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Niku Banaie, Founder and CEO of The Upside
As new spaces evolve in the metaverse, The Upside’s Founder Niku Banaie explores how adaptations must be made for procurement professionals to comply with new standards, laws and ethics
Nuances of the Metaverse
“Procurement teams must proactively stay informed about the legal landscape, including licensing, intellectual property rights, and consumer protection regulations”
“The metaverse has the absolute potential to change society and anything we’ve imagined. More job opportunities would be offered, and careers would be expanded.”
Bold words. But a massive opportunity for brands if this person is correct.
Recently we at The Upside carried out an extensive piece of research into the metaverse talking to 1500 users of Aglet, a digital platform that connects sneakerheads, creators, and brands through virtual sneakers, through qual, quant and focus groups to really find out what real people think of the Metaverse.
Almost half of respondents (691 – 44 per cent) are excited about the metaverse and its potential impact. 35% think it will have a very positive impact on the world while only 2% think it will be very negative one. But a third believe brands who don’t participate in the metaverse will become irrelevant.
It seems like the voice above is not alone. Overall, what most people want is for the metaverse not to copy the same ways of working that the real world runs on, but use it as a place to start again. To create a “Betterverse”.
And one thing we did find was that procurement has a huge role to play in driving value from the metaverse. By addressing critical factors such as ethics, diversity and inclusion, safety controls, community design, legal implications, and economies within the metaverse, procurement experts can lead the way in unlocking its immense benefits for their brands.
Ethics and diversity
Procurement professionals are no strangers to the importance of ethical practices and inclusive decision-making. The metaverse provides a unique opportunity to delve into these areas further. As procurement teams collaborate with partners, creators, and designers within the metaverse, they can actively encourage behaviours that prioritise gender equality, diversity, and ethical conduct. By fostering an inclusive environment, procurement can help shape the metaverse as a space that embraces and reflects the values of a diverse society.
And this is key to so many of the people we spoke to. “It’s a new opportunity for many individuals from minority groups of people to express themselves and pursue new ideas. Also, new economic opportunities.”
Safety controls and governance
The metaverse’s decentralised nature brings both promise and challenges. Procurement professionals must proactively address the lack of safeguards and establish robust governance frameworks. Ensuring the implementation of safety controls, privacy protections, and appropriate guidelines is crucial. By actively engaging in discussions and collaborating with experts, procurement teams can contribute to the development of effective governance models that balance innovation and security.
Community design and long-term presence
Procurement professionals need to approach the metaverse as more than just a platform for short-term campaigns. Designing for a longer-term presence entails understanding and respecting the communities within the metaverse. Procurement experts can leverage their capabilities to navigate the intricacies of community design, fostering spaces that are sensitive, inclusive, and responsive to the needs and values of their inhabitants. By prioritising community engagement, procurement professionals can build sustainable relationships and contribute to the metaverse’s growth.
Our research found that respondents believe that the best brands to enter the metaverse have had authenticity – stemming from longevity (i.e. getting in early), creating something unexpected, and being part of the community
One participant said: “Budweiser did a drop with some artists which was kind of cool. It was kind of unexpected, and the artists they chose are on the come up whereas other companies are choosing ones that are already big. That was cool because it’s this other opportunity for up-and-coming artists.”
As one of our focus group representatives said: “We like it when brands open source their plans for the metaverse. Tell the community and your consumers why you are there, what you are trying to do and what you are trying to achieve.”
Legal implications and compliance
The metaverse introduces new legal considerations that procurement professionals must carefully navigate. Each virtual space may have distinct legal requirements, particularly when engaging with audiences – especially if they are younger users. Procurement teams must proactively stay informed about the legal landscape, including licensing, intellectual property rights, and consumer protection regulations. By understanding these legal nuances, procurement can protect their organizations and mitigate risks associated with operating within the metaverse.
Economies within the metaverse
Unlike traditional procurement practices, this new space involves the evaluation of digital assets and pricing structures. Procurement experts must familiarize themselves with the unique economies and payment mechanisms within the metaverse. By acquiring this knowledge, they can make informed decisions when engaging with creators, designers, and other stakeholders, ensuring optimal utilisation of resources and maximizing value.
As the metaverse continues to evolve, procurement professionals have a vital role to play in harnessing its potential. Embracing the metaverse’s opportunities requires proactive collaboration, adaptability, and a commitment to shaping this new digital frontier in a way that benefits individuals, businesses, and society as a whole. Essentially, being the key to creating a “Betterverse”.