On a recent episode of the .metaverse podcast, we were joined by Catherine D. Henry.
As one of the top global experts on the Metaverse and Web3, Catherine is a strategic advisor to Boards and executive management teams, shaping how the world’s most successful companies will enter, market, and monetize this new media landscape.
She works at Media Monks as their SVP of Web3 & Metaverse strategy and also appears on the Advisory Board of South by Southwest (SXSW), the Interactive Advertising Board (IAB), and LA Chapter President of the VRAR association. She was awarded Campaign Magazine's top 40 Distinguished Leaders in US media and tech industry for 2022-2023. She is currently writing a book about Gen-Z and Web 3.
To listen to the full conversation, find the .metaverse podcast on any podcast streaming network, including Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Read the full transcript of this episode below.
Hi, I'm Ziv Navoth and welcome to the .metaverse podcast. Join us for each episode as we explore key themes and ideas surrounding the metaverse. Catherine D. Henry is one of the top global experts on Metaverse and Web3, and is a strategic advisor to boards and executive teams shaping how the world's most successful companies will enter the market and monetize the metaverse.
She's Senior Vice president of Web3 and Metaverse Strategy at Media Monks, a digital media agency, and sits on the advisory board of South by Southwest and the interactive advertising board. Earlier this year, she was named as Campaign magazine top 40 Distinguished Leaders of the US Media and Tech Industry.
Catherine D. Henry
The metaverse is not last year's thing. It's not just an option. It's very much the future of our digital spending patterns. It's very much the future of our marketing mix, and it's going to inform a lot of ways how we're going to be interacting with our customers now and in the future.
Catherine, welcome to the show.
Catherine D. Henry
Thank you so much for having me.
So Catherine, we're recording this show at the end of 2022, which has been a remarkable year across so many aspects. You've seen the crash of the crypto market, the nose dive of evaluations in tech, and a general sentiment that the party is over. At the same time, we've seen tremendous innovation in the technology market.
What are some of your biggest takeaways from this year?
Catherine D. Henry
You know, it's funny when you just mentioned the party is over. I have to ask myself why was there a party? Who decided that this was going to be a party? It's just really funny. I feel as though we need to reset and rethink about where we are in the overall trajectory of this industry, and where ultimately, we hope to be headed so we can really focus our efforts on that.
There's a bigger issue that I would really like people to focus on too. That is nothing to do with Facebook as the barometer of the temperature of, or the health of this industry, but rather the growth of the entire ecosystem, which continues to forge ahead.
That's a really interesting point because indeed one of the big themes of this year was the metaverse which started the year before with Facebook's decision to change its name and its focus, and then Microsoft CEO shared their vision for the opportunity, the metaverse created for the enterprise, and this, of course, brought a wave of tremendous interest. Last time I counted, I think there were close to a hundred conferences on the metaverse this year. But it also brought a sense of confusion for many executives, especially in the latter part of the year. Where do you start and, and when? Can you take us through some of the conversations you've been having with people who are just beginning to think about how to begin their journey in the metaverse?
“I am interested in seeing how the Web3 component plays out as we head into 2023” - Catherine D. Henry
Catherine D. Henry
You know, it's funny. I feel as though it's almost too late to be asking that question. You really should have asked yourself that question this time last year. We're already moving forward to the point where we're getting into the nitty gritty details of tokenomics and what that means for specific industries and how that can be applied to any company, and how it should be applied. So really the bigger picture of the metaverse is something that I think a lot of people have been discussing. I, myself, have been pretty much discussing it every day this year, multiple times per day. I think the understanding and appreciation is pretty broad, so I'm not sure I necessarily need to educate anybody, but I am interested in seeing how the Web3 component plays out as we head into 2023.
So this is a good opportunity to talk a little bit about Web3 and the metaverse. Do you see them as two different interpretations of the future, or do you feel that they share a common foundation? What's the best way to think about those two in tandem?
“The best way to think about Web3 for me is being the engine of the metaverse. It's like the payment system, it's the plumbing, it's the backend, it's the thing that makes everything else work.” - Catherine D. Henry
Catherine D. Henry
The best way to think about Web3 for me is being the engine of the metaverse. It's like the payment system, it's the plumbing, it's the backend, it's the thing that makes everything else work. So I think about the days when my dad was working in computers and computer networking in the early days of the internet, so early nineties, and he was saying, at the time, they really thought about this as a medium for information sharing.
You could download emails, you can write emails and share emails. It was, you could, you know, download a document instead of photocopying it and mailing it. You could send it to people. You could retrieve it from a database, let's just say it was the New York Public Library, so he had all this information at your hands. But what he said that he missed in all of this was the commercial aspect. He didn't quite grasp at the time, and none of his colleagues did - I mean, he was professor at Columbia University so he was fairly well informed - but he didn't understand the depth to which the economic component of the internet would ultimately be as powerful as it has since become.
And so I think we don't really understand the capacity of Web3 to grow, at least, a lot of people haven't quite appreciated where this is headed beyond NFTs. NFT is their first signal, because obviously we're thinking about how can we pay through the blockchain? And the blockchain is one part of it, of course. But really the bigger picture is, how does the payment system work where we can unleash the economic ecosystem that these various 3D worlds open up for us. And that's where it gets a lot more interesting where data becomes owned and where you can own the assets that you create and sell.
So the opportunities that this third version of the web open up are just as fast as web2.
So, talk to me a little bit about this notion of kind of tokenization and how that fits into the story. What does that mean for businesses?
“Tokenomics represent a really exciting opportunity for brands to figure out how to deliver value back to the people who love their products most.” - Catherine D. Henry
Catherine D. Henry
Tokenomics represent a really exciting opportunity for brands to figure out how to deliver value back to the people who love their products most. So what does that look like? What does that program? If you were to say, have a curriculum or if you were to create a set of recipes, what would those be? And when I say recipes, it could be if you were to fill up a basket with specific goods and keep delivering it, what would that be? So we really have to think very creatively about how to engage the people who support and champion our brands most. And everyone has them.
Collecting is a natural outcome of the human experience. And so it's very natural for people to want to participate, have feedback, and be able to influence the next iteration of whatever it is that you're doing. And even if you're b2b, there are a number of ways that you can gather more information that you can host events.
We have to think far more creatively and expansively about in real life experiences, but also delivering value across these new platforms. So when I think about the metaverse, I really like to think about how we can deliver the variety of content that we do across other platforms. For example, YouTube started off fundamentally, and you and I remember the early days of YouTube and even MTV, they started off effectively as music platforms where new videos would debut, but ultimately people were able to create and share their own content. And they started off, yes, of course, with music, but then it expanded well beyond that. So now it's a platform where you can learn new things. And so there's a whole variety of things that you can do on these platforms.
And so brands need to really tap into the essence of what they do and how they interpret that already in the real world. Like, do you sponsor the opera? Do you sponsor a local boys athletics club? You need to think about how you can do that in the metaverse. And then finally, how do you provide value for your real core group of supporters?
And that's where it gets really, really interesting.
I think this notion of providing value for a core group of supporters is something that I wonder if we can double click because while most companies break up their customer base into less valuable, more valuable ones, I think this notion of giving customers opportunity to collect and perhaps own something more than just the company's product. I find that new compared to what we are used to thinking in the past.
Can you think of some examples that you've seen perhaps of folks who are experimenting with that or seeing some early success with this notion of giving more ownership over to their customer?
Catherine D. Henry
Yeah, there's definitely a lot of companies who are experimenting with giving people the right to design products.
There are musicians saying, Hey, if you bring this NFT, you'll be a group of people who have the ability to influence the direction that I take musically. So there are a lot of really creative ways of thanking people for being staunch supporters and giving them say or influence over what you do, and then you can also champion them.
Gucci has selected a group of artists that they choose to highlight, and of course the artists are then catapulted to international fame and they'll do very, very well. That was a product we worked on. We also worked with Adidas to create OZworld where you could download NFTs for free.
Actually, they weren't NFTs, they were avatars, but many people decided to then sell them on OpenSea. But Adidas decided that they wanted to provide value to their customers and rather than have people fight over a very limited number of digital assets, they opened it up to half a million people were able to create these digital avatars, download them, and then use them as they wished.
“So these digital collectibles became accessible. And this is something I really wanna send home to everybody, is the notion we don't really want to keep this as an insider game.” - Catherine D. Henry
So these digital collectibles became accessible. And this is something I really wanna send home to everybody, is the notion we don't really want to keep this as an insider game. The whole bubble and speculation, and this is how I've been spending my morning is writing a segment of this for my book that comes out next year is, you know, the hyper speculation that we saw around the NFT, let's just say this time last year, is something that was effectively irrational and it was driven primarily by people who had vested interest in them.
And so you had both the buyers and seller pumping these things out into the market and ultimately, yes, of course it collapsed. Which is why when you first said it, the party is over. I said, why was there a party? This is a tool that really needed to be used as such. So, if you're a brand, use it responsibly.
Think about this is really leveraging your brand in a long term, sustainable, intelligent way that doesn't undermine the, or doesn't seek to betray the intelligence or loyalty of your fans. Rather, you're really celebrating their loyalty and you're rewarding it in a way that is meaningful to them.
Because this is not shouting at somebody. It's like, you know, cable television. If you, you know when the moment that there is a commercial break, they know that's the moment we're gonna get up and go get a snack or refill your coffee or teacup and come back to their room so they make the sound louder.
And so we're not shouting at people here. This is really a give and take relationship because in the metaverse there are literally millions of worlds that people can visit. So why are they going to be participating and spending time on yours? Why are they gonna be on your discord? Why are they gonna create assets for you? You have to make sure that you give some value back to the people who are helping you evolve your brand.
“This is really a give and take relationship because in the metaverse there are literally millions of worlds that people can visit. So why are they going to be participating and spending time on yours? You have to make sure that you give some value back to the people who are helping you evolve your brand.” - Catherine D. Henry
It sounds almost like the answer to the next question that I was gonna ask you, which is, what is it going to take to convince the majority of consumers that immersive media and extended reality is a real improvement compared to what we have now.
Catherine D. Henry
I don't think we need to convince this next generation, we need to convince older people. This is covered in the book that'll be coming out next year, but I'm really tremendously frustrated mostly by the older people in the room who sort of shake their heads as obstinate as if to say, this isn't a thing.
And I'm thinking it's very much a go ask anybody under the age of 25, and they're going to tell you that collecting digital assets is already a thing. If you walk into any department store, there are literally racks or even CVS or Walgreens, they're going to have a rack Best Buy of cards that you can buy where you can use them for digital purchases. It's iTunes, it's a card for prime video. It could be anything.
These are not things that you own, but these are things that you experience, right? So we really need to think about this as the evolution of the experience economy, both on digital forms as well as in physical forms in our physical world.
What’s the best way really then to bridge that generational divide? I'm sure that even before the most recent market corrections, there were folks who were skeptical about Web3, NFTs, and that now many of them maybe are even more skeptical than before. So how do you help these more senior executives, let's call 'em, to make this leap of faith and, and give them the confidence to explore what this technology or these technologies can do for their organizations.
Or maybe if you've seen your counterparts on the organizational side, what have they used in order to convince their colleagues that this is not just some kind of art project that we're getting involved with, but it really has foundational impact on our future.
Catherine D. Henry
First, I wanna uncouple the association between NFT and art and even NFT, people call it, you know, the new N word because for marketers nobody wants to talk about NFTs. They're always saying like we can it a digital collectible, but just don't say NFT. I'm like, oh, relax, it literally means nonfungible token. It's like a ticket. It means something that's non-transferable.
It's not. Say, some sort of risky commodity, but that's the association that's been made with it. But I really wanna say that it's not necessarily art, and it's not necessarily some wildly speculative alternative investment. It is literally just a collectible. So as a collectible, that's what people do. People like to collect.
The second thing is, when you're thinking about where you wanna be, 10 years ago, more like 20 years ago, people said, why would I wanna be on Facebook? Why would I want to advertise on Google? And yet, for the past decade or more, they've been the most popular places for advertisers to reach their markets effectively.
But why was it that there was this initial reluctance and skepticism? It's because the older generations weren't there. So what I would say to older generations is, you know, it's time for a reset. It's time to reexamine the platforms where people are spending their time, how they're investing their time, and to meet them there.
“But why was it that there was this initial reluctance and skepticism? It's because the older generations weren't there. So what I would say to older generations is it's time for a reset. It's time to reexamine the platforms where people are spending their time, how they're investing their time, and to meet them there.” - Catherine D. Henry
2020 was a game changer. We had this great leap forward and now it's really forcing people to innovate. And we saw this before we saw this when SARS happened in 2003 in Asia. Suddenly people were spending more time online and it changed the way people started to shop. There's a wonderful book, it's Jack MAs autobiography when he describes the first days of Alibaba and how suddenly it seemed seemingly overnight Chinese consumers discovered online shopping. and it's never gone back from there.
It's an enormously successful platform, much like Amazon and the US, even more so. So we really need to think about this as an inflection point where the old ideas have to go. We have to embrace new technologies, new platforms, new behaviors, but also new expectations.
And that's where we are today. The metaverse is not last year's thing. It's not just an option. It's very much the future of our digital spending patterns. It's very much the future of our marketing mix, and it's going to inform a lot of ways how we're going to be interacting with our customers now and in the future.
“The metaverse is not last year's thing. It's not just an option. It's very much the future of our digital spending patterns. It's very much the future of our marketing mix, and it's going to inform a lot of ways how we're going to be interacting with our customers now and in the future.” - Catherine D. Henry
Catherine, I'd really love the line you had about meeting customers where they are and I'm wondering if much of what we're seeing right now isn't so much about the technology, but about really those changing of expectations that to succeed really requires you to leave behind the model of the customer will come to us and we will dictate what the relationship is going to be, to looking at where are they hanging out, what do they want, what are they interested in?
Even if we don't really understand it yet, we have to approach them. We can't expect them to simply show up and do things the way we dictated in the past.
Catherine D. Henry
A hundred percent. And I love the term dictate because that's effectively what it is. And I said,you know, shouting at them like when you leave the room, just the idea of this kind of push strategy when now it's really a pull strategy, it's reciprocal, and we really need to think of this as a relationship.
And so working really closely with the people who are modding your discord platforms, to think about how to reward the people who are actually making an investment in your NFT or your digital collectible. How are you rewarding them for that? It's not just a one off, right? This is an ongoing relationship because you're going to significantly open up the market to new consumers, but you also have to, you know, what are you going to do with them from there?
So it's not a one-off gift or one-off opportunity to monetize your core customer base. It's really thinking more strategically about how can I deepen this relationship so that people are more loyal for longer. And you know, you also have to think about this new breed of consumers.
You know, gen Z is already, the oldest cohort is 25 at the moment, and by 2030 they're gonna represent some 35% of, of GDP, but also the people who are earning the most with the most upside of potential. So you really wanna make sure that you capture their interest in loyalty now, and that's where they are.
They're gonna definitely be in these metaverse NFT spaces, and that's where you're gonna wanna play as well.
You talk about relationships and I've heard you discuss how the metaverse is sort of the iteration of social and how perhaps that's the biggest difference between Web2 and Web3.
Can you tell me more about how, how you see this?
Catherine D. Henry
Yeah, there's an extension of social media. I mean, this is where people hang out. You know, 70% of Gen Z spend their time primarily just hanging out in platforms like Fortnite, et cetera. So this is where they meet and they hang out and that's how they want to engage with one another.
You know, Play-Doh says you get to know somebody better through an hour of play than a year of conversation. And so, the chatting and the posting of pictures, that's very different. I mean, even Gen A is starting to, they have a completely different aesthetic than Gen Z, and especially millennials.
It's not just the maximalist kind of narcissistic or self-absorbed kind of relationship with the camera trying to show an idealized state. It's more a naturalistic exchange between friends and like-minded people. And so what we're seeing now is a demand for a more personalized experience across social media channels.
We're also seeing a demand for more personalized content, but also at the same time people don't feel the need to kind of, you know, give their all to brands just because the brands ask, you know, that's where the rewards really have to come in because everybody wants free publicity. But you know, kids today are very, very savvy.
They know their time and their creativity is the real thing driving attention to your brand, and they know exactly how to do that. So you wanna definitely give them the keys to do that, but you also have to give them incentive.
I heard that one of the projects you're working on is decentralized entertainment. Can you talk a little bit about that? What is decentralized entertainment and how will it impact that industry?
Catherine D. Henry
My little project, my seven volume, I'm not kidding, it's seven deck and I'm trying to finish my book, so I'm like, I have to get back to it and I'm really excited about it, but, it's a seven deck explanation. It's pretty much a book unto itself where I explain how it basically unravels and each one addresses a different subject.
So the first one talks about Web3 and talent management and the future of different, NFT or IPs could take across different worlds and how that's spinning out. The second one covers, I kind of deconstruct Friends in Web3 and I identify what it would look like if say a TV show were franchised today.
I call it Franchised and I'll go into that in a minute. But then I also address the different models for fundraiser. One of the challenges in the bottlenecks is that people aren't really able to raise capital with traditional methods because those are closed. You know, we were in the area of the big blockbuster movies, you know, yet another Marvel or DC movie, and people are quite frankly, tired of it.
I looked at a list of some of the top films, say in the early twenties and even mid-to-late nineties, and it is astonishing to see what a variety of films were being produced by, say, early Miramax and others that would be inconceivable today. So it's super exciting to see that authors are able to write, you know, script writers and producers are able to bring projects to platforms that then get voted on and then get funded.
So it's super, super exciting. So Kaita is an example of that. And then, I also break it down into the future of the sports industry and the music industry and virtual influencers and avatars - what the future of that looks like. And you know how you basically have to control your IP in multiple formats that can spin out both in sort of in the real world as well as in digital form across multiple platforms.
So it's super complex but really, really fascinating because it can completely hand over the keys from the block of the major studios to any aspiring actor, screenwriter, musician, you name it. It's just tremendously powerful movement that's just starting to take place.
So maybe this is a good segue to talk a little bit about economics. I know you have a really deep background in economics and I wanted to hear your thoughts about something that I've been pondering, um, regarding some of the structural changes that Web3 may be bringing or not. And I want to contrast the work of two economists, who were sort of active at the same time, the 1930s and 1940s.
The first is Ronald Coase, who won the Nobel Prize in economics. He argued that firms exist because they were a more cost-effective way to get things done, that they were able to sort of reduce the costs of conducting certain activities by coordinating them from inside the firm rather than relying on the market to coordinate them. And the second was Joseph Schumpeter, who introduced a concept of creative destruction.
Schumpeter described creative destruction as something that takes place when new firms enter a market and offer new products or services that are better than those that are offered by existing firms.
And he talked about how this can lead to the displacement of these old firms and the creation of new jobs, new opportunities, but at the same time, this process of creative destruction can also lead to the destruction of existing firms and the loss of jobs as well as social and economic disruption.
So, I wonder, as you were thinking about new models such as decentralized entertainment or decentralized sports or other areas, what is the impact of this going to be on the traditional firm?
Catherine D. Henry
Well, if that isn't the gazillion dollar question right now. When I say I spent my entire morning kind of delving into this, this is literally what I'm exploring, and I'm gonna be spending probably the next six months being really, really deeply into this because you know, it's really hard to say.
When you reference Schumpeter or Coase, you really have to think about what is the purpose of a company, right? What value is it supposed to have on society? And is social welfare really the main objective of a firm? Not necessarily, right?
You know, maybe some would argue that a company is supposed to look out for its own best interests. And thereby do right by the rest of, you know, it's more Keynesian really, but you know, then it would benefit the rest of society. So I don't particularly agree with that. And I think that a lot of people have seen late stage capitalism is not necessarily a good thing.
And I think that many people view that through the lens of companies like Meta which in the height of its Facebook era seemed to be fairly detrimental to society in many ways, and potentially a disrupting force to democracy itself in some cases. And so many people felt that that was a nefarious use of its market power, that when companies become larger, more and more influential than governments themselves, then government has a right, indeed, an obligation to intervene.
So it gets really sticky. What I would say is that the opportunity that Web3 represents is to redress that and rebalance that, and I think not necessarily a scary way for those people who are thinking, wait a minute, how do I make money?
We're not talking about capitalism or socialism or really upending norms completely. But what I would say is that it does redress the balance. It makes things more accessible, and I think that's why we're seeing so many people pour into this space at the moment because they're seeing this as an opportunity to, frankly, to make money, frankly, to get in access because when we're thinking about, say the Bored Ape Yacht Club or the CryptoPunks or you know, all these early degens who got in there. It's basically a group of, you know, 10% of people own 90% of those, you know, real blue chip assets. And so it's no different from anything else that you're seeing.
Any other market I've worked, you know, hedge funds and private equity, and it's the same thing. You know, you've got a group of very powerful institutions that are sending the signals out to the rest of the world as to what to buy, but they still also have such disproportionate buying power that the average retail investor has no hope of trying to capitalize or to earn off of the same types of assets or instruments that these guys are using.
“Whereas now with Web3, the little guy could potentially get into part of the action.” - Catherine D. Henry
Whereas now with Web3, the little guy could potentially get into part of the action. And it's funny, I had a great conversation with Philip Rosedale and some of the people that he's talking to about how do we redress this? And there isn't a blueprint yet because we see that time and time again. And you know, in Second Life, this is something that he noticed as well, you know, over a short amount of time, money, or loot or Linden dollars or Bitcoin eventually ends up in the hand of a very small pool of people of owners.
And so we really need to think about how do we, you know, so this is why I call it Tokenomics because we really need to think about what that overall token system, that economy looks like. It's really not easy.
I think we need to, I think that's really the gazillion dollar question because on the one hand, it's a huge opportunity for your average retail investor, meaning the man off the street who doesn't necessarily own a massive company that can then, you know, sign up with an investment bank and have early access to say IPOs or spinoffs or private equity deals.
They're not gonna have access to that, right? So when that private equity dealer that IPO then explodes, like, you know, 10, 20, 30, 50. , then you get outsized or disproportionate returns to those investments. But your average guy doesn't have access to that. So what we're thinking about with Web3 is maybe you're gonna have access to the next blockbuster film you'll be in on the early days you'll be in with, you know, the other degens who saw this and said, Hey, this is really exceptional work.
If so much of this is about access in traditional forms of running things. One of the most fascinating areas, at least for me, of Web3 was the rise of DAOs, these decentralized autonomous organizations - a type of organization that's run really through code and smart contracts on the blockchain rather than through traditional managerial hierarchies.
And I wonder what's your view on this? How much of what we're seeing Web3 and the metaverse is going to be about creative destruction and creating entirely new models to organize ourselves and to distribute opportunity, if not wealth. And how much of this will simply be about letting the same old companies do the same thing that they've been doing, but faster and cheaper and better.
“I love the concept of creative disruption. I think that creative disruption is really where we are. I really feel as though this is one of those moments. This is a reset moment, and so this is an opportunity for people to get in on the ground floor, which is why I see so many people who were very, very excited about this space.” - Catherine D. Henry
Catherine D. Henry
I love the concept of creative disruption and you've raised this twice, so it seems to be a theme. I think that creative disruption is really where we are. You talked about Schumpeter and displacement earlier. I really feel as though this is one of those moments. This is a reset moment, and so this is an opportunity for people to get in on the ground floor, which is why at Miami Basel recently I saw so many people who were very, very excited about this space.
Look, both the metaverse and Web3 are giving people an opportunity to get in the ground floor and realize companies experiences create products and tools and services that have never existed before. So this is a complex and yet also a very exciting time. When it comes to creative disruption too, I also like to think about, you know, some type of, they mourn certain things.
They mourn the loss of, say, a market that's just kind of evolving as opposed to radically being broken down by new technologies. And what I would say to them is that if there's a forest fire, of course we're all devastated by the loss of acres of trees, but sometimes that can be beneficial and it can be beneficial because it's clearing out some of the dead wood.
It's clearing out some of the older trees, the taller trees, and it now gives light and space for new species and for some of the lower, smaller bushes and flora and fauna to grow. And so that's kind of what I think about creative disruption is that it's an opportunity for things to flourish.
Rather than something to mourn Catherine, you're on the advisory board of South by Southwest, which always curates the most important things happening in our culture. What does that look like in 2023? What are some of the things that you are looking forward to? Not necessarily just in the space of Web3 or the metaverse, but at that intersection between technology and culture - the things that are gonna impact the way we work, live and play, next year and the following years.
Catherine D. Henry
I'm so glad you asked that because the one thing I'm really excited about when it comes to the metaverse, apart from obviously getting to be able to really dig deep into Tokenomics and unexplored territory, which is my favorite thing.
“So what is the future of culture in the metaverse?” - Catherine D. Henry
But also talking about culture, right? So what is the future of culture in the metaverse? So, that's fundamentally the subject of the book that we will be announcing. I've got a panel at South by Southwest, so I'm super excited about this and we're going to be talking about the future of culture, how it manifests itself, and how companies and brands can really think about their relationship with the evolving cultures that are taking place across metaverse worlds.
What that means, and how they can engage meaningfully because right now we're kind of coasting off of trends that are set in a very narrow set of social media channels. And even that took a really long time for us to really understand, and that's a medium that's pretty mature, but we're now entering a really radical new space that's going to demand new thinking.
And that new thinking is already, or rather those new media are already being widely adopted by younger generations, for whom this is very, very intuitive, that are feeling very comfortable in these spaces that use these spaces as a means for self-expression and exploration. So you really need to think of how to make your retail space a play space, an exploration space, how to create spaces for people to meet up.
I call 'em the third spaces in the same way that Starbucks used to be a third space. How can we create that kind of, that cafe culture in the same way that there was that jazz club culture, in the fifties?
We need to rethink how we are reaching our customers in the ways that they're living today. So we need to think about the physical and the digital. I really love the Nike store on Fifth Avenue, where suddenly there's this 3D projection on the wall and I can play with it, but at the same time I'm playing with the ball. It's keeping score. People are taking videos.
It's crazy. But that is the lived world of young people today, and that's where their expectations are. So how can we take their culture into our marketing and into our world in a much more holistic sense? And gaming is fundamental to that. We really need to think about how gaming translates into branding today.
“We really need to think about how gaming translates into branding today.” - Catherine D. Henry
Well, that's an excellent point to wrap up our conversation today. Catherine D. Henry, thank you so much for being with us and hope to see you on the show again soon.
Catherine D. Henry
Thank you so much. It's been my absolute pleasure. If anybody wants to see some of the documents or the decks that I've prepared, I have posted many of them on LinkedIn in my featured section. And I hope you get a big comfy chair. Cause they're pretty long, but I hope you enjoy them and thank you so much for having me today.
To learn more about the metaverse, tune into the .metaverse podcast.