Christa Conte, EVP and Head of Client Services for Hotwire Global, explains the vital role communicators have in expanding their knowledge about the Metaverse. Christa walks through the first steps brands and agencies can take if they want to discuss Metaverse opportunities with clients. Christa also shares her perspective on the future of the public relations industry.
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DOUG: We’re talking metaverse and metaverse 3.0. Krista, you had a chance to review our recent report on PR and the metaverse. What were some of your takeaways?
CHRISTA: So as someone who actually works with companies that play in the metaverse space, I know and I’ve seen that the metaverse is starting to take shape everywhere and through so many different conversations. So, what stuck out to me most from the report was that communicators are really the ones that are driving a lot of the conversations around the metaverse. And while it’s not a complete surprise that comms pros are part of these conversations, comms pros are taking action and beginning to create and build within the metaverse. That really stuck out to me because it represents the importance of communications in the role of business today, basically as assuring that businesses, brands are delivering the right messages at the right times and now in the right places. Agencies today are so much more than traditional comms. We’re event management, we’re social strategy, we’re research and insights, we’re data and measurement. So being able to offer those services wherever they afford us, whether it’s a traditional physical space or within the metaverse space, that’s really that holistic approach and having those touchpoints with our clients really opens us up to a new sort of planning process.
DOUG: Yeah, it’s really interesting that you say that because some of the findings of how communicators are engaging with the Metaverse 71% are building metaverse sites, 67% are doing B2B events, B2C events are popular and live video is being fed into it. If someone is there, say, a brand and nonprofit coming to you and they want to sort of experiment in the metaverse, what are some of the things you’re suggesting they do?
CHRISTA: So, I mean, we would be completely remiss if we weren’t talking about the metaverse in some way, shape, and form with our brands and with our clients. So, it does come down to understanding their message and what they’re trying to communicate. Are their audiences using and looking into the metaverse? Right now, you know, not everyone is on the platform. It’s still in its very nascent stage. So, it’s really thinking about what are the ways that we’re going to connect with those audiences, the easiest and the most naturally. And sometimes that is having, you know, different platforms to reach them on.
DOUG: Yeah, we’ve seen an increase in accessibility and engagement from the Metaverse events that we’ve been able to do and sort of the area we play in isn’t making the movie quality kind of environments or video game environments. Clearly there’s a huge purpose for that. But do you see it as an important advantage to be able to not necessarily require additional equipment as an opportunity to make it more accessible to more people? Both presenters at conferences, who don’t have to travel and commit the significant amount of time and the participants who can then not only hear the material, but actually engage with those around them.
CHRISTA: Absolutely. The amount of inclusivity that the metaverse now allows brands and businesses takes it to a whole new level. Being able to travel to a new place, interact with new people in your network, that’s something that within a metaverse environment is only possible. And I do believe that communicators are also trying to find a new level of being immersive, right? With their brand, with the way that they communicate with their messages. And so this kind of immersive learning is also another benefit of the metaverse because you’re able to really create a 360 environment where someone is focused on a topic and maybe they’re talking about space and you’re able to see it and experience it firsthand within sort of a metaverse platform.
DOUG: Yeah, obviously the communications industry is really taking a deep dive into the possibilities of the metaverse. What do you advise? We touched on this a little before as sort of first steps to play, to gain experience, to gain knowledge. Basically, if you’re an agency side, clearly, it’s becoming an imperative. But also, if you’re on the client side, trying to figure out how can benefit your organization.
CHRISTA: We are in a metaverse evolution, right? Whether we like it or not. Um, you know, in this kind of recalls the .com boom or which was quickly followed by the mobile boom and a lot of brands and industries took a very long time to try to figure it. Some maybe still are. I think during the pandemic, brands and marketing teams were forced to be more agile and really pivot to refocus their marketing and comm strategies. So I would say that having that agility, being able to plan quickly, to adapt quickly to a new metaverse, basically a new sort of platform like the metaverse is what’s needed on going and testing in it, experiencing it, really getting involved and hands on is the only way to really tackle it.
DOUG: Yeah. And you referenced the.com boom and think PR was a little late to the game on the.com boom. PR should have owned it but didn’t really do it. Definitely better with social media becoming more active and metaverse, it’s showing even more hope. You had a chance to take a look at the metaverse environment we’ve built that can host press conferences, trade shows and other events. What were some of your thoughts behind it?
CHRISTA: So as someone who works both across the event industry, going to events and working with clients who are attending events and really sponsoring or being at events, I believe that a platform like this allows for a true 360 experience, an immersive experience at an event. You have so many opportunities at events, whether it’s networking, sales, thought leadership, education, to really connect with core audiences, that having a platform that one, you can build around your brand and have different experiences that are so immersive and so complete really allows for that full gamut of activities that you would want to create for the individual and makes it all about your brand.
DOUG: Really appreciate that. And obviously you more than most, given your experience with working with companies at the top level of metaverse and all throughout the industry, what do you think the future holds for public relations, industry and the metaverse?
CHRISTA: PR professionals are definitely ahead of the game this time around as we kind of think through various stages and growth of technology and now with emerging technologies, PR pros don’t want to be left behind. So, we’re at a really great place to build with our clients, with brands, what that platform and what the future of communications can be like. It’s so important now than ever to get a message out that’s clear, it’s concise, it’s in the right time, in the right place, and it’s hitting the right audiences. So, building that message with a technology that allows for that extra level of immersiveness, allows for that experience to be part of the message, it’s a really critical time for communicators to do that with their clients.
DOUG: Yeah. And congratulations to you on being at the forefront of so much of that. Really appreciate you sharing your insights with us.
CHRISTA: Thank you. It’s very exciting. It’s why we sort of love tech in this industry and want to be part of it.