During the Big Data & AI Paris 2022 exhibition taking place on September 26 and 27, Stéphane Guerry will be one of the speakers at the conference entitled: The metaverse, the new data frontier. On this occasion, we interviewed him to learn more about virtual worlds and their capabilities.
Stéphane Guerry, CEO of Havas Play
Stéphane Guerry, with Havas Play, advises the largest French and international companies (Orange, Carrefour, Nike, Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton) to use passions as areas of expression. In 2021, Stéphane Guerry founded “Metaverse by Havas”, bringing together the group’s talents and experience to support brands in these new universes and enable them to seize opportunities now.
The metaverse is now central to conversations. But what are the real opportunities for brands behind this for some still vague concept?
I understand that it is difficult to project yourself if the technologies to make it ‘possible’ and conceivable are not yet available. The fall of crypto currencies, on which the metaverses in the making are based, may also suggest “a balloon is deflating”. And I know that most of these new virtual worlds still have everything to prove: their ability to move people back and forth, their usability, their promise of interoperability, their economic model, their sustainability, their ability to protect the security and integrity of the visitor and its property, their impact on the planet and on society.
However, the emergence of these virtual worlds is inevitable. And the evolution from video games to community spaces where we come together, connect, where we massively communicate and collaborate around a quest, the same center of interest, is the beginning of this.
Perhaps the private initiatives now buzzing in the metaverse will fail. Perhaps in 10 years most of these companies will no longer exist. Yet the metaverse will exist. Brands that will understand how to help players in this quest, how to add value to this experience, meaning to this community, these brands will stay in people’s lives. Some will say: “These brands will survive”.
From the moment the use changes, it is a matter of survival. I don’t know if we should just talk about opportunities. Ultimately, for a brand, it’s like you don’t have a website and aren’t on its customers’ smartphones these days. A few may survive, but it still complicates the task.
Which applications do you think will develop in virtual worlds?
First of all, entertainment consumption. Not only video games, but also concerts, cinema and series, culture, but more generally, the time spent on entertainment will grow on the metaverse.
Next, traders and distributors will invest heavily depending on the shift in usage. They will provide immersive, fun, integrated shopping experiences, paradoxically also more embodied than today’s digital technology allows. We will no longer see advertising, but an experience that creates an emotional bond with the brand.
Professional applications will also develop. Training, of course, but also collaboration. Teleworking has created a very strong need to find a shared corporate culture and metaverses can help rebuild it.
These are probably the three main applications that will develop first. But in the end I think the metaverse will take up as much space in our lives as the smartphone today, revolutionizing even more applications with a very strong impact on all economic sectors.
Do you have concrete examples of ‘metaverse’ projects started with your customers?
We already use metaverses as media to “eventize” entertainment launches to find new audiences, but also to strengthen the intangible capital of certain luxury brands.
Communication about the series Validated 2 in the world of GTA
Goal: to communicate about the launch of the Canal+ series through an in-game media campaign and thus reach a new audience.
— CANAL+ (@canalplus) October 14, 2021
Communication about Louis Vuitton in League of Legends
Objective: Communicate about the luxury brand Louis Vuitton during a League of Legends competition to show you belong to the community. A private collection Louis Vuitton x League of Legends came out later for real.
What types of data can brands collect and use in the metaverse to track their customers?
We are at the dawn of a personal data revolution.
The devices used to fully live the metaverse experience (connected glasses, haptic clothing, etc.) are all sensors of our emotions. Sensors of our reactions to the lived experience, to the avatar we encountered, to the trade item on offer. Patents have already been applied for to show from a simple ring whether your retina dilates, whether you are crying or laughing. Heart rates and body temperature can also be measured.
We will discuss “emotional data marketing”. And the boundary with affect marketing where people’s emotions can be the subject of a transaction is very fine.
This will raise many ethical questions. But what is technically possible always happens. So operators will track and provide this data. Of course, many brands will set themselves limits and refuse to do so. But will they survive if one of their competitors is 10 or 100 times more efficient at exploiting this data?
What do you think are the most important factors for a successful launch in the metaverse in 2022?
Spend time understanding the reasons why this or that community gathers in this space. What culture, what common project, what ambition, what language and what codes?
After analyzing these elements, the brand needs to find the times and places where it can come and provide a useful service to the community. This presence must also fit well with his genes, his history and his own right to exist. You have to go there with authenticity.
NFTs are also associated with the metaverse. What is the benefit of launching NFT collections for brands?
Again, NFTs took a hit in the wing with the decline in crypto valuations. In addition to value, the number of trades on exchanges has fallen significantly. We will likely see fewer speculative NFT launches for more useful NFTs.
Because the blockchain is interesting, the possibility to assign an inalienable property right. NFTs can enable brands to reward and retain their best customers, as well as seek out new customers they are not yet considering.
We can’t talk about metaverse without talking about Meta. Your opinion about Horizon Worlds?
We are only at the beginning. We shouldn’t be too quick to judge an experience that still goes through an Oculus and that today may have some limitations. With billions invested in R&D over several years, I am convinced that Meta will provide easily accessible solutions, rich experiences that will make you want to spend a lot of your free time… and professional time on it.