During the Big Data & AI Paris 2022 exhibition, which will take 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 possibilities.
Stéphane Guerry, CEO of Havas Play
Stéphane Guerry advises, with Havas Play, 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 at the center of conversation right now. But behind this still vague concept for some, what are the real opportunities for brands?
I understand that it is difficult to project oneself when the technologies to make it “possible” and conceivable are not yet available. The decline of cryptocurrencies, upon which the metaverses in the making are based, may also suggest “a deflation of a balloon”. And I know that most of these new virtual worlds still have everything to prove: their ability to bring people back and forth, their usability, their promise of interoperability, their economic model, their durability, their ability to guarantee the visitor’s security and integrity and his property, their impact on the planet and for society.
However, the emergence of these virtual worlds is inevitable. And the evolution of video games towards community spaces where we gather, connect, where we interact and collaborate massively around a quest, the same center of interest, is the beginning of this.
Perhaps the private initiatives buzzing in the metaverse right now will fail. Perhaps most of these companies will not exist in 10 years. Still, the metaverse will exist. Brands that will understand how to help players in this quest, how to add value to this experience, which means that this community will remain these brands 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 only talk about possibilities. At the end of the day, for a brand, it’s like not having a website and not being on your customers’ smartphones today. A few might survive, but that still complicates the task.
In your opinion, what applications are likely to develop in virtual worlds?
First and foremost entertainment consumption. Not just video games, but also concerts, cinema and series, culture, but more generally the time spent on entertainment will grow on the metaverse.
Then traders and distributors will invest heavily, depending on the shift in use. They will offer immersive, fun, integrated shopping experiences, paradoxically also more physical than current digital technology allows. We no longer want to see advertisements, but an experience where an emotional relationship with the brand is established.
Professional applications will also develop. Training, of course, but also cooperation. Telecommuting has created a very big need to find a common corporate culture, and metaverse can help rebuild it.
These are likely to be the three major applications that will develop first. But in the end, I think the metaverse will take as much space in our lives as the smartphone does today, revolutionizing even more uses with a very strong impact on all economic sectors.
Do you have concrete examples of “metaverse” projects undertaken 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
Objective: communicate the launch of the Canal+ series through an in-game media campaign, thus reaching a new audience.
— CANAL+ (@canalplus) 14 October 2021
Communication about Louis Vuitton in League of Legends
Purpose: to communicate about the luxury brand Louis Vuitton during a League of Legends competition to signal belonging to the community. A private collection Louis Vuitton x League of Legends came out later in real life.
What types of data can brands collect and use in the metaverse to track their customers?
We are at the beginning of a personal data revolution.
The devices used to fully live the metaverse experience (connected glasses, haptic clothing, etc.) are all sensors for our emotions. Sensors of our reactions to the lived experience, to the avatar we encounter, to the offered mercantile object. A patent has already been filed to be able to tell, from a simple bezel, whether your retina is dilating, whether you are crying or smiling. Heart rate and body temperature can also be measured.
We are going into “emotional data marketing”. And the limit to affect marketing, where people’s feelings can be the subject of a transaction, is very fine.
This will raise many ethical questions. But what is technically possible always ends up happening. So operators will track and offer this data. Of course, many brands will set themselves limits and refuse to do so. But will they be able to survive if one of their competitors is 10 or 100 times more efficient at exploiting this data?
What do you think are the key factors for a successful launch into the metaverse in 2022?
Spend time understanding the reasons why this or that community gathers in this space. With which culture, which joint project, which ambition, which language and which codes too?
Once these elements have been analyzed, the brand must find times and places where it can come and offer a useful service to society. This presence must also be well aligned with its genes, its history and its own raison d’être. You have to go there with authenticity.
NFTs are also connected to the metaverse. What is the benefit of launching NFT collections for brands?
Here again, NFTs took a hit in the wings with the fall in the valuation of cryptos. In addition to the value, the number of transactions on exchanges has fallen significantly. We will likely see less speculative NFT launches for more useful NFTs.
Because the interesting thing is blockchain, the possibility of being able to transfer an inalienable property right. NFTs can allow brands to reward their best customers, to retain them, but also to seek out new customers who are not yet considering them.
We can’t talk about metaverse without talking about Meta. Your opinion on Horizon Worlds?
We are only at the beginning. We must not pass judgment too quickly on an experience which still goes through an Oculus and which today can set some limits. With billions invested in R&D over several years, I am confident that Meta will offer easily accessible solutions, rich experiences that will make you want to spend a good part of your free time… and professional time for it.