“Creativity is about connection, but these days it’s a different way to connect,” says Angie Gifford.
Makers, business messaging and virtual reality are redefining how businesses connect and interact with consumers, Meta’s Vice President EMEA told Euronews Next at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in 2022.
And what’s more, she says, brand leaders should pay more attention.
“For B2B and B2C, we’re seeing great technical improvements that can help you communicate,” she said.
“Companies are now on their toes to say, hey, if I miss that trend, I’m in trouble.”
Gifford, who has more than 30 years of experience working for technology companies including Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, said leaders have become aware of the importance of new communication technologies and channels since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her ideas about innovation and connection were shared during Cannes Lions’ Changemakers series, where she also discussed the journey to make the metaverse a reality – something she says will take shape in five to seven years.
So, how do virtual reality, creators, and text play a role in the metaverse, and what do marketing and communications leaders need to know?
Virtual and augmented reality
The metaverse, which is being built by companies such as Meta, Google, Amazon and Apple together with researchers and academics, is a virtual 3D world made up of content and digital avatars.
Online experiences in the metaverse will be much more interactive than current augmented (AR) or virtual reality (VR) technology allows, helping brands create a unique sensory experience and stronger connections with consumers.
“Instead of looking at the internet, you sit on it. This is the next immersive version of the internet and how we will be together. It’s the next big thing,” Gifford said.
There are already more than 700 million people on Meta’s platform using AR and VR for purposes such as education, interactive communication and entertainment.
For example, Meta is collaborating with the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin to create a digital art experience to better connect with a younger audience. Not only can users see a painting, but they can also go “in the picture” and view other works from that time in 3D using a VR headset.
German automaker BMW is also using VR to give potential customers an immersive experience of their latest model.
And this technology won’t just be used by brands; In the future, with greater accessibility and adoption, ordinary people will use AR and VR to connect with their loved ones online, as they do with video calls today.
Creators — musicians, artists, dancers, chefs, and other creatives who harness their passion to produce and publish content — can foster online communities and help brands share messages authentically and indirectly.
While these artists have been hugely successful on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, the metaverse will unleash more opportunities and Meta sees this as a critical part of their strategy.
“Creators are such an important community that we serve and serve. Meta is spending $1 billion this year on creators,” she said.
“Anyone can be a maker, it’s not just for big agencies and the big brands. The role of the maker has changed and has become more important.”
Business messaging and chatbots
AI-powered chatbots, WhatsApp text for customer service or Slack to communicate with your colleagues; these platforms are more common than answering the phone and companies need to incorporate these platforms into their strategies.
Younger generations, in particular, prefer text messages over voice calls.
“Seventy percent of the customers we ask say they would like to be branded with a chatbot. They feel much more connected than anything in the call center,” she said.
But despite these technological advances and the opportunities they create, Gifford says that nothing should replace human connection and that these platforms only exist to improve online connection.
“We don’t want to replace time in the metavers with physical interaction. We cannot replace the best hologram in the world,” she said.
“But the time we spend online, we want to bring out the quality and we also want to bring people together who can’t be together”.
- †To learn more about this story, check out an edited version of the full interview in the media player for commentary on how Meta is tackling privacy and online security in the metaverse.
- Go to the . to watch the whole video Cannes Lions website†
- _The Changemakers series in collaboration with Cannes Lions Live and Euronews Next is a one-on-one interview series featuring women leaders who are rethinking their roles and creating a better future for their industry.