What is a metaverse director and why do companies like Disney and P&G name one?

Growing conversations about the metaverse across multiple industries show that organizations are increasingly looking to put their weight behind this nascent immersive world.

This new virtual world offers incredible promise. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people worldwide will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, socializing, and entertainment. So it’s no surprise that more than $120 billion has been invested in the metaverse in 2022 alone, dwarfing the $57 billion invested in all of last year, according to a McKinsey report. Additionally, the report projects that the metaverse could grow to $5 trillion in value by 2030.

This great promise has prompted companies to position their businesses to reap the benefits of the metaverse. Organizations like Disney, P&G, and LVMH recently appointed metaverse directors, while others, like Nike, Balenciaga, and Gucci, are hiring for metaverse-related jobs. But what is a metaverse manager and why should an organization hire one today?

Typically, a metaverse manager (CMTO) is responsible for developing and maintaining a company’s online presence in the metaverse. However, some industry leaders are debating the need for and definition of a metaverse director.

Scott Keeney (also known as DJ Skee), CMTO of TSX Entertainment, told VentureBeat that “a metaverse director would be a person with vast experience in the [metaverse] space with a deep knowledge of videogames and the Web3 ecosystem. Along with technical knowledge, the typical metaverse manager is also expected to be well-versed in the creative side of the market and capable of driving an organization’s metaverse efforts forward. This includes meeting and recruiting people with experience in development platforms like Unreal Engine, Unity and CryEngine… or Blender and Maya.”

Keeney further noted that the CMTO should have insight into the metaverse environment, as well as technical expertise in cryptocurrency, cloud computing, blockchain, and game engines.

Ultimately, the metaverse director manages the organization’s brand, image, mission and vision across various virtual platforms and accessories, he said.

Stable leadership and management needed

Given that the metaverse is still in its early stages, it’s not surprising that only a small portion of senior management fully understands the metaverse, as Apple CEO Tim Cook admits in an article, and how it might shape business decisions. things in the company in the next few years. However, Marty Resnik, vice president and analyst at Gartner, believes that “this is the best time to learn, explore, and prepare for a metaverse with limited implementation.”

Similarly, Vanessa Mullin, business development manager for metaverse and interactive media at Agora, told VentureBeat that “for a company that intends to experiment with the metaverse, employing a CMTO is inevitable.”

“When you think about C-suite roles, they are designed to have particular strategy and resources, as well as management principles that flow from the head of the arrow,” he added. “The way a company moves forward relies a lot on having a team of very effective leaders who lead their teams in the right direction. The way the metaverse is envisioned to go, it will require tremendous resources and responsibilities for innovative, yet stable leadership and management.”

For a company exploring how it will fit into the bigger picture and can take advantage of the endless opportunities within the metaverse, it’s up to the CMTO to work out the angles and find what works. Hiring a CMTO will help a company stay on top of emerging metaverse trends and focus on what aspects of these trends will help meet the specific needs of its business.

But do you need a CMTO right now?

But while Mullin believes it’s imperative to hire a metaverse team early on, he suggests a CMTO could come later. “For starters, I think a small ‘strike team’ from the metaverse will suffice. Someone to test, play with, and investigate what works best for your business. Once you find your balance and establish your ‘probable mass function,’ you can hire a metaverse officer to manage and execute your roadmaps,” he said.

On the other hand, if moving part of your business to the metaverse is a priority, you may have already designated your metaverse manager.

A CMTO’s job is to figure out which use cases for the metaverse are best for their company, Keeney said. “It may not make sense to build a bank in the metaverse on a platform like Roblox, Fortnite or Decentraland. The CMTO has to figure out new ways to interact or participate in or help transactions in the metaverse and build tools to get the business there.”

As Cathy Hackl, Journey’s founder and metaverse director, said: “This is how you can test assumptions in some of these virtual worlds or test how your brand might do certain things. You can do those things as prototypes and in private.”

The world is still a few years away from mass adoption of metaverse platforms. But if you’re building your own metaverse early, you need someone who can start moving the shards in the right direction now. P&G launched a digital platform called BeautySPHERE this year and turned a popular 1980s TV ad into a video game. Nike bought a virtual sneaker company and created a world inspired by its real-life headquarters. Starbucks is introducing coffee-themed NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, tied to its customer loyalty program.

Entering the metaverse early

Gartner predicts that “through 2024, direct opportunities for large-scale adoption in the metaverse will be limited,” adding that “the market is beginning to explore and experiment with applications and use cases with high long-term value.” The current state of the metaverse may be far from conventional; even with all the investment in the space, Gartner estimates that the metaverse will mature by 2030. But if your company is looking to be a player in the metaverse when it reaches full maturity, now is the time to build a metaverse team—and even name a CMTO.

Keeney claims that this first phase of the metaverse is important. “It reminds me a lot of the dot-com era: there was so much hype and people were confused. It can be very intimidating; everyone was getting into it, we all knew it was the future and it accelerated very quickly. Then it had to be built, after which it slowly took over our lives. And that’s what I think is going to happen with the metaverse, like we’re in that phase. We’ve gotten to that place where people are now asking questions about it and it’s infused,” he said.

By hiring a CMTO, your company invests in a long-term strategy that will take you into the metaverse ahead of your customers. An executive who oversees work related to the metaverse will interact with many departments: product, marketing, business development and partnerships, policy, legal, and more. A cross-company perspective requires someone with peripheral vision and the ability to unify a strategy. It will offer a glimpse into a future where the metaverse is neither a novelty nor a separate entity, but rather an established paradigm that touches all elements of your business.

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