What is a Chief Metaverse Officer and why are companies like Disney and P&G hiring one?

The growing conversation around the metaverse across multiple sectors shows that organizations are increasingly looking to throw their weight behind this new immersive world.

This new virtual world offers incredible promise. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of the world’s people will spend at least an hour per day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, learning, socializing and entertainment. So it’s no surprise that $120 billion is expected to be invested in the metaverse in 2022 alone, dwarfing last year’s $57 billion in all investments, according to a McKinsey report. Furthermore, the report projects that the metaverse could be worth $5 trillion by 2030.

This massive commitment has galvanized companies to position their businesses to reap the benefits of the metaverse. Companies like Disney, P&G and LVMH have recently hired chief metaverse officers, while others like Nike, Balenciaga and Gucci are hiring for metaverse-related jobs. But what is a Chief Metaverse Officer – and why would an organization hire one today?

Typically, a Chief Metaverse Officer (CMTO) is responsible for developing and maintaining a company’s online presence in the Metaverse. However, some industry leaders are debating the requirements and definition of a Chief Metaverse Officer.

Scott Kinney (a.k.a. DJ Ski), CMT at TSX Entertainment, told VentureBeat that “a Chief Metaverse Officer will be someone who has experience [metaverse] Space with deep knowledge of video games and web3 ecosystem. In addition to technical knowledge, the typical Chief Metaverse Officer is also expected to be well-versed in the creative side of the market and able to drive an organization’s Metaverse efforts. This includes getting to know and hiring people with backgrounds in development platforms like Unreal Engine, Unity and Cry Engine … or Blender and Maya.

Kinney also noted that the CMTO must have technical expertise in cryptocurrencies, cloud computing, blockchain and gaming engines, as well as a vision of the metaverse environment.

Ultimately, the chief metaverse officer manages the company’s brand, image, mission and vision across various virtual platforms and accessories, he said.

Requires stable leadership and management

Since the metaverse is still in its infancy, it’s not surprising that only a fraction of the C-suite fully understands the metaverse — as Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged in an article — and how it could shape things across the enterprise in the future. A few years. However, Marty Resnick, VP and analyst at Gartner, believes “this is the best time to learn, explore and prepare for a metaverse with limited implementation.”

Similarly, Vanessa Mullin, business development manager for Metaverse and Interactive Media at Agora, told VentureBeat that “for a business that wants to experiment with Metaverse, hiring a CMTO is inevitable.”

“When you think about the C-suite role, they are designed for specific strategies and resources as well as management principles that flow from the very tip of the arrow,” he added. “How a company moves forward is based on having a team of highly effective leaders pulling their team in the right direction. The way the metaverse is predicted to go, huge resources and responsibilities require innovative, but stable, leadership and management.

As a business explores how it can fit into the broader landscape and take advantage of the endless opportunities within the metaverse, it’s the CMTO’s job to figure out the angles and find what works. Hiring a CMTO will help a company stay on top of emerging metaverse trends and focus on which aspects of these trends will help meet the specific needs of their business.

But do you need a CMTO at this point?

But while Mullin believes hiring a Metaverse team right off the bat is essential, he suggests a CMTO could come later. “For starters, I think a small metaverse ‘strike team’ will suffice. Someone to test, play and research what works best for your business. Once you find your footing and establish your ‘probability mass function,’ then you can hire a metaverse officer to manage and execute your roadmaps,” he said.

On the other hand, if moving some of your business to Metaverse is a priority, you may already have appointed your Chief Metaverse Officer.

Kinney said it’s a CMTO’s job to figure out what use cases for Metaverse are best for their company. “It may not make sense to build a bank in the metaverse on a platform like Roblox, or Fortnite, or Decentraland. CMTOs need to find new ways to interact or engage or facilitate transactions in the metaverse and create tools to get business there.”

“That way you can test some hypothesis in this virtual world or test how your brand might be able to do something. You can do these things as prototypes and in person,” says Kathy Hackle, Journey’s founder and chief metaverse officer.

The world is still years away from widespread adoption of the Metaverse platform. But if you’re building your own metaverse in anticipation, you need someone who can start moving the bits and pieces in the right direction right now. P&G launched a digital platform this year called BeautySPHERE and turned a popular TV ad from the 1980s into a video game. Nike bought a virtual sneaker company and created a world modeled after its real-life headquarters. Starbucks is introducing coffee-themed NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, linked to its customer loyalty program.

Getting into the Metaverse early

Gartner predicts that “through 2024, direct opportunities for large-scale adoption in the metaverse will be limited,” adding that “the market is beginning to explore and test applications and use cases with high, long-term value.” The state of the metaverse today may be far from mainstream — even with all the investment in the space, Gartner estimates that the metaverse will mature by 2030. But if your business wants to be a player in the metaverse when it reaches full maturity, the time to build a metaverse team — or even hire a CMTO — is now.

Kinney claims that this early stage of the metaverse is crucial. “It reminds me a lot of the dot-com era — there was a lot of hype and people were confused by it. It can be very scary; Everyone was getting into it, we all knew it was the future and it accelerated so fast. Then it had to actually be made, then it slowly took over our lives. And what I think is going to happen with the metaverse, as we’re at that stage. We’ve hit the point where people are now asking questions about it and being influenced by it,” he said.

By hiring a CMTO, your business invests in a long-term strategy that will move you into the metaverse rather than your customers. An executive who oversees Metaverse-related work will interface with many departments: product, marketing, business development and partnerships, policy, legal, and more. A cross-company perspective requires someone with peripheral vision and the ability to integrate a strategy. It will provide a glimpse into the future when the metaverse is not an innovation or a separate entity, but an established paradigm that touches every element of your business.

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