The Metaverse – Think R&D Not ROI


The Metaverse – Think R&D Not ROI

Alec Moors, Head of Digital at Five by Five, talks maintaining authenticity during a tech revolution.

As dawn breaks on the promised land of the metaverse, we’ve reached another epoch in digital history. But what does this brave new world look like? Truth is, it’s hard to tell.

The metaverse is not exactly a fixed point, more an ideological horizon born from tech’s ambitious potential. Exciting yes, but let’s not lose our heads to a VR headset just yet.

If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that big tech doesn’t always seem to be too concerned with the negative implications of their digital products (rigged elections, fake news, online abuse). Yet in the maelstrom of metaverse opinions and claims, everyone forgets this and just panics about FOMO. 

We get high on the hype, believing we all need to strap TVs to our heads and ditch everything else. This can be crazily destabilising and potentially damaging to businesses for whom this world is totally alien. 

As guardians of a brand’s perception in the public domain, marketers have an opportunity to shape positive relationships within this realm and not resign themselves to a sense of inevitable dictatorship from tech giants pedalling their own agenda within the migration from web2.0 (centralised) to web3.0 (decentralised).

So, let’s retain some caution before throwing brands into the void of metaverse madness. The metaverse idea isn’t going away. But the more fundamentally understood, scrutinised, and questioned it is, the more articulate, meaningful, and confident we can be in it. Only with the right bedrock of knowledge will brands be able to find creative opportunities that are authentic to them.

Through this dialogue, we can also attempt to shape this new frontier in a way that is fair and decent for all participants. Remember, web3.0 is supposed to be a value exchange overhaul of the relationship between consumer and creator as seen in web2.0. Using this migration we can review and revive a healthy relationship with digital.

Enabling this means ring-fencing investment and getting our hands dirty with the digital. It’s about research and development, not harnessing a new sales aid.

So read everything you can, cross reference it with everything else, and don’t take anything at face value. Make an NFT; buy some crypto; strap on a headset and play some stuff. Get a feel for it, demystify it, find an analogy – trust me, it’ll help – try getting out of the jargon and articulate in your own words what it all means. Gain confidence in holding the metaverse prophets to account, and you’ll help shape a digital world we can all be proud of.

Above all, marketers must maintain authenticity in the dialogue between brand and consumer, whatever new tech realm appears. 

Here at Five by Five, we’re building a lab hard-wired to understand this world in a clear, tangible way so that everyone from clients to copywriters can get the best possible first-hand experience in a way they understand. If you’re interested in experiencing our lab, then give me a shout – because, for the moment, the metaverse should fall under the heading of R&D not ROI.

Alec Moors is Head of Digital at creative and innovation agency, Five by Five.

Alec Moors