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Episode #187: Adventures in the Metaverse

Grad Conn

March 31, 202213 min read

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We kick things off with energy — specifically energy companies, and how they’re using social media and other modern channels to gather information and manage communication during power-disrupting storms.

Then we grab our (virtual) VR headsets and make our first foray into the metaverse. We’ll cut through the hype and explore exactly what the metaverse means for brands. Is it a fad? Or the future of digital marketing?

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT


Grad
Got the old music back. Oh man, it's been a long time Randy since I've heard that music. That's awesome. I'm just gonna just do this for the whole show. Alright, let's get going, Grad Conn and I am welcoming you to the Copernican Shift. Today, we're gonna talk about two things. I did an interesting webinar for Sprinklr today. So I'm gonna chat about that for a sec. And then I'm going to spend a bit of time on the metaverse. So we've not talked about the metaverse very much. So we're gonna, we're gonna do that. So here we go.

Today, I did a webinar with AWS and Duke Energy, two great companies. And I had two amazing leaders from those companies join me on that webinar. Arun Sehgal, who is the APN global segment leader for power utilities at AWS was part of the discussion and Richie Goodman, who is the principal communications consultant for analytics and social listening at Duke Energy. And Richie, Arun, and I talked about the future of power utilities. And it was actually extremely interesting, I would say. And we had a fun time, actually went 10 minutes over, a ton of questions. We got into EVs, we got into power grids, we got into transformers, talked about how the power of Sprinklr and mass one on one to deal with customer issues. It was great. The thing was called Weathering a Storm, Responding to Your Customers Rapidly and Preventing Catastrophe with Actionable Intel. So we did I think a splendid job. Anyway, there were a couple things that came up as we were talking, and I thought I would hit those in order. One was like, I think it was, Richie kept using the analogy of eating an elephant... the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. And I just, I just can't use that analogy. I don't want to eat an elephant because I don't think they actually serve elephant anywhere. And there's probably a good reason why they don't. So I think every journey starts with a single step is probably the way I'll talk about incrementalism, but that was kind of fun. We did some pretty cool stuff with Lane Pittman. So we had some good Lane Pittman videos in there. If you don't know him, he's the Florida man who stands out in the middle of hurricanes and like, there's a pretty fancy one for hurricane Irma. His original one was just someone filming him on an iPhone and he was just in the street holding an American flag in the middle of a hurricane. Some great stuff there. I got into mass one on one. And if you're a regular listener to the Copernican Shift, you know all about mass one on one. And really the key of course, mass one on one is not just to listen, but it's to respond. I don't know why people struggle with that. You know, when I say conversational marketing, I don't know why people immediately go to social listening. That is only the first step. You have to talk to them. You get it, right? That's why you're listening. That's why I love you guys.

Alright, so let me... what was a second thing, Randy? What was the other thing I wanted to sort of hit from that show today.

Randy Choco
The expletive tracking?

Grad
Oh, yeah. So this really cool thing. I've never actually heard of this before, which, at this point is a little surprising, because I've seen a lot of stuff in this space. So one thing that we do in Sprinklr's is we'll track emojis. So you can actually see an emoji cluster cloud and you can see what kind of emojis people are using. And it's pretty cool. But Duke Energy, I gotta say, I got a feel for these people, because they are in... nobody ever calls up their power company, and says, Hey, I just wanted to let you know I I flicked the switch in the living room, and all the lights turned on. It was great. Thank you for making sure that I had power. They never get that call. What they get is ranging from what's going on, to people screaming at them with, you know, expletives. And particularly during storms, when power tends to go out for obvious reasons. Trees come down, things get uprooted. Like it's just it's impossible to maintain continuous power in a storm. But you know, so most people understand and they're out there trying to fix it... they're humans and they're doing their very best and they have families and they don't have power as well. So it's not like they're they're got some special power just for Duke Energy employees. Like nobody has power and they're all working to get it back. But apparently, some people get quite creative in the expletives, and they actually track the expletives. Never quite heard that before. Normally, people could try to eliminate them or try to, you know, scrub them or whatever, they actually track them. And they use them as a source of motivation and amusement through the crisis. So, all you people who like to swear at energy companies, which by the way, don't do that, okay, those are real people are working really hard. You know, human beings, you know, doing their very best to maintain this magical supply of unending power that we have in North America. My God, the miracle of it, and it's a very recent miracle, we really should be calling them up and saying, Hey, I turned the light switch on and the lights came on. I really should do that. I'm kind of nice. Maybe someone could do that, after listening to the show. Anyway, fellow people that swear power companies, rest assured that they are using it as a source of amusement, motivation, and they are tracking it and the fewer expletives they get, the better the job they know that they're doing. So there you go. Expletive tracking, we should just keep that sort of in our back pocket, Randy like, I don't think I've ever actually looked for. Usually we're eliminating expletives, so that we're not pulling them in. But maybe we should pull them in and get Marshall to do some dashboards for us on see which brands are most heavily sworn at. That would be kind of fun actually. That'd be a fun meeting. Hey, great news. You've just won a prize, a prize you never wanted. You're the most sworn at brand in America.

I want to talk for a second on metaverse. We've not spent a lot of time on it. And I talked about two weeks ago about the top concerns of CMOs. And if you look at it in Sprinklr, look at the data of what's being talked about, the metaverse and NFTs are the number one topic among CMOs. Very interesting. And if you look at the public literature from the analysts, and people like McKinsey, and HBR, and people like that, Metaverse is in the top 10 list, I think it's five or something like that. So metaverse is important, and how we're going to play in that space is going to be critical. And I think it goes to this overall issue of being where your customers are.

I ran across this really interesting article in Ad Age. If you're not an Ad Age subscriber, I would recommend that you you get a subscription to Ad Age. They have excellent articles, the content is all about marketing. And they're very focused on what's happening in the 21st century. And for the same price, you can get a digital only subscription or a digital and print subscription. So print is free. Because again, a lot of people don't actually want print at all. And I decided to go for it. It's been kind of fun kind of having an Ad Age in my hands. And they do some really great work. So just a little quick plug for Ad Age. I have no skin in the game on that, Ad Age isn't paying for that or anything. I'm just saying you subscribe to Ad Age.

So anyway, they have an article, and it's in their marketing news and strategy section, came out yesterday, March 2, and it says how American Eagle is bringing its clothes to the metaverse and the whole article is about how American Eagle clothes are appealing to Gen Z with this new Roblox partnership and some stuff with influencer philanthropy. And if you don't know what Roblox is it spelled R O B L O X, Roblox. And Roblox is a pretty hot metaverse site that got a lot of different sections in it. But it's basically a universe where people go to play. Target's a little younger. Very cool, very interesting space. Again, if you're not on Roblox or haven't used Roblox, get on it. I mean, I've been saying this for a long time, like literally my whole career, that if something new comes out, and you're a marketer, get on it, like get on it right away. You don't have the option as a marketer of saying, Well, I don't have time or I don't like to watch TV, or I don't like to read magazines. You don't have that option as a marketer. Go into your doctor and say, hey, what kind of continuing medical education courses do you take and the doctor saying, I don't like to do CME, or I don't like to read journals. What? You would never expect your doctor not to stay up to date and you would never... what lawyer says I don't like to read about cases? What scientist doesn't read scientific articles all the time? What is it with marketers? Please, would you please start consuming the content that your viewers are using? The next marketer that says to me, I don't believe in watching TV, I'm just gonna stop talking to them.

Anyway, so the article basically talks all about this partnership. And there's a new spring campaign for American Eagle called Members Always, and it allows consumers to hang out in this AE Members Always club that is hosted on Roblox. And it's kind of a play on the typical members only rule at a club. And CMO, Craig Brommers. at American Eagle says you're always welcome to the American Eagle family. So it's the ideas of very inclusive club that everyone's welcome to. And you can create avatars and you can, in livetopia, collect game items and dress your avatars in the spring collection. They go on to talk about other clothing brands, so, Under Armour has launched something, Forever 21 and Ralph Lauren are also releasing virtual clothing lines on Roblox, and a number of brands are now filing Metaverse trademarks. Very interesting, right? So we've got to get ahead of this.

So they're filing Metaverse trademarks. And some of them are to, I guess, sell stuff in the metaverse, but many to just protect it because you could potentially lose control of your brand if you don't file a trademark. Apparently more than three quarters, more than 75% of marketers, intend to invest in the metaverse this year, and specifically want to do branded integrations with Roblox. That's according to a Forrester survey. So space is getting hot people and, you know what, we're gonna go in, and we're gonna make some mistakes. Okay, so form some hypotheses, you'll be a marketing scientist, you've heard me talk about this before, form some hypotheses and go in there and start disproving your hypotheses, okay. And it's going to be a while before we got this skin tight and ready to fight. But you've got to start at some point, you can't wait until until it's all figured out. Because by then it'll be too late. And you won't have made the progress you'll make the progress you want.

Now, one thing I'll just say, and I think I talked about this recently, but there is a really interesting story about how McDonald's really stumbled on an NFT. And, and they stumbled on the security aspect of it... didn't realize that by making the NFT open, other people could write to it. And they also didn't realize they couldn't cancel it or get rid of it. And now that NFT will exist sort of permanently, forever. And before they closed it, someone managed to get in there and insert some racist language. And so that one's ugly. That one is ugly. And what I would say is that you're gonna do some experiments, you're gonna throw some spaghetti against the walls, but could you please make sure that you're being smart on security? Okay, make sure you're being smart on security. And don't just go wildly in there guns blazing, marketers only. Get some developers, get some engineers. Make sure you got some open source people, make sure you people who know what blockchain is. Get in there with some expertise. And don't make unforgiveable errors like that. Because the problem now at McDonald's and, again, one of the world's great companies, and I love McDonald's. But the problem I can imagine internally at McDonald's is it's been so traumatizing what happened to them. And I'm not gonna get into high detail, but if you want to find out you can search on it. So traumatizing what happened to them that I'm sure nobody wants to go within a million miles in the metaverse or NFTs at McDonald's now, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. But I mean, everyone's gonna be afraid for their career. No one wants to make that mistake again. Or someone's gonna say, Hey, we should do something with NFTs and they'll get shouted down by the the terrified crowds that predominates. So you've got to make sure that if you're going to experiment, experiment. You're going to make mistakes, you're gonna make mistakes, you're gonna fail, it's not going to work. It's not gonna work. That's gonna happen. But don't do it in such a way that you can't go back and try again. So watch your backs on security.

All right, for the Copernican Shift, I'm Grad Conn. That was fun. A little bit of a rant today. I don't know what's going on here. Anyway. I'll see you next time.

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