Chain Branding: Why Marketers Are Redirecting Their Investments to Web3
In 2022, brands spent $297.5 billion on marketing in the United States. Worldwide, advertisers spent over $1 trillion. Even with the prospect of a looming recession, many marketers expect their budgets to increase in 2023. Reaching audiences on the Web2 doesn’t get any easier. As fast as the digital media landscape has evolved, it’s still fundamentally broken for brands, artists, and fan communities.
Brands face fragmentation. Today, a typical media mix for a large advertiser includes influencer campaigns, paid social media, short videos, TV ads, email, performance marketing, and more. Once you find your community in this fractured ecosystem, your relationship with it is mediated. You depend on third-party platforms and are limited by third-party data.
Straith Schreder is the Executive Creative Director at Palm NFT Studio. This editorial is part of CoinDesk Crypto 2023 series.
And while digital fan communities are more influential than ever, they lack the ability or incentive to meaningfully participate in a brand’s story online. You can love a message, but you can never own it.
Web3 offers an alternative. What NFT-based experiences reinforce, above all else, is connection. You can encode rights in a way that compensates creators. You can give communities a stake in what they like. You can create pieces that show what is possible with art and technology; who live, breathe and respond to the moment. Above all, you can create something that fans see themselves in, whether a generative collection which makes the comic canon uniquely personal or an edited series that confronts you with your own value system.
So it’s no surprise that even amid market upheaval, major brands entered the space for the first time in 2022. To date, more than 100 brands have launched Web3 projects. Direct to avatar sales have become a $54 billion market. Nike announced a new home for co-created virtual goods. Starbucks’ new loyalty program uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to reward coffee drinkers. And DC’s Growing Web3 Platform gives collectors the ability to unlock comics and shape the barrel.
Read more: Web3 and its role in network state governance – Crypto 2023
As marketers continue to grow their online footprint, NFTs will become the technology standard for digital fan engagement. Just as every brand today needs a social media strategy for reach, every brand tomorrow will need a Web3 strategy to build deep, vertical community. NFTs will simply become the most natural way to create and share the things we love. In a landscape challenged by complexity and speculation, NFTs offer something transformative for brands: connection.
This visceral connection is encoded in each project. Your commitment to fans becomes more than a mission statement. It becomes a contract: co-ownership and space. NFTs will fundamentally change the way marketing works online. From radical personalization to community-generated traditions, the future of branding will begin in Web3.
See also: How Crypto Can Repair Its Reputation in Washington | Opinion
Generative art will be central to successful brand design
the sustained growth of generative art NFTs will influence how marketers approach experience design. As a generative artist Tyler Hobbs put it: “The value of a collection is around the collector and their contribution.”
Seeing yourself in a work of art is a powerful thing: 78% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer personalized experiences. Generativity will shape the fabric of branded content NFTs, as projects increasingly reflect the diverse perspectives of the collecting communities that participate in them.
Tokens will replace ticketing, online and offline
Of cognac tastings to Comic-Con screenings, NFTs have become the gateway to cultural events in 2022. Soon, they will be synonymous with live performance. More than five million Ticketmaster NFT were minted in flux in a six-month pilot. But you don’t need an arena visit to integrate token-gating. Closed community experiences will free up space for fans to dig deeper: creating a brand new channel for distribution, in-world storytelling, and impactful discussion.
Each object will have a digital twin
Your suitcase. Your sweater. Your sneakers. Everything you own, in fact. Over the past year, a number of projects have explored the space between digital and physical realities. In turn, they’ve created a powerful new lever for bringing new audiences into Web3: it can’t just be a jpeg if it’s also a literal painting. Emerging brand projects will be visceral; offering objects you can touch through the screen and experiences that reflect the feeling of collecting in the real world.
Decentralized storytelling will change the IP landscape
Of Booty to Knightwatch, story-based NFT features have grown in popularity. As major brands and studios begin to enter Web3, we will see creativity enter its multiplayer era. Bearer communities will create and contribute to project knowledge. Collectors will become the protagonists; woven into the brand’s narrative universes. The stories we love will start over.
Frictionless platforms will accelerate adoption
It’s a tough time in crypto. (It’s a rough time, period.) Web3 is in its infancy, which means chaos and complexity but also possibility. When the big brands enter the space, a door opens behind them. The innovation we will see over the next year will make it easy for new fan communities to find their home in Web3. Purchasing an NFT will become as easy as any Web2 transaction. The way we build culture will start on-chain.
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