Which exec role should guide the path to the metaverse?
Crate & Barrel Holdings last week revealed that Sebastian Brauer, who oversees product design, development and visual merchandising for the home goods chain, will take on additional responsibility for the company’s strategic vision of the future metaverse and Web3.
His new title is SVP for product design, development and metaverse.
“I am honored to take on this new, innovative role,” said Mr. Brauer, in a press release. “My passion leading teams to enable transformation — especially by bridging the physical and digital worlds through design thinking, collaboration and creativity — will allow us to explore new mediums, dimensions and technology to effectively introduce CBH to a new, modern and experiential marketplace.”
The appointment comes as companies of all stripes are realigning roles to approach the emerging metaverse opportunity.
In February, Disney promoted Mike White, formerly SVP of consumer experiences and platforms, to SVP, next generation storytelling & consumer experiences to lead its metaverse push. In announcing his appointment, CEO Bob Chapek described the metaverse as “next great storytelling frontier and the perfect place to pursue our strategic pillars of Storytelling Excellence, Innovation, and Audience Focus.”
Recent research from Forrester finds 76 percent of U.S. B2C marketing executives plan to invest in metaverse-related activities in 2022, despite only 34 percent of U.S. online adults being excited for what the metaverse will offer.
Forrester’s report offers considerations for relevant c-suite leaders when evaluating their investments in the metaverse:
- CMOs should explore how their consumers want to engage with extended reality while keeping metaverse investments modest. Forrester wrote, “Brands must create a compelling value exchange with consumers or else face disinterest.”
- CIOs and CTOs will need to plot hardware, software and other technology requirements to support future metaverse-style experiences. Forrester’s survey found “anywhere work” will be a priority within virtual-world solutions.
- Customer experience and design leaders should explore the metaverse’s potential for a new generation of customer experiences, such as “highly personalized and purpose-built” shopping experiences.
- Digital business leaders should focus on core digital experiences that align with their consumers’ “access, comfort and preferences.” They should also examine how comfortable consumers are with extended reality.
- Crate & Barrel Holdings Announces Key Executive Promotions – Crate & Barrel Holdings/PRNewswire
- Disney Names Mike White to Lead Metaverse Strategy – Hollywood Reporter
- From 2D to Web3: Disney is working on a metaverse game plan – Los Angeles Times
- Forrester: More Than Seventy-Five Percent Of US B2C Marketing Executives Plan To Invest In The “Metaverse” This Year, Despite Consumer Skepticism – Forrester
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which c-suite function should guide metaverse strategy for retailers? What advice would you have about prioritizing c-suite responsibilities for and investments in the metaverse?