It wouldn’t be completely truthful to say that by embracing Web3 your brand will be gaining first-mover advantage in the next frontier of entertainment media and fan engagement.
The likes of Budweiser, the NBA, Prada, Coca-Cola, Nike, Samsung and the BBC (Doctor Who: Worlds Apart) are just a handful of the many brands already diving headfirst into NFTs, the blockchain, crypto, the metaverse and more as they explore new and exciting ways to connect with their audiences.
But at the same time it’s still very early days when it comes to what is, put simply, the next-generation of the internet built around decentralised digital infrastructure. We’re somewhere between the basement and the ground floor as far as Web3 concept elevator pitches are concerned.
That said, the history of our cozily familiar (and highly centralised) Web 2.0 is littered with the carcasses of huge consumer brands that, at worst, failed to spot its potential and, at best, didn’t move quickly enough as others piled in. Perhaps most famously Blockbuster video couldn’t see beyond the DVD – and the rest, as they say, is Netflix.
So if you’re still wondering how the more direct relationships with consumers offered by Web3 could benefit your brand (first question: why are you still wondering? Market Forecast, then here are 5 reasons to focus your mind…
1/ Create immersive communities for your most loyal brand ambassadors
We all love to feel part of something. But what if you owned a stake in a thing and could influence how it works? There’s a reason fans of sports teams, especially those who enjoy a share of ownership, pledge their support through even the toughest of times. They feel part of something special that gives them (mostly) enjoyment and a feeling of togetherness. With the metaverse and NFTs, Web3 offers brands the opportunity to create amazing homes for their digital communities that don’t rely on one of the digital platform incumbents or paid ad spend to facilitate engagement. You can control your own digital destiny.
2/ Web3 will fundamentally change how marketing works
In the centralised world of Web 2.0 brands and platforms hold all the power. Web3 tips this hegemony on its head and puts the consumer in control. If your brand isn’t ready for this, you’re in danger of losing direct lines of communication with your fans. Not right now, but in five to 10 years. This is because in the Web3 world a consumer’s digital wallet holds all the power: their digital identity, preferences, money and, crucially, data. The consumer will decide if they want to share those details with you, with trust between both parties paramount. Your brand will need to earn consent to have conversations with fans, not buy consent via a 3rd party ad network or social media platform.
3/ Enter the metaverse
Definitions of the metaverse can vary greatly depending on who you ask, but one thing is clear, it’s going to be a key element of your Web3 strategy. Facebook’s parent even changed its name to reflect where it thinks the world is heading, though it’s arguable that Meta’s vision of the metaverse is that of a centralised platform holder trying desperately to remain relevant as its core demographic gets older and the world moves on. At Reality+ we think metaverse concepts should be bold, adventurous, compelling and open. There is huge potential in the interoperability offered by Web3 and this will define how fans move through different experiences with the same aforementioned digital identity. Indeed, PwC reckons the metaverse will be worth somewhere in the region of $1.5tn by 2030. To secure a place at the table you’ll need to create some special digital spaces for your fans to gather.
4/ NFTs are just getting started
An element that can run through all of the above is the humble Non-Fungible Token (NFT), which is perhaps the most established element of Web3 beyond the blockchain itself. Early incarnations of NFTs weren’t compelling enough, as we saw countless projects flood the market offering digital collectible products with little or no use beyond limited edition speculation. But today utility must be at the heart of all successful NFT projects, offering fans not just a digital collectible thing, but also membership of a club with all the trappings of that exclusivity in the form of real world special offers and benefits. We talked about fans owning a stake in their favourite things earlier, and the NFT is an amazing way of facilitating that.
5/ Have you read points 1-4?!
At Reality+ we believe that authenticity and alignment with personal values should be your main priorities when it comes to brand loyalty. Web3 offers an unprecedented opportunity to engage directly with Gen Z and Millennial consumers on their terms, creating a two-way channel of communication that can benefit both parties and forge deep relationships. The days of simply telling users what your brand stands for are over. The new, collaborative Web3 model brings businesses, followers and products closer than ever before through long-term, blockchain-powered NFTs, games, collectibles, artwork and much more.