Can Yurdakul, CEO and founder of Türkiye’s first metaverse agency STANDBY ME, spoke to TRT World about how the Metaverse will transform advertising and create new consumer experiences.
Much of the talk surrounding the Metaverse – seen as part of the next evolution of the internet, or ‘Web 3’ – is being discussed with the future in mind rather than where we stand today, given the nascent stage of the technology.
Billed as a $1 trillion market opportunity, one industry set to be disrupted in the process is the advertising world. The Metaverse will force brands to redefine how they interact with consumers and plan today for the experiences they will deliver in the Metaverse in the years to come.
One advertising firm is planning to get ahead of the curve before the future catches up with the industry. “We are building the future,” Can Yurdakul, founder and CEO of STANDBY ME Meta Agency told TRT World. “It’s not something we will see tomorrow but everyone is getting ready for because we will eventually.”
“With Web 3, we now have the chance to own what we create,” Yurdakul said in his opening remarks during a panel dubbed ‘Metaverse Design Powerhouse’ on May 14 at the TRT World Forum’s dynamic youth event, NEXT, an event designed to tackle major issues facing the global community. “This decentralised world gives us a chance to do behavioural marketing in 3D.”
Yurdakul emphasised how the Metaverse will not just transform companies and brands, but the way we purchase things. “We are now dealing with a ‘me’ culture, not ‘we’ anymore,” he underlined during his panel talk.
As the world’s first full-service Metaverse agency, Yurdakul said STANDBY ME aims to bridge the gap between technology and Web 3 experiences by bringing technology firms, brands and individuals together.
The first company in Türkiye to move to the Metaverse, STANDBY ME hold all meetings, debriefs, and conversations in their own Metaverse.
Regarding their workflow, the company composes an appropriate strategy first, using real-time data before transforming it into meta-data for marketing purposes that it then converts into consumer roadmaps for specific projects. The second phase is the creative and experiential design aspect of the 3D world, in which gamification strategies are adopted.
“Content is at the core of Web 3, but our surroundings are going to be in 3D, so we need to find the right link between ideas, creatives and experiences with the space and design of the metaverse,” noted Yurdakul. “The possibilities are endless, which is why as the creative economy we need to transform ourselves from advertisers that don’t only follow trends in marketing but in technology.”
As brands start to experiment with advertising in the Metaverse, they will need to ensure their strategies are mapped to the virtual worlds and the gamification at its core.
In the Metaverse, consumers will want to curate virtual environments to immerse themselves in experiences that attract them given the control they will have over what they see, create and engage with, and brands will have to reimagine relevant ways to interact with users.
“There are no limitations,” Yurdakul said, referring to the sorts of creative campaigns that can be engaged in and the digital assets that can be activated. “It’s like a menu you can pick from – NFT projects by artists to fashion shows with avatars.”
He also drew attention to how production processes will be altered. “For TV, why would I need to shoot with a celebrity with such high costs? It can be eliminated.”
The very idea of celebrity will also be called into question. “The way we know fame, it totally changes,” Yurdakul stated. “Can an avatar be more famous than the actual person? Will you have a dual contract with the real celebrity and their avatar?”
A new slew of challenges will come to the fore too. Wide-scale targeted advertising based on demographics will be less palatable, given how privacy and data security issues are more important to consumers. With Web 3, new levels of machine-generated content like avatars and digital objects will be created, while new data formats will be forged.
For Yurdakul, the Metaverse offers a way to help rebalance the discrepancies of the current Web 2 system. “We have a chance to design Web 3 for the better,” he declared. “Decentralisation is at the core, and privacy and moderation issues are all on the table.”
Türkiye leaps into the future
While progress in the field might be slow, Yurdakul sees it as an advantage to suitably design the human side of the Metaverse before the technology rapidly develops.
“Knowledge-sharing is very important,” he said, adding that his agency has also incorporated education as a key platform of its public outreach, working with institutions both in Türkiye like Bogazici University and internationally renowned ones like Oxford to offer post-doctorates on various Web 3 topics. “We have to change the way we think, and focus on change management more than ever.”
When it comes to Türkiye’s involvement in Web 3 technologies, Yurdakul is optimistic. “I see a huge potential for Türkiye. We always talk about the country’s strategic and geopolitical importance in bridging the gap between two continents. For the metaverse, it is the same: we are bridging the gap between universal and multicultural know-how, and technology.”
He believes the Turkish people’s high degree of adaptability to technology will serve them well as the industry evolves, noting that Türkiye is frequently among the global leaders in crypto adoption, digital asset trades, and mobile integration.
“We have young and well-educated people,” Yurdakul said, adding that it will be imperative to “revolutionise our education system” so that young talent can be harnessed and trained for careers in the industry long-term. “Our minds should be on the next chapter.”
While Yurdakul thinks that the initial stages of development will necessitate revolutionary technologies to be imported from abroad into Türkiye, he sees STANDBY ME trailblazing the way forward for future Turkish firms. “Why not export the usage of technology in the advertising world and set an example in a limitless and creative environment?”
And that’s precisely what Yurdakul hopes to achieve while his firm charts out a path that promotes creativity and collaboration between those in Türkiye and around the globe, as they build a stake in designing our future world(s).