Advising clients on Web3 requires “practical knowledge” says BRANDIT CBO as firm unveils metaverse office
BRANDIT unveils presence on the metaverse with launch of virtual office
CBO tells WTR move is about education rather than business generation
Firm is also poised to launch its own NFTs and an e-commerce platform
“We can’t advise on it if we are not living it.” This is the mission statement for IP consultancy BRANDIT’s new metaverse office, which launched this week. WTR sat down with the firm’s chief business officer Lorenzo Litta to find out why, and how, it has entered the metaverse.
The virtual office was developed in partnership with international creative agency The Armin Bar. As described on the firm’s LinkedIn page, BRANDIT’s digital space shares the B-shape of its logo and is comprised of three different areas: the main office, a stadium with a basketball court and an event hall. From the latter the firm intends to host a range of activities, from presentations and Q&A sessions to more social events.
According to Litta, the intention was for the design to be “minimal” and “fresh”, “easy to use” and “light to upload”. BRANDIT has also opted initially to develop its own metaverse, rather than buy a plot in the more communal Decentraland (though this will come in October, Litta tells WTR). The reasoning for this, Litta explains, is that the firm wanted to have greater control over its virtual space, from both a design and data security point of view. “We wanted to stay careful,” he says, adding that BRANDIT also wanted to have a bespoke design: “In your own metaverse you can have more opportunities to personalise it and make it more real.”
That said, Litta stresses that the virtual office is not – nor is it intended to be – a replacement for real world spaces and events: “We believe in people and we believe also in the contact of people, so I cannot say that meeting up in the metaverse would substitute meeting up in the real world. But instead of having, for instance, a meeting or conference on Zoom, we can have the conference in the metaverse.”
In the end, he insists, the metaverse office “is just a way to communicate, to approach younger generations and for us to experiment”. So, the implication goes, BRANDIT’s new virtual space is not all that unlike having a company website or a social media page. “If someone is to register a domain name, you can ask… the penguin [the avatar the company chose to interact with visitors] to register a domain name but then the order is processed by human beings that are in the real world,” Litta explains.
“The networking will be very different”
It remains to be seen whether or not metaverse spaces mark an overall improvement on existing digital platforms, especially from a business development perspective. It does, though, bring more possibilities. Litta highlights that the metaverse office contains within it the potential for activities and opportunities that are wholly new, like virtual watch parties or NFT art galleries. With the metaverse office more closely resembling the three-dimensional nature of the real world than other digital platforms, attending a virtual conference can also more easily encompass extra-curricular activities like viewing and buying digital art – activities that, Litta says, may increase interaction.
BRANDIT, Litta explains, has also developed its metaverse to maintain a high degree of privacy for its users. After analysing all of the privacy and security options, the firm decided that the only information it will obtain from users is their IP address, which it will keep for the minimum time period required by law before deleting it. Any other details, such as name, job title and contact details will only be known to BRANDIT – and other attendees – if users choose to make them known. In part, Litta explained, this decision was made “to show that BRANDIT are not developing the metaverse to try to get clients out of it”.
However, he acknowledges that while these privacy protections may be attractive from a personal security and professional confidentiality point of view, they risk undermining the trust and transparency necessary for networking and conference events to be of value to attending professionals.
“There is no certification of origin on the source when you are sharing information. This part for sure is missing,” he admits, stressing that he believes attendees will likely share their personal and professional identities of their own volition. “The networking will be very different. The kind of perception you will have is very different,” he says. “But this is also something that is part of the journey and part of the experience. We really don’t know as of today what the behaviour and the approach of people in the IP community to something like that will be.”
“We wanted to learn by doing ourselves”
With Web 3 being so new to so many, developing a metaverse office is also, perhaps, a financial risk, particularly considering, as Litta admits, the project was more expensive than developing a website. Commenting on how confident he is that BRANDIT’s clients will engage with the platform, Litta says: “I’m confident in trying. I’m not confident that this will be a success, honestly. I mean, we don’t know. Maybe in three months we will realise that no one was actually interested and it was just an investment that didn’t lead us anywhere. The fact is that I believe in trying and I’m not scared of failing… even if no one will engage with it, we have learned a lot.”
Litta believes, however, that the firm has made a “reasonable investment”. This is because he views the venture primarily as an educational opportunity for employees, and a chance for the firm to stamp its authority as a leader on all things Web3. “Can we consider the metaverse office to be a business development tool? Maybe. But this is not the reason why we decided to create it,” he expands. “Creating the metaverse office was mostly for us internally and also for educating ourselves and our clients, our community, our friends, much more than actually thinking that there would be a direct return of investment from it.”
“We wanted to learn by doing ourselves,” Litta continues, stressing that companies are spending money sending their employees to conferences about Web3 anyway. It is clear that this is what BRANDIT are banking on: that existing and future clients looking to develop a brand presence in the metaverse would rather seek the advice of an IP firm with, as Litta terms it, “practical knowledge” of how the new platform works (ranging from the financial and legal, to design and data privacy aspects), than from those whose knowledge and understanding is purely “theoretical.”
“We want people to understand that we have been learning about it, we’ve been through it… we can share with them our own experience”, he said. The launch of the BRANDIT metaverse office is just the start of what Litta describes as the firm’s “continuous education” about Web3. Next week the firm will be launching its own NFTs and an e-commerce platform, he tells WTR.
“Web 3 has been created for creators. Web 3 is for creators. This is something huge for people that deal with IP”, he said. “So, in my opinion, someone that deals with IP cannot avoid Web 3. So, sooner or later, you have to get there and the more you learn the better you can advise.”
By clicking on the following link, you can also visit BRANDIT’s Metaverse office.
If you would like to talk to Lorenzo on this topic, please contact him here.
You can also read this article on the WTR website here.
IP business is fun and challenging and after many years I sail in it with the curiosity and passion of a child and with the knowledge and awareness of an adult.
Whatever is dynamic and in evolution takes my full attention, that’s probably why I love sports and speed.
Lorenzo speaks: English, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese
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