The first course of action taken is to begin from within by adopting blockchain technology and joining the metaverse. The Saudi-based agency believes that this is the natural progression for all brands wanting to play a role in the new creative economy.
XElement recognizes the major shift in the way that brands will need to communicate in the new Web3 world and has ventured into the Metaverse.
The agency has also transformed its service offering to go beyond the traditional requirements of content creation, communication strategy development, and branding from Web2 to Web3. This future-oriented approach will is to create innovative brand experiences for new and existing customers in the next generation of the internet.
Communicate spoke to Mazin Al-Hassan, Managing Partner at XElement to further discuss the reason behind the initiative. "It was very clear to us as founders that if we are to become growth enablers and for our clients to thrive in this new reality we need to be web3 ready ourselves. We have spent the last 2 years building and developing our capabilities as an agency in order to successfully embark on the next phase in our journey," said Hassan.
In the image above: Mazin Al-Hassan, Managing Partner at XElement
What does being web3-ready mean exactly for an agency?
Agencies generally require time in order to build up their know-how, capabilities, and the necessary skill sets required to adapt to new technology in general. With the major shift that web3 brings with it, agencies will need to invest in themselves in order to restructure their service offerings that are compatible with clients' demands. Today's general skills for creative content development such as graphic design, animation, and illustration may need to be upgraded or replaced with 3D modeling, VR/AR, and gaming development. Agencies are at an inflection point: their clients have embraced web3 faster than they have.
In which ways do you use blockchain?
Everything we do that is related to web3 will be done using blockchain technology whether it is the creation of NFTs, the development of assets for our clients in the metaverse and so much more. That would be like asking in a web1 sense what ways are you using the internet or in a web2 sense what ways are you using social media platforms. The next generation of the internet is based on the blockchain so pretty much everything we do will be using blockchain technology.
Why did you choose The Sandbox as a metaverse platform?
Although there are multiple options available today, we narrowed down our options to the SANDBOX and DECENTRALAND. Both are pioneers and have a significant first-in-market advantage over the rest of the platforms out there. When buying virtual land it's very similar in many ways to buying physical real estate, we wanted our organization to be in a space where we made the best investment decision, had the best neighbors and the roadmap for the future was most promising. The SANDBOX ticked all the boxes for us. In 2021, SANDBOX raised $93 million from investors led by SoftBank's Vision Fund and has very solid investor backing. It has a great track record in attracting some of the world's biggest brands including HSBC, Adidas, GUCCI, Carrefour, and Atari just to name a few. The future looks great for our meta-neighborhood and everyone moving in.
There are several definitions of what the metaverse is (eg, a VR/AR digital and interactive space vs a more ambitious interconnected world featuring different platforms, for example). What is yours?
A futuristic immersive virtual world where we can work, play, relax, socialize, and do more. This parallel virtual world is where we will interact through experiences that were not possible before the introduction of this technology. We see it as a natural extension to the web2 world and not a replacement for it. It will be an enabler for creators/brands to create immersive experiences that will continue to evolve in ways that previous platforms could not.
The term 'metaverse' became a buzzword following Meta's announcement. How do you move beyond the buzz and educate your clients and partners?
By simplifying things first and foremost. The initial reaction can be overwhelming and quite daunting for anyone first coming into this space. So by simplifying and getting past that initial feeling we will be able to show our clients how they can not only be a part of the metaverse but more importantly how they can do it in a relevant way to best serve their brand, the consumers, and deliver against the future objectives of their organization. Anyone can be part of the metaverse but it is those who do it right are the ones that will thrive, grow and become pioneers in this space.
What are the next steps for you in that direction?
All I can say at this stage is this is only the beginning...