new thing. When it becomes the next big thing, the group returns to the agency mothership and the cycle repeats itself. We are witnessing the rise of people who know how to count, master data, curious and creative. And we’re seeing more inclusive leaders bringing together the multi-functional teams needed to play in such a complex space.

Alex Wills, Experience Director, The Mill

It’s certainly about to get a lot more complicated for both parties as we start to really grapple with the incredibly powerful combination of digital / crypto currencies and massive real-time 3D experiences and characters. And we will see a marked increase in the number of specialist partners able to support and deliver these new experiences on a large scale. But the key principles also remain when it comes to attracting audiences and creating brand value. Understanding what core capacities are and where partners come in will be even more critical moving forward.

Emma Chiu, Global Director, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence

There will be a higher demand for technology and gaming capabilities within businesses. Even content creators who are technologists. New departments within companies that mirror gaming companies will not be surprising in the years to come. Think about how social media took off and created new departments.

This story first appeared on the Asia-Pacific campaign.

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