Trailblazers Spotlight - with Charles Hambro, CEO of GEEIQ

“Trailblazers Spotlight – The Leading Innovators in Web3 & Metaverse Marketing” — a curated series celebrating the visionaries and innovators shaping the future of web3 and metaverse marketing.

We recently sat down with Charles Hambro, one of the brilliant minds behind GEEIQ, to unravel the secrets of navigating the metaverse for brands. If you’re eager to explore how data can supercharge your brand’s journey into immersive digital spaces, this conversation is a must-watch!

Meet the Minds Behind GEEIQ In this insightful chat, we get up close and personal with Charles Hambro, co-founder, CEO, and resident Geek (spelled G-E-E-I-Q!), as he spills the beans on what makes GEEIQ the go-to platform for leveraging data in the metaverse🌐.

Dive into the conversation and unlock the secrets of success in the metaverse!

"GEEIQ has really cleared and mapped the industry, which I think can be confusing, especially to people who are just joining. But to have a clear map from a bird's eye view and see where every brand is and what they're getting back, I think we've done that very well."

Charles Hambro

GEEIQ in Innovators guide


GEEIQ stands out as a pioneering force, led by visionary Charles Hambro. Positioned as a transformative platform, GEEIQ provides brands with unparalleled access to real-time insights, revolutionizing their approach to navigating the immersive realms of the metaverse.

At GEEIQ, the ethos revolves around empowering brands with actionable data. The company’s mission is clear: to guide brands of all sizes through the complexities of virtual environments and user-generated content platforms, equipping them with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions in the digital sphere.

What sets GEEIQ apart is its unwavering commitment to clarity and innovation. With a meticulously mapped metaverse and a proprietary Geek Score, brands gain a comprehensive understanding of their performance, setting new benchmarks for excellence in the digital realm.

However, GEEIQ transcends being just a platform – it’s a thriving community. Passionate about fostering collaboration and driving industry-wide change, GEEIQ is dedicated to supporting brands and agencies alike on their journey to success.

Discover the future of digital marketing with GEEIQ. Join the community today and unlock boundless opportunities in the ever-expanding metaverse.

Dan Barry (00:03.611)
We're meeting today with Charles Hambro, co -founder, CEO, and Geek. Geek being spelled G -E -E -I -Q, which I find to be super clever. Geek is an enterprise platform that leverages data to help companies navigate the metaverse effectively. Charles is really, really excited that you could be joining us here today.

Charles Hambro (00:27.266)
It's a pleasure to be here.

Dan Barry (00:29.755)
So let's dive right in, okay? Can you first start by describing the space geek is end and how should brands be treating it say compared to other social media channels?

Charles Hambro (00:44.462)
Yeah, sure. So, I suppose that that word metaverse is kind of used a lot and is still confused a lot as well. It's, yeah, do you need a headset to wear it to be in there and all of this stuff? So I'm going to avoid trying to use that word when describing the space we're in. But maybe it's important to talk about the spaces we're not in.

Dan Barry (00:56.795)
That's an understatement.

Charles Hambro (01:14.094)
And then that will get to where geek plays and, and, and where we're not as in traditional media. And that would be kind of media buying print TV and radio, uh, very much the kind of traditional way of marketing for brands. And then. Interestingly, we're not really in digital media. So that would be kind of websites, social media, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, uh, that sort of thing.

we play in immersive media. So most clearly defined as virtual environments. And that would be in the area that we describe as a new communication vertical, which is these user generated content platforms that are 3D in nature. So Instagram would be a 2D user generated content platform. YouTube would be a video user generated content platform.

Roblox would be a 3D user generated content platform. And it's those sort of emerging platforms that Geek plays in. And we really sit at the intersection between brands looking at those spaces and activating in those spaces and understanding what they should do and what their return on investment could be. And then eventually what it is.

But then we also sit at the intersection between agencies and studios that also play in that space and work with brands. And we support those studios with data and then the platforms themselves.

Dan Barry (02:53.819)
Gotcha, gotcha. So if you could explain that, that's a really, really good explanation. So what differentiates say, and I know you don't like to use the word metaverse, but let's say a metaverse or a 3D activation compared to traditional social media, you had mentioned YouTube and Instagram.

Charles Hambro (03:16.046)
Yeah, there's so many things. I mean, we can start with from a user experience perspective. What's the difference between, you know, as a user using Instagram to a user using roadblocks? Well, first of all, it's just that the content itself is three dimensional, whereas the content in traditional social media is two dimensional.

What's not different is devices. You know, you can enter these 3D virtual worlds on your PC, laptop, mobile, in the same way that you can with 2D platforms like Instagram. But what that means as well is that from a user perspective, what you are feeling is very different. The communication is active as opposed to passive.

particularly in social media, you can be in a state of, I think we all know the sort of zombie scrolling kind of state where you're passively kind of ingesting content, particularly on TikTok. You kind of, I have TikTok and I forget where the hours go. It's kind of terrifying. Whereas, and you would say that's kind of a subconscious communication and brands go in there and try and subconsciously get into your mind by doing advertising and branded content in that space. Whereas,

For these immersive platforms, it's very different. It's kind of conscious. You're consciously in there because you have to be, because you're moving around. It's not content being fed to you. It's content that you're interacting with. So I think the biggest difference would be conscious versus subconscious and active versus passive, which is obviously incredibly important.

to businesses and brands when reaching communities. What that also leads to is user time. And we see that in the data itself is when you're active, you spend more time in these platforms to when you're passive. So, and then we can talk about social and, you know, how social is traditional social media and television and print to how social is these.

Charles Hambro (05:33.816)
these virtual environments when you're going in your real time with your friends as opposed to, you know, looking at a picture that someone posted two hours ago.

Dan Barry (05:42.939)
Exactly, exactly. So what specifically then is the service that Geek offers brands and especially brands that are just getting into this space for the first time?

Charles Hambro (05:53.858)

Charles Hambro (05:59.342)
Well, I think the service, because we're not an agency, again, let's start with what we don't do. The service isn't doing the production side of things. So building the virtual worlds, doing the legwork on getting all these developers together and releasing it, working with content creators and influencers to create assets and promote the experience, doing media buying on these platforms.

The execution side of things is not what we do. What we do do, especially in the use case that you said for new brands that haven't been involved is because we're essentially an aggregator of all these different virtual worlds and we have all of the data, we present a map of the industry. So we're at the very start of the process where first of all, a brand goes, well, what is virtual worlds? Oh, there's my thumbs up. I forget that this happens on this thing.

What is virtual worlds? Why virtual worlds for my brand? And then with the data, what are my objectives of now I know what it is. Now I know why, what are the objectives of what I want to do? And then we match the opportunities using the data with those objectives, which then leads to an RFP process with a studio who's going to build. And then once that has been built, it is again,

constant reiteration back to the data of what have we done and what's happened and therefore what should we do next. You would do the same thing in traditional social media with a Nielsen for example for TV. You kind of you create your advert, you put the advert out and then you want to see how many people view that advert and who those people were and that should inform what next advert you should do. So that's where we sit. It's that constant line throughout the entire process that's really doing the strategy and

and the optimization and the reporting.

Dan Barry (07:58.235)
Gotcha. Gotcha. Excellent. So, so do you often, uh, I'm kind of curious, do you often have clients that they first come to you and maybe they're fixated on doing Roblox or Fortnite or, or, or something like that. But then as you start reviewing the data, really kind of finding out like who their audience is, et cetera, that you end up, uh, uh, kind of like going in a different direction than they had initially thought they were going to.

Charles Hambro (08:27.694)
Yes, sometimes. So sometimes brands will come very sort of open of we really don't know anything. We don't even know whether we want to enter. We just want to know what this is and whether we should go in.

Dan Barry (08:29.979)

Charles Hambro (08:42.382)
And then sometimes you have some really passionate brands that go, you know what, X, my competitor went in here and we want to go in here. And we've got this idea of how we should go in here. What do you think? And at that point, you really got to take a step back and go, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Just because your competitor went in, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should go in.

into that particular environment. My competitor went into Fortnite, so I should go into Fortnite. My competitor went into Zipetto, so I should go into Zipetto. No, it's first, let's take a step back. Is your objective the same as your competitor? Maybe your competitor had a completely different objective for going in that space. So...

To answer your question, yeah, absolutely. We have brands that come to us already with a fully fledged idea. And then when you start to look at the data, it's not us that says, oh, you should change. It's the data that goes, this doesn't make sense. Or maybe it does make sense, but it's really, first you've got to validate it.

Dan Barry (09:46.683)
I get you there 100%. So, so if you could walk us through kind of like your typical client relationship. So it's, you know, so it, you know, you have your starting point in terms of, okay, let's, let's start understanding your brand, how, and which virtual brand could, could, or virtual world, excuse me.

Charles Hambro (10:13.378)

Dan Barry (10:14.107)
could be the most apropos and fit what they should be doing. And then you work with a studio or you put the RFP out. And I guess probably my question is more the ongoing, more so than just the beginning, but what is the roadmap in terms of the customer journey from your standpoint?

Charles Hambro (10:37.078)
Yeah, we are.

Charles Hambro (10:42.318)
So it's all going to depend on the client obviously, but let's start with a brand that hasn't gone in that has an interest in going in the space. The first point of call is normally with this stuff, we're speaking to the head office. It's very rare that we speak with a regional team because this, a brand that hasn't gone in usually doesn't have a department that's dedicated towards virtual worlds.

It's a bit like speaking to a brand about social media when they're doing print TV and radio advertising, they don't have a social media team. So normally it's in the head office, normally it's at C level. So either the CEO or CMO, and it's having discussions with them about creating a new department in their company.

On the flip side of that, sometimes it's brands who have already gone in, they know what they're doing and they just want access to the data that we have, at which point it's very easy. And then we plug them in, email and password, here's the geek platform. You know what you're doing. You know how to use it. If you want to use our experts and services, of course we can upgrade to that, but let's start with the original. So once the sign -off is with the CEO and the CMO, then it's, okay, let's help build out the team. And then.

Once we've got that, we have what we call the champion in the brand and the champion is the person number one who is going to head up virtual worlds for X brand. And our job is to attach an account director and usually account manager as well from Geek who is working with that particular individual for a set number of hours every month, being an extension of that individual's team.

And the first mission is to build out the case, most importantly, the strategic case, but then also the financial case of why this brand should head into this environment. And that takes some time. The first thing you need to know is you need to kind of understand the brand. You need to understand the black brands, particular goals and objectives. You need to understand that brand's values. And then a lot of that is about internal communication and.

Charles Hambro (12:56.814)
you know, when you're creating a new department in a brand, you need to make sure that the legal department is aware of this. You need to make sure the finance department is aware of this. You need to make sure the social media department is aware of this. You need to make sure that agencies who are already working with the brand are aware of this as well. And sometimes their agencies are brought in at this stage because obviously they are their executors. So very often, sometimes we're upskilling and educating the agencies as well as the brand themselves.

And then I suppose there's a sort of budget review and we go through, okay, strategically, this is what we're going to do. Strategically, this is what the budget is for this year. And then it's right. Okay, now we've got our strategy. We've looked at the data. We understand what platforms we need to enter. Once we understand what platforms we need to enter, we've done a bit of work of how would we enter? And then that's when the RFP process comes in, which is...

Okay, we've decided that it's Sepeto we need to enter. There is a host of studios that build activations in Sepeto. Let's build a brief to reach out to those studios, very much how a brand would do in traditional film production for a TV advert. And the quality of that brief has to be amazing because the better the brief, the better the experience at the end of the day and the better feedback we're going to get from the studios.

Dan Barry (14:11.323)

Charles Hambro (14:24.046)
And then we sit on, you know, we, we handle that whole process. So we're sitting on calls with the brand because we've done this many, many times before. We know what questions to ask where someone in the brand might not know because they may not be as experienced. And maybe it's their first time doing it, which I think is kind of a double edged sword for the studios because in one way that's rather frustrating to have someone who's a bit of a nerd on the other end of the.

On another way, it's kind of useful because you know that you don't have to do education yourself and that actually this is all clued up and we all know what we're doing here. So then at that point, the brand will have a list of options with select pricing and different pricing from different studios. And this is an important point, Dan. It's always the brand that decides on what studio they go with. It's actually not Geek. So...

Geek has sat there presenting the options, but it's not our job to finally decide on who the brand is going to contract with. Because at the end of the day, it's not Geek that is contracting with the studio. It's the brand that's contracting with the studio directly. Geek wants to kind of get out the way of that process. And that's why we're not an agency. I think typically an agency would speak to the brand and then speak to the studio and there'd be a communication channel here.

and a communication channel here and they don't often put the two together, whereas we will put them together directly. And then during the build process, that account director and account, oh, phone went off, sorry. During the build process, that account director and account manager will be on all of those schools with the studio advising and making sure that what is being built is correct.

and adjusting strategy and making sure that everything is being data led right down to the influences that the brand may be working with to promote it, to building items. Everything will be from a data led perspective. And then the bit that you said is interesting, your interest in it is once the experience is released, again, those weekly calls are there every week, making reporting on the data.

Dan Barry (16:40.795)

Charles Hambro (16:42.988)
with the studio and with the brand, constantly fine tuning and adjusting what is happening to make sure that this is a success because a lot of the time these experiences are evergreen, like an Instagram profile is evergreen. You don't stop. So, but that goes right the way back to the initial conversation with the CEO and CMO. They've been educated in such a way that...

and they look at the space in the same way Geek does as a new communication channel. You very often can tell the brands that are going in when they go in with a temporary experience or whatever it is, that's great. And sometimes we do that because that's part of the test and learn process. But one shouldn't be looking at this space as just a one -off campaign. One should be looking at it as a consistent communication channel.

Dan Barry (17:38.267)
No, no. I appreciate that. That was a very detailed answer. That helps a lot. So you had mentioned studios and I've been in the video.

Charles Hambro (17:50.136)
Studios are agencies, by the way. It's not just studios that are building experiences now. That used to be the case. Now what we're seeing is a lot of agencies are building experiences. So.

Dan Barry (17:55.131)

Dan Barry (18:01.243)
Okay. Okay. Yeah, that was, that was kind of going to be my next question. So you, so you have this initial consultation, you create the, the RFP. So, so, so that entire space is kind of changing almost probably on a, on a daily, weekly, monthly basis as to, uh, because I'm sure there's studios, like there's probably some brands that they, they, and maybe let's say that their agency.

Charles Hambro (18:16.416)
Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Barry (18:27.867)
doesn't have much experience. So they're really then depending on you giving them a list of studios and suppliers that can kind of help them out. So let's say in addition to studios, are there other types of, let's just say services or other recommendations as part of the overall process that you are recommending as well or?

Charles Hambro (18:32.94)

Charles Hambro (18:55.15)
Yes, yes, absolutely, because there's multiple elements to an experience. So someone that's going to build a Roblox experience might not.

Dan Barry (18:59.803)

Charles Hambro (19:04.046)
necessarily be great at doing the video content for traditional social media for that experience. That might be a traditional agency that's great at that. You might not want to work with that studio to do the influence of marketing around that particular experience. You might want to go to an influencer marketing agency that's great for that. By the way, brands, most of them will have an agency of record that handles that as well, which might want to do a bit. So,

Dan Barry (19:13.883)

Charles Hambro (19:33.07)
So yeah, hopefully that answers your question. It's all aspects and areas of virtual. If we're talking about parts of the strategy might include loyalty, of which point we might want to connect them with a company like Flaunt that is doing loyalty programs inside Roblox. I believe Super League Gaming is now, they've come out with their own loyalty product, which may be great to use. So.

Dan Barry (19:43.739)

Charles Hambro (19:59.982)
You know, because again, because geek is in the kind of unique situation where we don't do the execution. We have the entire ecosystem to offer to brands. One thing I would just really caveat that's very important is we don't, we don't do any exclusive partnerships with studios or, or the ecosystem. Funny enough, studios use geek and, and subscribes. Some of the studios are our customers, but.

Dan Barry (20:09.851)
Right, right, right.

Charles Hambro (20:29.39)
We don't do any sort of deals with studios where we will, that they're always put forward on the list or anything like that, because that would completely be a huge conflict of interest for us, as much as I'd love to.

Dan Barry (20:41.979)
Yeah. Yeah, you could probably make a lot more money short term, but at the end of the day, you lose all your credibility.

Charles Hambro (20:47.63)
Absolutely. I mean, the typical thing is you say, hey, I'll put you in front of the brand and then we'll get a sort of 20 % kickback of exactly what the brand is going to pay you, which isn't going to work because at the end of the day, we're a SaaS subscription model. So the incentive is to make sure that this is a successful experience, even if we do a deal with a great studio that will conflict.

it potentially being the best experience for the brand. And we'd have to disclose it and kind of all of that stuff. And we just don't want to have to go through that process. One of the, yeah, it's a really, really important point that, and that's why, you know, I'm excited that agencies are starting to do roadblocks experiences and sub -ethos experiences beyond studios. What we will do and what judges are RFP.

Dan Barry (21:26.747)
Nope, nope.

Charles Hambro (21:44.142)
is we look at the data. So purely based on for fashion and apparel, if we're working with a fashion or apparel brand, which studios and or agencies have built experiences that have strong results for that category. And that's going to be the basis of the partners we put forward, nothing else.

Dan Barry (22:05.019)
Yeah. And I think where you're at right now is a good opportunity, I think, to highlight the importance of having a single source of truth across all metaverse activations. So yeah, so if you could get into that a little bit, because I feel that this is probably one of the key factors in terms of like what Geek is offering.

Charles Hambro (22:20.75)
of reporting and data is the key focus.

Charles Hambro (22:34.35)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a really important point you raise and it's something that Nilsson did for TV is they came out with the Nilsson score.

Dan Barry (22:34.403)
So, yeah.

Charles Hambro (22:44.814)
which is a kind of overarching score that every CMO will understand. And you know, you kind of come out with a TV advert and you can go into the fine tune data points of all of the different points about television, but actually just tell me what the Nielsen score is so that I know whether this is above or below par. And I know whether we got a return on investment back and in Geek we have that. So because we've aggregated all of this data across all of these different virtual worlds, we actually have a Geek score.

And that is slowly becoming a sort of benchmark for a lot of these brands is understanding if we're going into roadblocks and we're hitting these targets, whether it's user time, whether it's retention, whether it's a number of visits and basic things like this, this all culminate later together in context of the brand category you're in, what is the score? And yeah, that's...

That's a big thing for us. And that's why we're not just used by brands. We're used by studios and agencies as well, because they want to understand that single source of truth, whether they're going into a Cepeto experience or a Roblox experience or a Rec Room experience. How do you compare apples with oranges? It's very difficult. And that's the sort of thing we're trying to do. One of the things we're looking to do in the future and we're working on,

is having this communication vertical directly compared with traditional social media as well, so that we can really compare return on investment in both stages. One of the things I'm really excited for that we're starting to see in this space is, you know, I think these emerging platforms are brilliant for awareness, and they're great for consideration. But for conversion, that's the big...

That's the big question mark is I put $1 in, how many dollars did I get back out? And I'm really happy to say that Geek is solving that conversion issue. And these platforms are starting to work very hard on enabling the technology to do that.

Dan Barry (24:56.571)
No, that's super excited to hear that I've seen some of your I've seen your data and it blows me away. The first time we had met you were like getting into it. I was like, wow, this is this is really awesome. So I'm

Charles Hambro (25:04.398)
Thank you.

Charles Hambro (25:10.894)
I mean, I would say if the brand was going into social media and they weren't looking at the data and they were just kind of guessing, they'd get fired. So they should really, there's no reason why they shouldn't consider it for this channel too.

Dan Barry (25:28.443)
So last question. So what types of brands represent your ideal customer and why? I don't know if you're even able to answer that question, because I've seen a lot of your different clients. But if you had to say, here is a perfect scenario for us, who would that be?

Charles Hambro (25:54.894)
Yeah, so I think and geek has kind of evolved as time has gone on, you know, geeks like five years old, which in metaverse world is kind of ancient. Exactly.

Dan Barry (26:04.891)
It's like a century.

Charles Hambro (26:08.504)
our first customer who we're still working with, our longest standing customer and our first customer was Gucci. And I think we became known quite early on as the sort of luxury fashion people for immersive experiences and virtual environments.

And whilst we have, you know, fashion is a bit of a wheelhouse for us and we have a lot of fashion brands that work with geek, not just luxury brands, but, you know, mainstream brands like H &M, for example. We've really started to diversify and now, you know, NASCAR use us and Porsche use us.

You know, now it's so that's an automotive, but then in retail, as you know, Walmart is a customer of ours. Um, so, and then with entertainment, it's Elton John and there's several others that I can't really talk about at the moment, but an ideal brand customer at Geek is there isn't really one because we come in at every stage. So we're delighted to work with brands who are new to the space and upskilling and education is a big plus at Geek and it's something we're very good at.

Dan Barry (26:55.419)

Charles Hambro (27:19.63)
But those brands who already have experiences and are already working with agencies and studios that need to add in, punch in that data element to it, we come in at every stage. So they could already have the experience, here's access to the platform, here's access to your private GeekData dashboard, start measuring ROI here. And if you really want support from our services team, of course, we can add experts to this. But...

Yeah. Ideal customer for a brand is anyone that is part of the attention economy or that is looking to get people's attention at the moment. That's pretty much every single brand B2C brand in the world. Soon it's going to be not just attention, but purchasing with...

Dan Barry (27:53.243)
Anybody who's doing social media right now, right?

Charles Hambro (28:17.454)
conversion being a big change that's going to happen in these platforms this year. I do want to caveat that, you know, the ideal customer for Geek isn't just brands, but agencies too. We want to really supercharge and help support agencies and working with their customers using our data and intelligence and insights. You know, I really don't want to be just kind of, we're just here for brands. We're here for the ecosystem. We're here for agencies as well.

Dan Barry (28:46.073)
No, totally. I mean, if you're not working with the top 50 brands or top 50 100 agencies, you should be so 100 %

Charles Hambro (28:55.822)
Yeah, they're coming and we do have agencies there, our customers of ours, which we love working with.

Dan Barry (29:05.339)
No, no, I again, I appreciate you joining us today. Charles, it's again, from the very first time I met you and you started showing me all your data was like, these guys are the best. I feel you're the best in the industry in terms of what you're doing. And so I think your potential is is unlimited. So I really appreciate you sharing. And

Charles Hambro (29:27.502)
That's really kind of down. I think what just a quick one on that. One of the things that that I think is valuable that we've really done very well and there's lots of things where we're going to work on and do even better. But we've really cleared and mapped the industry, which I think can be confusing, especially to people who are just joining. But to have a clear map of.

it from a bird's eye view and looking down and seeing where every brand is and what they're getting back. I think we've done that very well.

Dan Barry (30:05.441)
Extremely well, so kudos to you guys for that. So anybody who's listening or watching, if they're interested in working with Geek, how can they get a hold of you?

Charles Hambro (30:17.55)
Well, first of all, what I would say is, have a look at our reports, they're free. Go in and onto geek .com and download them and you'll see some of our insights for reports. That's where you'll get kind of a taste of the data that we have. And then of course, reach out to us, grab a demo by going into the platform, reach out on LinkedIn. Delighted to speak to whoever would like to talk about Geek Out, I suppose, on data.

Dan Barry (30:45.727)
Totally, totally. Again, thanks for joining us today.

Charles Hambro (30:50.382)
Thanks, Dan.

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