How To Build Your Brand Engagement and Equity in the Metaverse

Mar 24, 2022 1:30 pm2:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Metaverse will quickly become mainstream. How can you use it to create brand equity, value, and revenue?

Metaverse holds a remarkable opportunity to engage consumers in unique ways, and you can use it to make valuable immersive connections with those consumers in that space. There are endless opportunities for brands to take their visual, physical, and digital assets and combine them in a way that creates a completely new experience. Ultimately, these capabilities will build value and drive revenue. Now is the time to get started and take advantage of this exciting new frontier because it’s here to stay.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with the team from Liquid Avatar Technologies, including David Lucatch, the Co-founder, CEO, President, and Chair, Michael Konikoff, the Chief Revenue Officer, and RJ Reiser, the Chief Business Development Officer. They discuss how brands can build engagement and equity in the metaverse space. They explain the meaning of metaverse, how some brands are already using it, the steps brands need to take to be in the metaverse space, and the massive opportunities ahead. You don’t want to miss this exciting episode!

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • What does metaverse mean?
  • What is mixed and extended reality?
  • Steps brands need to make to take advantage of the metaverse space
  • How fast are brands adapting to the metaverse and using it to create brand equity, value, and revenue?
  • What kind of power does a web 3.0 or metaverse user have?
  • Where does the metaverse fall internally in a brand, and what does it lift?
  • The importance of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) in the business world
  • How should people view the metaverse from a brand point of view?
  • The most exciting things in the metaverse space
  • The customer journey in the metaverse space
  • What are the barriers to joining the metaverse space?
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Event Partners

Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Michael D. Konikoff

Chief Revenue Officer at Liquid Avatar Technologies

Michael Konikoff is the Chief Revenue Officer at Liquid Avatar Technologies. He is also a Member of the Industry Advisory Committee at both Pegasus Fintech, Inc. and Crowdgener Inc. Before these roles, Michael spent almost 30 years in the customer loyalty and engagement realm. He served as the Head of Marketing at the Toronto Parking Authority and the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Engage People Inc.

David Lucatch

Co-Founder, President, Director & Chair of Liquid Avatar Technologies

David Lucatch is the Co-founder, President, CEO, and Chair of Liquid Avatar Technologies, a company that focuses on the verification, management, and monetization of digital identity (DI). David has spent more than 35 years inventing technology and business solutions in the international marketing arena, with over two decades developing internet and mobile-based platforms and taking them to market. He is also the President of Imagination 7 Ventures and the Founder and Chair of Pegasus Fintech, Inc., which supports innovative solutions in the financial services, technology, blockchain, and cryptocurrency communities.

RJ Reiser

Chief Business Development Officer at Liquid Avatar

RJ Reiser is the Chief Business Development Officer at Liquid Avatar Technologies. RJ executes strategies maximizing sales growth, profit, and product penetration. He is an influential and persuasive leader with over 15 years of experience directing global sales initiatives and negotiating contracts with C-suite executives worldwide. RJ is a creative thinker and dynamic executive who brings new ideas to expand businesses and drive results. RJ is a self-starter and motivator who leads global teams to work together to achieve technical and financial breakthroughs while building innovative technological advances.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Michael D. Konikoff

Chief Revenue Officer at Liquid Avatar Technologies

Michael Konikoff is the Chief Revenue Officer at Liquid Avatar Technologies. He is also a Member of the Industry Advisory Committee at both Pegasus Fintech, Inc. and Crowdgener Inc. Before these roles, Michael spent almost 30 years in the customer loyalty and engagement realm. He served as the Head of Marketing at the Toronto Parking Authority and the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Engage People Inc.

David Lucatch

Co-Founder, President, Director & Chair of Liquid Avatar Technologies

David Lucatch is the Co-founder, President, CEO, and Chair of Liquid Avatar Technologies, a company that focuses on the verification, management, and monetization of digital identity (DI). David has spent more than 35 years inventing technology and business solutions in the international marketing arena, with over two decades developing internet and mobile-based platforms and taking them to market. He is also the President of Imagination 7 Ventures and the Founder and Chair of Pegasus Fintech, Inc., which supports innovative solutions in the financial services, technology, blockchain, and cryptocurrency communities.

RJ Reiser

Chief Business Development Officer at Liquid Avatar

RJ Reiser is the Chief Business Development Officer at Liquid Avatar Technologies. RJ executes strategies maximizing sales growth, profit, and product penetration. He is an influential and persuasive leader with over 15 years of experience directing global sales initiatives and negotiating contracts with C-suite executives worldwide. RJ is a creative thinker and dynamic executive who brings new ideas to expand businesses and drive results. RJ is a self-starter and motivator who leads global teams to work together to achieve technical and financial breakthroughs while building innovative technological advances.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant  0:18

Happy Thursday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant, I'm the Co-founder and managing director at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge-sharing group of thousands of brands who do exactly that. We networking knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping digital growth today. I spend a lot of my time talking with 30 to 40 brands a week around digital strategy, new things that are developing but also helping connect them with pay the best set of service providers around. If anybody ever wants to have a chat, we'd love to do it. That's actually where we get the topics for the all the events that we do. We're also kicking off a podcast in two weeks here, we're going to feature a lot of people we bring on here, but just in a more intimate setting, one on one deep dives. The other thing is a couple housekeeping items. As we're getting started at three to four minutes after the hour, just know we're going to wrap up with about three to four minutes to go in the hour as well. We'll give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing is we want this to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time you have any questions, drop them into the q&a, drop them into the chat or you can always email them to me aaron@bwgconnect.com, that includes tomorrow, next week, an hour after call whatever it is, I'm always open for a great conversation on anything digital. Also, hey, hit me up. If you're headed out to shop talk, we're going to be out there for three days next week doing three different dinners out there. So hit me up. We'd love to connect with anybody in person. With that I want to kick it off, huge, like interest. And I think there's a huge focus and building things out right now. I think that's going to change rapidly. But people are trying to understand the metaverse as a whole, right. What is it composed of? How many of them where they are be? What should I be thinking about? How should I be communicating internally? That's a big one as well. And so we got some great friends, partners of the network over at Liquid Avatar. We're connected with them via a bunch of different industry leaders. And now that has come up enough the metaverse, we thought we'd invite them on for this today entitled, how to build your brand engagement and equity in the metaverse. So I'm going to kick it over to you, David. If you want to do a brief intro, yourself Liquid Avatar, that would be awesome. And then we can kind of kick it around the horn to Michael and RJ, sound good?

David Lucatch  2:32

Sounds great. Thanks, Aaron. Great to be here. So my name is David Lucatch and I'm the CEO and Co-founder of Liquid Avatar Technologies. We're a global FinTech and blockchain company that really focuses on digital identity avatars, in conjunction with NFT's and the metaverse or mixed reality. And what we're really focused on is helping organizations make that leap from traditional offline experiences to the online experiences. And I'll introduce Michael Konikoff, our CRO, as well. Michael, maybe you want to say a word or two.

Michael Konikoff  3:12

Hey, everyone. Nice to meet you. I'm really excited about this discussion, because everything that's happening around the metaverse is just so exciting from a brand perspective, from a user perspective. Just a little bit of my background, I've been in and around the loyalty space for close to 30 years. So have a very fundamental knowledge and expertise around consumer engagement and employee engagement, the whole spectrum around that. Nice to be part of this.

David Lucatch  3:45

And RJ Reiser. RJ?

RJ Reiser  3:49

Hello, everyone. My name is RJ Reiser. I run our tech stack. So my whole career has been focused on technologies that can provide a paradigm shift. And this web three and the technology stack that we're providing is a technology and do that. So looking forward to the conversation.

Aaron Conant  4:06

Yeah, awesome. So just to kind of jump in just a reminder, you have any questions, drop them in the chat the q&a or email them to me, aaron@bwgconnect.com. So I want to kick this off with a question that comes up quite a bit, which is that base level? Like, what is the metaverse? How do you view the metaverse? Are there multiple metaversus? Do you want to just level set for people? Because they're going to be asked this internally. I guarantee that they haven't been asked already by the executive teams. There'll be asked like, how should people explain it? If they're taking some quick notes? How should they explain what the metaverse is?

David Lucatch  4:42

Well, the metaverse it seems to be different for everyone today. There's lots of different explanations. And I've heard the term Metaverse, I've heard corporations are using mixed reality. They're using extended reality, and they are mixing all the terms together. And I think at the end of the day, the metaverse is an immersive experience. This is all about immersive experiences that combine the opportunity for you to participate generally through a proxy like an avatar for you to participate interactively in a virtual environment. It combines all the activities really fun web 1.0 2.0 and 3.0. And I'll turn that over to RJ in a second. But really what you need to think about is that there are going to be many meta versus. There's not going to be one. We don't think of travel destinations as a single point. We think of travel destinations as many, so there will be educational, metaverses, there will be shopping metaverses, there will be kind of a liveable metaverses, there will be ones that are set in the future, one set in the past, one set in the present. Think of it as a completely immersible playable digital gamer experience. And for those that have kids at home, think of fortnight, think of Minecraft, think of Roblox, those are all examples of decentraland the sandbox and our aftermath Island. Think of that as an early stage opportunity to think about the metaverse that immersive experience that brands will need to be into to connect both the online and offline world together. I think that's the best way that I can explain. RJ maybe you want to talk about the progression for a second from web 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0.

RJ Reiser  6:25

Yeah, so in the very first start of it was large organizations or institutions sharing data electronically. And that was web 1.0, DOS prompts. And web two became we started to get apps, you started to get a email, you started to get services, for those folks that maybe weren't as technical and couldn't run a DOS prompt. And we had companies like AOL, and in Google, now we're going to web three, the differences who has the control and the power. So instead of having single central authorities that monetize your activity in your data, with the advent of distributed ledger, or blockchain, you can now change that power to the user. So now the users have the control. And it's a matter of how do they use that control and what tools are going to be developed to help the users manage their data, because they still want to share it, they still want a positive immersive experience based on who the individual is or who they want to be based on their avatar. But they want to control it. They don't want other people control it and monetize it. And so it's these types of tools that are being developed in conjunction with the metaverse and that are our open source type stacks that everyone can play. And you get massive adoption that we're focused on.

Aaron Conant  7:56

So common questions come in about extended reality is this the bridge between where we go fully immersed? And is it this blend of like, augmented reality is that when you think about mixed reality, that's the question that comes in. Can you explain that a little bit more? And the other was just comments around like, I really like how you explained like, internally, you can explain a the metaverse think about the travel destination. Right? It's all encompassing, but it's not there travel destinations, everyone is unique. So it is a metaverse. But there's all these individual pieces that make it up and think about you can travel to any one of those at any point in time. And then anyways, I also want to get into a little bit about identity in carrying over to different ones, because I think that's key as well.

David Lucatch  8:41

Well, again, when we start thinking about mixed reality and extended reality, there are technical definitions. But I think when you start talking about mixed reality, we're thinking about augmented reality, virtual reality, and sort of a mix in between. Because I mean, we've read all kinds of studies that said 5g is really going to get us there, but 6g, we're really going to have the full experience because they're already talking about where 6g goes, but really at the end of the day, a good example would be and we've seen apps do this. Can I look at something in an online environment? Can I capture that, say a piece of art? Can I then use AR to now put augmented reality? Put that art on my wall? See how it fits in my room or chair? So can I take that experience from an in-depth, immersive experience and take it to an offline experience? So we start talking about mixed reality. Can we talk about wearables? Can we engage based on a wearable I might put on and can that such as a goggles or virtual bosses, force feedback hand controllers and do stuff like that. Then we need to think about what is that connection between the online individual my proxy, my avatar and how do I connect that back to a real user? Because obviously what I think is very important with the metaverse is that we have or web 3.0 is we have a unique opportunity to reset and I know we're going to bring up identity, but to reset our activities, so that we're only dealing with good actors. And, kind of punting this over to Michael, Michael, when we're dealing with good actors, we have an opportunity to increase engagement and loyalty, correct?

Michael Konikoff  10:30

Absolutely. And engage them in almost a convergence manner, right? Because we can bring them into the metaverse, we can walk them through, take them through activations and experiences where they can earn and benefit, not only in the metaverse, but we can extend it to come back into the online world and that would apply even to things like eCommerce, right? Imagine having your body measurements, scanned in such a way that your avatar can walk into a store, you can go and try on merchandise, you can see how it fits, you can buy the merchandise for your avatar, but you can also go complete a transaction and have that outfit for yourself to wear in the real world. So there's some cool stuff. It's very exciting.

Aaron Conant  11:23

A question that comes in around from the sort of the brand standpoint, where do you see brands getting started? That's where people want to know, they see all this buzz that's around it. But for brands that are out there, what is step one? What does that look like? Is it an NFT? Like we can get into those a little bit. But what's step one for brands as they start to walk down this path?

David Lucatch  11:48

Well, Aaron, I think you use the really good word in there. We think of it as crawl, walk run. Right? So at the beginning, we've got to make a decision. So for some brands, it'll be sponsorship, and we've seen a lot of different sponsorship opportunities that are there showing up and that could be something as simple as signage or some type of symbol activation in the metaverse or in inside the game platform and we've seen this quite often with epic with fortnight. We've seen a lot of sponsorship, sponsored events. And so we're seeing it now in decentraland with fashion this week by tokens.com in the metaverse group which are great companies doing that. And we're doing it ourselves in some of our own activities and aftermath islands. So we think the first thing is, you've got to crawl you've got to make a decision that you want to take a stance and you've also got to think about it that it won't be single metaverse. It will be multiple metaverse. So what is going to be your brand situation, then I think the next step is be prepared to give something away. That is I think the most important thing here, be prepared to do something that creates a reward so people know your brand is engaged. I think we've all seen this. And Aaron before in the in the chit chat, we talked about free shipping. Some companies can charge a little more for a product if they give away free shipping. So what are you going to give away that's free. It could be a t-shirt, it could be a wearable, it could be an emblem, it could be a flag that someone carries, a backpack. What can you do and that's usually through an NFT that has some kind of conversion in the metaverse a non-fungible token. We've recently given away submarines that you can move from island to island, we've given away hover bikes, we're planning all kinds of promotions, because what we see is people want stuff for free. They always do and NFT's and Metaverse based products have a marginal cost of production of zero. So it's not going to affect your bottom line by getting in there, doing an activation and giving something away for free because much to what Michael talked about. Once you start those activations, you can create engagement through both the online process and the offline process.

Aaron Conant  11:55

Right. It's super interesting.

RJ Reiser  14:09

I'll add a little bit. So first of all, you're attending the call, or you're listening to the call, that's step one. So you can learn to delegate, right? You know where it goes. But if I boil it all down is there is a new channel to interact with your potential customers or your existing? And this is that new channel. So let's develop the different ways that you can brand yourself on this new channel. And things are gonna keep evolving, and you're paying attention, and you're here. And as it evolves, you can take advantage of it.

Michael Konikoff  14:43

There's also the advantage of, you're coming into the metaverse for most of the users are new. So that first touchpoint that the user is going to get is going to be everlasting one, people are going to remember it. So that's like a fundamental tool to loyalty and marketing because at the end of the day, whatever the reward is, the users, the consumers going to wear it as a badge of honor, that becomes an extension of your brand. That's where you get the inertia from social media and what have you. And so RJ's point is, this is just the most unique and exciting new social meeting place, not only for brands, but for education, for entertainment, very fascinating.

Aaron Conant  15:34

I think part of that giveaway free piece as well as it's so new to people as a whole. And I think for a lot of people, you think about your consumer, they're getting in there in grasping, I want to spend money on something that's digital, completely digital. It is sometimes it's breaking down that barrier as a whole is, hey, if I have something in this space, is it going to be valuable or not? So I love the idea of yes, giving something away, that kind of start to break that down, like, hey, you got this for free. Look at it at some point in time. I mean, you see all these NFT's that drop and you buy it. And the hope is three years from now, it's worth five times as much. But it's super interesting, but what is step one look like? Does it look like a digital storefront? And you kind of said like, hey, it's a sponsorship. So I guess maybe that's step two, a brand says, "Hey, I actually want to be able to offer something offer merchandise." And Michael, you had me thinking about this, you walk into a Ralph Loren store or you walk into a Saks Fifth Avenue or you walk in, and it's all virtual, you're buying something for your avatar, then something can show up in your mailbox as well. Like, it's like step two, like a storefront, like, as people are mapping this out. And the other thing I want to make sure that we get to is I love the fact that you said sandbox, because this is a cool place to play in the sandbox or cool play in. But it's also almost r&d budget, right? We're learning and there may be an amount of money spent. That's not necessarily there's an immediate ROI, like any r&d, but you need to be doing it for the future of the company. So do people get to the storefront model? Like how quickly is that in the curve in the metaverse because I think really rapidly people are going to say, "Okay, I see you're spending money there, are you making money there?"

Michael Konikoff  17:32

I'll just tell you about one very famous brand Gucci, I think it's on Roblox they have something called the Gucci garden experience. They've generated over three and a half million dollars. So it's definitely a place where you can make money and Roblox and young kids, right and yet here they are buying all of the Gucci accessories to throw on to their avatars in Roblox. That's three and a half million dollars. We're finding they're spending on an average $85. So there is an absolute path to revenue and the ROI through the metaverse is a lot better than it is when you're doing things through offline channels. And the coolest thing about the metaverse is, this is really the first time where if you can dream it, you can do it, right because it's unchartered and it's just so doable. So think about a pizza retailer wants to connect to a whole network of people that might not otherwise be connected to their brand. They could create an experience. And this could be an entry point for any brand is I want to set up a virtual pop up pizza place. And people could come in with their avatars, and they can go through an experience with a pizza maker where the pizza maker will teach you how to make a pizza. Okay, then they can transact them buy the pizza and have it delivered to their house 30 minutes later. So there's a beautiful circle to the experience. It generates on like through the metaverse like incredible engagement and experience because you know, I go through that, I'm calling RJ and I'm calling David, I'm calling everybody else like you got to do this. That's the value of this. So whatever you can kind of dream up, you can do because the costs are so low. And David alluded to it and he can probably expand on the ROI on this is phenomenal. And what Gucci is getting off of their involvement is huge, because what's happening it's so new. Every medium is picking it up and writing their story. So the early days of this for brand it's like just unbelievable.

David Lucatch  19:50

And Aaron and I think Michael is 100% Correct. It's the ability to create an action create an event and then create some type of message and the message could be a delivery. But I think what's also important and I'll come back to your storefront, because I think Michael just explained that, you've got to get your brand out there, you've got to create a deliverable experience, and that could be through a storefront. It could be through an event, it could be through a sponsorship. You've got to test different things. We don't know what is exactly right for a brand and this emerging audience. The other thing to think about, and some people out there might be saying, "Okay, well, Metaverse, cryptocurrency, we don't deal with cryptocurrency." So when we started developing our Metaverse based products, we took that position, we said, the crypto community, while expanding rapidly is very small. It's a very small community. So we develop technologies that allow us to sell digital products directly using our technologies, with both crypto and Fiat, in fact, using PayPal. I think what's really important is, organizations like ours, and others, of course, are expanding the marketplace, to more traditional forms of payment. And what we've seen is we predicted originally that the spend in our particular test metaverse would be somewhere around $100, we're seeing average sales reaching this quarter at over $300 on a product that has, again, a marginal cost of almost zero. So there is really great opportunity here for brands to step in. And you're right, it might be r&d budget, but there is opportunity to take that r&d budget, do something really cool. And find out each can generate a significant amount of brand equity, value and revenue.

Aaron Conant  21:46

I'm just sitting back and just thinking from the standpoint of new, but you're talking about, hey, you can do anything, right? In the past, we've been limited on what Facebook has allowed us to do internally on the platform or Amazon even on the paid media side are reaching, and what new products are going to launch on DSP, are they going to let me drive traffic to my own consumer site, you're limiting Google what your interaction is, doesn't matter what platform. But in this case, it's you're talking about Web 3.0. It's this kind of like clicking that, with RJ you are putting in the hands of people, you can be as creative as you want. You don't have to wait for all these other platforms, unnecessary catch up, you get to be in control and create it and do whatever you want. I think it's exciting. Like, this is one of my favorite calls this week, it's awesome. As everything starts to click, you literally aren't held back. And that's completely different than anything before this on all the platforms we tried to use.

RJ Reiser  22:48

We believe the users are going to have the power, right? So with web three, I can protect my identity just like you protect cryptocurrencies. Using cryptography, you can secure it. And if you have the ecosystem that everyone agrees like, everyone's confident in a state issued or province issued driver's license. Well, if you can create the same type of argument online with verifiable credentials, then I can prove who I am with not necessarily sharing all of my verifiable credentials are all my PII. So for example, if it's an age restricted type of event, I can prove that I'm above where it needs to be, let's say it's 18. without actually giving them my name, and or my birthday, I can just give it credit, get proof. And then they trust the verifiable credential, which is all web 3.0, technology stack to say, yes, this person is of age to participate. And so as a result, how do you market to these individuals, they will actually create a credential that they will pick and choose who they want to be marketed to. So now you have a higher quality lead, that says if someone says I want to be have this type of marketing being a credential that would be issued that everyone can leverage them to market to them. So it's going to be a brand new channel that brands can leverage.

David Lucatch  24:15

And I'm going to add to that, Aaron, it's going to change. RJ is giving a very simple example. But right now we're used to email, other social media services, texting, there are going to be new channels of communication based on me only my identity. And we sort of say anonymity with assurance. So I don't have to give up that information, as RJ said, and I can dictate what I want, which allows the avatar and the digital identity to be connected, and it's one digital identity for an entire group of Metaverse, so I don't have to go back and re-up and re-sign in and redo every time I get to a new metaverse. I can use one identity channel to get to everyone

Aaron Conant  25:01

So is that kind of the linchpin that identity piece that is going to really open everything up is when there's, you don't have to log out, log back in, and everything that you've gotten in any Metaverse, you can transport to the other. This seems like a key piece of it.

David Lucatch  25:25

We call that interoperability. But it is a key piece. I mean, it's something that is quickly coming to the version because again, as we sort of talked about earlier, we can give some assurance that people are good actors, right? So there isn't this massive breakage or spillage in marketing spend.

RJ Reiser  25:46

How many of us have email addresses we use, just to get data from a company to decide we want to buy from the company, if we want to partner or connect with that company? I have a couple email addresses that I don't even check, but I use in order to get access. And it's like a marriage right when I first met my wife, I didn't give her my bank account number or anything else. But as the relationship develops, I gave her all kinds of PII, right. So it's the same thing here with verifiable credentials, I can use a verifiable credential to prove that I am an individual. And I'm of a certain age, I get into the event, for example. And that's the start of the relationship. And you can create a track to communicate market to them to a verified individual. And then as that relationship develops, maybe I will give all my information to them. But I want that opportunity to decide on step one, I'm willing to do this much. And as we develop more and more interactions, and to give them more and more data.

David Lucatch  26:50

And that's also the remaining compliance. I mean, there are regulations around the world that actually dictate this, whether it's the GDPR In the EU, the California Consumer Protection Act, which is invoked by several states. But however, if you do work in California, your company has to comply with it. And at the end day we're seeing in Canada, the pan Canadian trust framework. So, COPPA, we're seeing age verification processes in the UK. So it is really all about how do you manage not only the metaverse, but how do you manage this new army of consumers who are now armed with their own data, not data that they're freely giving up to you without getting something in return? So by starting with that, going back to your earlier comment, where do you start by starting by getting your toes of the waters and crawling and doing something just being there, whether it's sponsorship, an experiential event, like Michael talked about, you can start to create relationships with larger bands of consumers.

Michael Konikoff  27:55

You can do limited edition or just a short term execution, just some measure the success gauge it take, take the information back noodle around, figure out what can we what can we do wrong? Look, we can do better. That's the beauty of what this enables for marketers today is that it's a very inexpensive testing ground to go in and test out ideas, you can test it in a very confined space. And then you can expand from there.

Aaron Conant  28:25

And are you helping make those connections? Because if we're talking about marketing, from a marketing standpoint, everything has taken place in digital marketing over the past year and a half, two years from pay all of a sudden everybody go into shop online to is 14.5 updates. Cookies are going away? No, they're not. Yes, they are. Maybe they're not. You are going nuts. Not to mention, everybody now is advertising online cost acquisition goes up. Like where does this fall internally? Is it the marketing group? And then, what are the resources that are needed? That's are the questions that pop up all the time. It's like, hey, this sounds great. I'm already working 60 hours a week, right? So, where does it fall internally? What is the lift? What is the staffing look like? And then is this something where you guys step in and help out?

David Lucatch  29:23

So that's a great question, Aaron, what we're saying, I was on the phone earlier this week with a fortune 100 organization. And some of the internal staff has said we need a director of the metaverse, right. We need somebody to leave. But if you think back to web 1.0, it's sort of like, top brass was sort of saying, "Okay, who understands us it was usually a very young crowd." By the time we got to web 2.0 with a lot more services, there was this development.I think this is now a situation do we go to our advertising agency because they might know, do we call a web development agency because they might know. We really have focused on the expertise of connecting the three dots we believe. The dots are digital identity, avatars, NFT's in the metaverse and what we're finding from organizations, it is a combination of groups. Sometimes there's a committee, there's a group that have volunteered to start looking at what we should do in the metaverse and that generally starts with the marketing and or sales part of the company. It really is because everybody wants ROI from this new. They see what's new and exciting area, they see what's happening in fortnight, they see these big acquisitions, they see these big numbers. Michael Cohen with Gucci did in Roblox and there's plenty of other examples of this. So really, it's not about working more hours, it's about working with trusted organizations, and we hope like ourselves, that understand that a lot of the adults and their kids are already doing this. So, are already spending money online. It's very funny, because everybody thinks that Gen Z will be the actual consumer of this product. And as soon as you add Fiat to the bucket, it will be a lot more. So I think it really is, who in the organization has got their hand up saying, well, I'll do some investigation. And what should we try, and I think people and organizations from the C suite downward are saying, "We've got to do something, let's get started and get our toes in the water." So I think we're naturally seeing people within organizations raising their hand and investigating.

Michael Konikoff  31:37

And I wouldn't be surprised if they're not even building cross functional teams. Because if you think about it, part of the responsibility of any marketing group is innovation, where can we take it to the next stage, you probably assign certain people to bring new concepts, new ideas to the table, and then you bring cross functional team together, and you put all the analytics together make the decision, whether it's a green light or not. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised from everything that I'm seeing that. That's not already happening.

Aaron Conant  32:15

Yeah, I would agree. I also think, it's almost like there needs to be an internal champion as well. Right? The person that, hey, you're tasked with this, and identifying that person who's willing to go out there, and stick the next two, three years the career on it is? I think it's a great bet. Right? I mean, all the indications that I have, are that this is going to continue to move the direction out, is it going to six months from now everybody's going to be wearing VR headset. I don't think it's there, I think it's gonna be like, you're talking about mixed reality where we slowly get more accustomed to, hey, I'm shopping, I need to see if that washing machine fits in here, or the toaster fits on the counter. And all of a sudden, I get more immersed in these different ways. And then, oh, by the way, I slowly get myself where I'm more and more, I don't know, like, fully accustomed to it. I mean, if you look at some of the, I know, we talk about Roblox, fortnight, whatever it is, but if you look at a lot of like the 3d AR imagery that you can drop now a sofa in your living room, and it looks real, the technology that's out there, when your brain literally breaks because it can't tell the difference between reality and augmented reality. Like, that's not too far away. I mean, we did a call with a company that helps Crate and Barrel. And like 80 plus percent of the images and the crane barrel website of the couches that are out there are all CGI. Yeah, and you can spin them, it looks real. It's unbelievable.

David Lucatch  34:01

And we're seeing that Aaron, where we're currently in development of several spaces, that require no virtual gear at all, and can be used on a mobile phone, or on a desktop. And you can literally walk through them. I mean, when you think I use the example of art, but you could think of furniture or anything else as you tissues. But why would you ever buy a piece of art from a webpage just doesn't make sense. You don't know where the look and feel is. And so we're creating gallery settings, we're starting to talk about and that's where my origination comes from in the internet in the 90s was building shopping platforms, like shopping malls, and so we're going back but now it's a virtual shopping mall. And while games like Minecraft, and Roblox and fortnight and these games are great, and they're fun, and they're exciting, they don't represent the realistic view of who we are. So we're actually in a lot of our products, we're developing avatars that look and talk like ourselves, like this is the key where we want to have a fantasy view of this. But we also want to have a realistic view. I don't necessarily want to go into a workplace settings looking like a voxalot avatar, I would rather look maybe more so like myself, or at least like RJ, but at the end of the day, so that's what we're saying. And Michael, or RJ, if you got any thoughts on that as well.

Michael Konikoff  35:36

I mean, look at people who have their own the end of the day, I think people have an image of what they want themselves to look like. I certainly know, if I had my preference. I'd look like Brad Pitt. I can't do it in real life. But I can go and create an avatar and have all my personality and look like Brad Pitt. I think it's human nature to be something that you're not. So to what David's point is, I think that that's definitely a trait that that we're going to see.

Aaron Conant  36:10

I want to jump in too because we were talking a little bit beforehand about different platforms that are out there, right. If we'd done an event yesterday was popping up that there's a breakdown when people view Amazon as a retailer. And when you view him as a retailer, you treat him like a retailer, when they're not really, they're a platform that you can sell stuff through. And then I think about, well they have a Metaverse and Facebook has a Metaverse and Google has a metaverse and the San Diego Zoo has a metaverse. Like what stitching it all together? And is the metaverse, we think of collectively as a whole its own platform, or is Amazon's Metaverse can be part of its platform, which is kind of where I'm leaning right now. How should people view the metaverse from a brand point of view? Right? Because it seems like there'll be a part that's tied into Facebook, a part of this tied into Amazon, Alibaba, Google, whoever it is.

David Lucatch  37:06

But we're only thinking about shopping experiences, right? What about educational experiences? What about informational experiences? We've just recently announced a program and now we're working with several colleges to start creating mixed reality opportunities for colleges, because 10 or 12 years ago, no one would have ever imagined working or even taking courses online. But it's now down to a point where universities have to be assured. So let's talk about that idea of assurance of verification. Universities have to be assured that when you make application to that university, if you're taken courses online, that you have been verified. So those academic credits belong to you. So think about 3d modeling, in a classroom in a virtual classroom. I mean, I can see the solar system completely activated in a classroom setting that's virtual. So it's not just about retailers. But when we think about it, it should be an extension of your brand. It should be extended and at the end of the day, when we think about Amazon, their Metaverse, or their Metaverse, activities may be an extension of their brand experience. So we encourage our clients to think of it as an extension of the brand experience. But again won't be one single event. It might be that this type of experience belongs best in this type of metaverse. And another type of experience belongs better in a different type of metaverse. And there will be eventually some consolidation. But it's simply the web, everybody has an opportunity to start something out and try it and those that will succeed will own the territory or own the platforms.

Aaron Conant  38:59

No, I love it because I think a lot of us were brands that align, my previous time that a brand I'm always thinking, sales and marketing. But then, I'm also thinking, you're talking about education, the partnership capabilities, the learning capabilities, or you have a lot of like, I think automotive especially right want to be engaged with mechanical engineering school, and it's just phenomenal that then you can actually validate who's there, who's in the classroom as a whole, who's teaching, who's learning. It's phenomenal. Are there other things that you see, like, popping up? Like what gets you the most excited? You guys are sitting on this cutting edge, right? So I'm getting excited just listening about it. But what gets you guys excited about the next phase of this as a whole?

David Lucatch  39:04

I turn to RJ first because I know that he's really into the technology and he sees us both from both sides of the fence. So RJ, what really excites you?

RJ Reiser  40:11

For me, it's the companies that are engaging in it right. And the government's that are getting more and more involved and are ready to start moving forward and making announcements of how they're going to move forward with verifiable credentials, which, which is web 3.0, and then using those credentials and where they can like in the metaverse. And it's attaching that identity to your avatar so that you can have these quality, unique experiences. And it seems like there's another really interesting organization wanting to talk to us almost every other day, and helping them kind of gear up and get ready. What's the exciting piece for me is it feels like there's going to be a dam that's going to break open at any time. And then it's going to be a race, it's almost, there are some people that don't want to be the first ones out, they want to let it mature a little bit. But once you get one or two big successes, everyone will be jumping over each other trying to be the third and fourth.

David Lucatch  41:28

Michael, what are your thoughts?

Michael Konikoff  41:25

Well, I always look at things with my loyalty and engagement at all. And what I see right now ahead of us is this remarkable opportunity to engage consumers in a most unique and different way and having much more complete capabilities to make that connection. And how you can take that connection. And not only carry it within your Metaverse and into,  I like to use the word converging it with offline, when you start moving across the various metaverses, and all the information and data that comes back and what the value will be for anybody on the brand side that's going to sit down and try to get the measure of their engagement. That to me is what excites me, because I am seeing and all you have to do is follow this and you realize that the economics are happening already in the space. And the sky is such a cliche, but the sky is the limit here. So that's what I'm excited about.

David Lucatch  42:37

And I'm going to take a different tact here. So, in our corporation, I'm the proverbial gamer. So I'm the comic book collector and have been for since I'm a little boy, so over 50 years, I've been a comic book collector. And I'm the one that generally plays games. So I'm going to take it from that immersive, entertaining, play learn experience. Now I'm very focused with our clients on getting them ROI. But I look at it from a viewpoint of how do we take the things that you can't do in the offline world, and do them in the online world, in this immersive experience? How are we going to take that brand and transform it from something that is viewed today in one particular light, and make it expansive and exciting to this emerging experiential market? And fortnight has done a great job with brands by taking various skins, and they've made, you know, hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, by letting me dress up as Captain America or Thor or whatever the case may be. So there's lots of opportunities for brands to take their visual assets, their physical assets, and their digital assets, and combine them in a way that creates a completely new experience offering that will ultimately build value equity and revenue.

Aaron Conant  44:07

Yep. You just said anything in a question that comes in on this is around the customer journey, right? Because there's a lot of talk right now around the customer journey. And you just brought off offline, online, online, offline. What are the different experiences look like? How do you guys think about customer journey as a whole? For highly lead somebody to a Metaverse experience, right? Because it starts digital if it's blended right, if it's mixed reality, it could go into a physical store, but then it'd be great to get them actually to buy it and then it would be great to get them to buy digital goods because right the return on that is exponential. But any thoughts about like, the guidance of that.

David Lucatch  44:58

I'll give you the example that I use quite often and so, it involves consumption. So how would you take a food item? Michael's already given a really great explanation, but think about consumption based items that we consume in the offline or the real world. So, an avatar walks into a Metaverse bar, puts a couple credits down on the table and, and orders, let's say, an energy drink. And that energy drink is consumed in some branded energy drink, they consume the energy drink, and they receive a value proposition for that consumption. So that might be a t-shirt, it might be a hat, it might be a pair of wings, it could be anything. And that buff could be manifest itself in a sort of metaphysical way. Or it could be I got a superpower. So I've done that. But that is the online experience. That is easy online experience. And that allows consumables to be used in the metaverse. But with the advent of connecting that avatar, to a verifiable identity, or even a relatively anonymized identity, we can now get messaging on a permission basis, back to that individual that says, "Thanks for making the purchase.  Here's a coupon, here's a message, walk down to your convenience store and get a two for one energy drink." So we can take that experience that creates a value proposition, online is a customer journey. I've got something for doing something, and then take it straight down to the individual at ground level.

Aaron Conant  46:41

Why wouldn't somebody be trying this? That sort of comes to mind for me. Like are there any verticals? Absolutely no, not worth it? But at this point in time, it's so new that people need to be educated before they pull the trigger on it? Like what's keeping more people from jumping into setting up a virtual storefront?

David Lucatch  47:07

So I think, first of all, and when we saw this at the early days of the Internet, everybody thinks everything. A lot of people think things are fads, right. There's a lot of organizations that don't exist today, because they thought the internet was a fad. And were very slow to adopt. We saw that a big change was social media. We saw lots of organizations adopting and that continues the trend. And what is surprising me is how many brands have actually made a public forward looking announcement about going into the metaverse, I am amazed every day when I see the brands that have made that leap. Those that aren't making the leap, I think are and I don't mean to sound rude, but are fooling themselves that this won't be sustainable. Today, tokens.com announce a lease with Forever21 in the metaverse, so we're seeing Michael mentioned Gucci, we're seeing brands leaping. Why wouldn't they do that? Because I think that people are very fearful. They've got to be talking to a wide range of people, including ourselves. I mean, everybody's welcome to have a conversation with us. Just listen, but keep in mind that you're going to have to move very, very quickly, because unfortunately, everyone else is. And Michael, RJ your thoughts?

Michael Konikoff  48:29

Yeah, I think it's natural for a more conservative type of organization to look at the metaverse and say I want to see where it's going to be down the road. So they might take that sort of I'm going to sit back and wait. We saw it happen with the internet and went out fast. It came down and then it found its place. We saw it with crypto, went out fast they came back found his place. I believe there's a lot of organizations that will look at this, that same way. But I also think, there's a lot of people are looking at it and people from my generation will look at this differently than someone from my son's generation. I'm not a gamer.  I'm comfortable online, I'm comfortable with social media, but looking at it is something so new. Might be difficult for someone of my generation to say, "Yeah, I want to jump into this." I think there's some barriers that are holding companies back from making the jump, but we're even seeing self-sovereign countries. Looking at the metaverse, right. So I think if I were a CEO of a company of a brand, I'd be like turning the faucet on from the top and saying you know what, it might not be right for us, but I need my team to start engaging it and looking at it, and figuring out how we can make it work. So I think there's different mentalities around it.

RJ Reiser  50:10

I think there's been a lot of interest in companies are investing in it and moving forward, we just need to have some successes around some of the experiences and transaction, and they are coming quickly. And as more and more success happens, then you'll get more and more flowing. I think there's lots of attention. There's lots of companies are looking at it, lots of entities that are looking at it. And just those first few successes that that need to be completed, and then look out.

Aaron Conant  50:44

I agree, as we kind of get to the last minute or so here. David, I'll kick it over to you for like key takeaways. I mean, you guys come up all the time, I encourage anybody have a follow up conversation, these are the leaders in the space. They're also all around great people, they'll lead you in the right direction, they'll give you most candid information around a what you should be doing or not, so 100% worth of follow up conversation with them. I'd bring them in as well. If your leadership team has additional questions on what's going on, they're great educators in the space as well, because I do agree. RJ I agree with you that it is going to happen quickly. Once it starts to go, we get a couple of these knocked down. And just the point about, Michael, you're saying hey, the internet happens that it comes back and finds its space. And then crypto did the same thing. That time frame for crypto was a fraction of the time it was for the internet. And I think in this case, it's going to be a fraction of the time it is before people having technology is changing so fast. People are catching on. There's so much data around what's working, what's not, we can literally make better decisions in real time. And I think, yeah, I agree there's going to be that little bit, but it's going to be so short, that you should at least be prepped for it on the beginning. And at least, be looking at it investigate it playing around in the sandbox. I mean, they promise a pretty fun sandbox to the end. But, David, as you kind of want to wrap us up here with key takeaways.

David Lucatch  52:10

I think it's always important to make decisions. I think, investigate make decisions, again, through the crawl, walk, run process. Understand that digital opportunities can reach a wider audience. There's 5 billion people online, they may not all be your audience, but you're no longer in an offline world susceptible to geographic issues or distribution issues. So you've got that. The next thing is, what can you do to create a very simplified engagement that cost you almost nothing. And that usually isn't if you're some type of digital products. And understand that this is changing as well. It isn't about just the crypto industry where companies like ourselves and others are implementing fiat strategy. So really, take the time to investigate this well, and find out what the triggered events are for your brand. And as Aaron said, you're welcome to talk to us and others in the industry, because we're here to help. Michael.

Michael Konikoff  53:10

You said, great, I don't think I can add anything that will add any extra value, you said perfect.

David Lucatch  53:16

And RJ anything?

RJ Reiser  53:18

Yeah, no, stay tuned. We're able to get things rolling out. They're exciting. And we're moving fast.

Aaron Conant  53:27

Last things you wrap up here is came to mind, because a lot of times globalization is coming up. I mean, imagine the time where like, you can log in globally to Metaverse, suppose it's in Thailand or wherever, you buy your own coffee from Colombia, right. And you can be there and interact with somebody in real time in the native language, and vice versa for outside US coming here, and to have somebody maybe a Chinese shopper coming in, and you can have an avatar fully fluid and Chinese interacting and selling off. It's going to happen, it's going to happen.

David Lucatch  54:12

We've actually done that in previous business. 68 languages on the fly. So I agree with you. I think it's a massive, massive opportunity. But Aaron, I will tell you just as a wrap up item, we're already talking to a single sovereign nation about dealing with another sovereign nation on education in the metaverse because this smaller sovereign nation can provide those services to their populace. So we're already seeing this.

Aaron Conant  54:39

So awesome. I love it. Well, RJ, Michael, David, thanks. Thanks so much for your time today. Thanks for being great friends, partners, supporters, to the network in the brands that are in it. With that we're going to wrap it up. I hope everybody has a fantastic Thursday. Have a great rest of the week. Everybody take care, stay safe. Look for follow up email from us. We'd love to have a conversation with you and more than happy to put you in touch with any Liquid Avatar team here. With that, everybody take care. Stay safe. We'll be in touch. Thanks, guys.

RJ Reiser  55:06

Thanks a lot.

David Lucatch  55:07

Take care. Thank you.

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