Brand Storytelling in the Metaverse
A book by Joseph Sassoon
The Metaverse is among the technologies that want to change the paradigms of Digital Transformation, a theme dear to us at OpenKnowledge, proposing a radical evolution of the way we interact with each other, with information and with the world around us. Featuring a foreword by Rosario Sica, this work guides us toward understanding one of the most unknown and innovative topics of the last decade.
PREFACE by Rosario Sica
We are amid a revolution that will change the relationship between businesses and consumers. Understanding and framing the Metaverse in the right perspective is a great challenge. There is a need to think about it with a broad view, while at the same time going into very specific aspects.
I have been following Joseph’s work and publications with passion and interest for over a decade, starting with his Web Storytelling. Come raccontare le marche online in 2012, and when he told me this spring about his new publishing project, Brand Storytelling nel Metaverso, I immediately thought that a critical reflection from him in his area of study and research on the hype phenomenon of the moment would be a great gift to all of us. I believe that the act of writing, the desire to share reflections and experiences, is a great act of generosity and I thank him for this work.
Being at the beginning of a major transformative phenomenon, we are all called to make an effort of framing and understanding which cannot be limited: the sphere that the Metaverse represents must be seen in its entirety. But to do so, superficiality must be avoided. The contribution of this book is exemplary because it provides an opportunity and stimulus to think about the Metaverse with attention to a particular theme – that of Brand Storytelling. And it proposes a deepening of this theme within a vision of what the Metaverse is and can be in the years to come.
This approach is unquestionably valid. Other books and analyses may cover other topics, offering similar insights into the many vertical dimensions that constitute the new virtual worlds. For example, it would be important to explore how, within the Metaverse, the internal communication of companies should be redesigned. Or the whole area of training, which can draw extraordinary benefits from the new technologies. Or the vertical but very broad topic of new forms of hybrid work, which according to major players such as Meta and Microsoft the Metaverse will be able to optimize in many ways. Joseph’s book deals with these issues briefly only to focus properly on brand communication. But even these hints suggest the magnitude of the revolution taking place, and the value of extending the discussion.
In considering the social impact of the Metaverse, it is then essential to keep in mind that the speed of technologies is one thing, the speed of people’s adaptation is another. As we know, we live in a time when technological progress has exponential increases. On the cultural and behavioral level, there can be many difficulties and delays. Plus, current technologies are still imperfect, they are new phenomena that one does not necessarily have to accept – or make others accept. Algorithms and new artificial systems can produce wonderful things but also disturbing outcomes. In virtual environments, brands must therefore be very careful about the choices they will offer their users. Our capabilities need to be enhanced, not replaced. It is critical to put people in a position where they can understand the state of the art of technologies in order to benefit from them.
Of course, the Metaverse, and more generally emerging technologies, have contradictory aspects. Like all technological transitions of epochal weight, they may be accompanied by experiences of well-being or discomfort. Many wonder what effects even greater immersion in virtual worlds may have on the younger generation. Those who have children know the risks faced by e-gamers who do nothing else. We need to think very carefully about the needs of an already highly virtualized generation. The role of those with responsibilities is to study what are the correct pedagogical approaches, and how to balance and control the Metaverse in its positive and negative aspects. While adopting a very open perspective on developments in technologies, the book does not fail to point out that virtual worlds – and the presence of brands within them – do raise problems and certainly require a conscious, responsible, and balanced approach.
To sum it up, there is the need to figure out what game we need to play, since inside and outside virtual environments a new empathy needs to be achieved – even in the relationship with machines. Either way, to play this game, we need to roll up our sleeves and get going. It will make a difference who has a smart, curious, proactive, constructivist approach, while maintaining a vigilant critical spirit. This book, intended for brands but also for those who have a meaningful relationship with them (i.e., all of us), can give a good idea of the right attitude to adopt.
"We are in the midst of a revolution that will change the relationship between companies and consumers. Understanding and framing the Metaverse in the right perspective today is a big challenge."