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69% of people are worried about privacy and data protection with the advent of Metaverse: Wunderman Thompson study

Wunderman Thompson has compiled a study that talks about people’s perception of the Metaverse and how will it impact brands, advertising and workspaces

The metaverse will impact the advertising industry by 89% and it will impact industries like entertainment (90%), retail (86%), employment and work (85%), as per the Wunderman Thompson study.

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg decided to rebrand Facebook’s parent brand as Meta, the word has become an important conversation point across the adverting and marketing fields. So, Wunderman Thompson has compiled an extensive study titled, ‘New realities into the Metaverse’ to help people navigate the new term and its implementation. 

According to the report, every industry disrupted by the digital era is expected to feel the impact of the metaverse.  By the report's definition, the metaverse is an extension of our lives enhanced by technology. Currently, it exists as a series of distinct virtual worlds and experiences. In the future, however, the metaverse will expand into an interconnected and limitless world where our digital and physical lives fully converge.

Companies from banks to ad agencies are eager to form the right partnerships and even create in-house metaverse teams to get ahead. From finance to food and retail to health, the vast majority of consumers expect the metaverse to drive mass disruption.

The metaverse will impact the entertainment and advertising industry by 90% and 89%, respectively. It will further impact industries like entertainment (90%), retail (86%), employment and work (85%), as per the study.

74% of people who know what the metaverse is believed it’s the future and 66% believe it is going to be life-changing. 

How will it impact industries? 

Retail- Many youth-centric brands like Nike, Forever21, and Adidas have already established themselves in the metaverse. Big-name brands in retail are setting up shops in the metaverse, finding new ways to interact with their wide-span consumer base. For example, Nike launched Nikeland on Roblox which was an in-store experience blending of virtual and physical consumer engagement strategies for an extensive and immersive Nike experience. 

People were able to buy Nike-branded augmented reality (AR) games. Customers can connect, create and compete in Nikeland. They could also create and design their own mini-games in the digital realm using interactive sports materials. 

By doing so, Nike is engaging consumers from multiple points of contact, encouraging play, competition and creativity. 

“We see a big opportunity in taking the reality around you and layering the digital world on top of it. From shopping experiences to travel, there’s an endless opportunity to take the power of digital content and layer this onto the physical world around you,” said Carolina Arguelles Navas, group product marketing manager at Snap AR. 

Work- It is not only brands and adverting but workspaces are also up to enter the Metaverse. Ad Agencies are hiring staff that understand the technology and the aspects of metaverse. Hogarth which is owned by WPP launched the e Metaverse Foundry in 2022. This means that a global team of producers, virtual artists, developers and technologists are available to partner with WPP clients on metaverse-related projects from design to execution. 

Companies including Disney, Nike and WPP are recruiting talent to build out their metaverse vision. 

According to a Wunderman Thompson Data survey, 85% of people think the metaverse will impact employment, 83% think that the metaverse will impact business-to-business, and 51% believe it will be a place to work.

“It is super important for companies and brands to have skilled staff in the metaverse and Web 3.0 space. e. “With every new environment or platform comes new behaviours and codes of existence. The metaverse will birth new industries and jobs that do not exist right now,” said Mehta Mehta, global executive creative director of Hogarth. 

Finance- According to firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the metaverse is an $8 trillion market opportunity. Analysis from Citi in April 2022 predicts that the metaverse economy could grow to $13 trillion by 2030.

Recently, The New York Stock Exchange announced it is preparing for NFT and cryptocurrency trading with a trademark application, filed in February 2022, for a virtual trading marketplace.  In February 2022, India also announced plans to launch a digital rupee in 2022-2023.

HSBC, JP Morgan, and Siam Commercial Bank have also announced their plans to enter the Metaverse. Not only banks but payment companies like American Express have also started exploring the Metaverse space. 

“The dawn of Web3 and the rise of virtual commerce could bring with them a new paradigm for payments in the metaverse. New services and products are emerging to streamline virtual payments. Could this be the first hint of a new financial infrastructure native to Web3 and the metaverse? There is a big gap in crypto-education that leading financial institutions are working to fill. While the vast majority of global consumers (78%) report having some awareness of cryptocurrency, only 15% say they know what it is and can explain it well to someone else. The future of digital economies hinges not only on adoption but also on education, for both consumers and brands,” said the report. 

Food and Drink- Coca-Cola recently sponsored an Indian wedding in the metaverse. It featured a Coca-Cola branded dance floor and a bar stocked with Coke cans. The guests were given Coca-Cola discounts and gift cards to use in the real world. Moreover, brands like Chipotle, Mcdonald's, and Wendy’s have also entered the space at different levels. 

According to the report, “When entering the metaverse, food and drink brands need to think beyond the physical act of imbibing. Food is a focal point in social gatherings, celebrations and cultural events, and brands are starting to experiment with creative ways to capture that value-add when virtual guests can’t physically eat or drink. Coca-Cola demonstrates how it’s possible to trade on cultural capital in the metaverse in place of consumable products.

Entertainment- The Metaverse has already impacted the streaming of sports, concerts, movies etc. Sony and Disney are expanding their brand portfolios into the virtual realm. The 64th Grammy Awards were presented in Roblox from March 30 to April 3, 2022, appearing in the metaverse for the first time in the music award show’s history. This enabled virtual performances, games, digital merchandise etc. 

Concerns around the Metaverse? 

While organisations are rapidly moving toward becoming an expert in the metaverse, the Wunderman Thompson report has also stated people’s concerns around it. 69% are worried about privacy, and the same percentage are worried about data protection. People also think it will impact their self-expression. 

76% want their avatar to express their creativity and individuality in ways that they can’t in the physical or offline world. But virtual self-expression is only as good as the digital tools available.

The report says that brands will need to think creatively and comprehensively to help users create virtual faces and bodies that reflect a range of identities.

Another 71% of people are worried about the environmental impact of the Metaverse. 71% of people are also concerned about inclusivity. Children’s safety and bullying are also the other top concerns among people. People think that brands need to work just as hard to create inclusive spaces in the metaverse as they do offline. 

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