Brand marketers face an array of challenges, ranging from increasing data privacy protections to the decline of organic reach on social media platforms. So it’s no surprise that marketers have embraced Web3 as a novel solution to some of these hurdles – especially the ability to provide consumers more control over their own data while fostering direct relationships that can’t be “owned” by gatekeepers.
By leveraging the power of blockchain, NFTs, and other Web3 technologies, brands can create more meaningful and personalized experiences for their customers, while also driving awareness, loyalty, and revenue. In this article, we'll explore how Web3 enhances marketing outcomes for brands and look at some examples of companies that are already leveraging these tools to build vibrant digital communities alongside their most passionate fans.
Direct connections between consumer and brand:
Blockchain technology presents a high-impact opportunity for brands to leverage the power of unique tokens and digital assets to drive customer engagement and loyalty - without going through a centralized gatekeeper.
By providing utility through these tokens, brands can incentivize their most passionate fans to engage further, ultimately leading to increased sales and revenue. Furthermore, the benefits of building a Web3 community with direct-to-consumer engagements continue to grow over time, as brands collaborate and listen to their customers' feedback.
With token-gating, brands can communicate directly with their fans, wherever they are, without having to pay for access to their followers. This sustainable engagement model provides long-term benefits for both the brand and its customers, leading to stronger relationships and a more significant impact.
EXAMPLE: Adidas /// Studio
Partnering with Web3 company Tokenproof, Adidas has a long-term deal to introduce token-gating, a feature that allows brands to grant preferred access to their drops, offers, or events via its NFT’s - into its Confirmed app. Adidas' Web3 studio co-founder, Erika Wykes-Sneyd, said that “the goal is not only to restrict product availability but also to ensure that specific groups have guaranteed access, eliminating the need to queue or compete with bots -creating ‘direct-to-fan’ or ‘direct-to-collector’ relationship”., Adidas shows us how they can connect directly with their most valued community members through token-gating. This encourages greater brand loyalty and a closer connection to their community.
More nuanced data controls:
By offering a unique blend of data privacy and transparency, Web3 provides brands with a secure and transparent process of collecting customer data. With every transaction publicly recorded on a ledger, brands now verify the authenticity of their data without relying too heavily on a centralized cloud platform that prioritizes profits over user privacy. On top of brands having greater autonomy over their data, users are equally empowered by Web3 as a result of the decentralized nature in which Web3 is built. If users decide that they would like a clean slate, they can simply create a new wallet to interact with a brand, in order to avoid sharing previous transactions. The consumer is in complete control of their data footprint – which is in dramatic contrast to the existing internet.
This control over data sharing leads to a more engaged and loyal user base, as customers feel they have a direct role in co-creating the project alongside the brand. By leveraging the power of individual wallets and token-gating, brands can develop more nuanced data controls for specific uses across communities, projects, and brands. This enhanced level of data control not only leads to greater user satisfaction but also helps to build trust between brands and their customers.
EXAMPLE: Nike’s .SWOOSH
Nike’s recent launch of customizable .SWOOSH domains is a perfect example of how brands can build new levers of data controls for their customers. Fans can claim their own .SWOOSH domain, and showcase their achievements, digital items and other aspects of their fandom, right there on a custom page created by the brand. It’s up to the user to decide what to showcase publicly — and from there, to choose their own adventure when it comes to contributing to the community.
More relevant personalization:
Another benefit of Web3 technology for brands is the ability to personalize rewards and perks incentives for customers — often referred to as “utility” in the Web3 space. These utilities are key drivers of engagement, providing a short-term incentive to join a Web3 project and reason to stay engaged over time.
These utilities, including exclusive access to products or special privileges within a brand's ecosystem, can drive engagement and boost customer loyalty over time. By leveraging wallet insights, brands can gather new data to shape their marketing strategies. Wallet insights allow brands to identify shared affinities across different wallets and identify opportunities for collaboration that are most likely to resonate with their target audience. This enhanced level of personalization not only increases customer satisfaction but also drives revenue, as customers feel valued and rewarded for their engagement with the brand.
Overall, Web3 technology enables brands to build deeper relationships with their customers by offering personalized incentives and rewards, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and advocacy. By leveraging wallet insights, brands can continue to refine their strategies and provide even more meaningful experiences for their customers.
Starbucks Odyssey is a new Web3 loyalty membership program for Starbucks customers. By leveraging the power of NFTs and other Web3 technologies, Starbucks is able to enhance the customer experience and build a stronger sense of community among its most passionate fans.
As members complete games, quizzes, and make purchases, they will receive new benefits and "immersive coffee experiences" that are exclusive to the program. Higher-tier membership will potentially include access to virtual classes, merchandise, or a trip to a Starbucks coffee farm.
One of the most notable element is that members are able to choose their own perks once they reach a certain tier. These utilities show us how more relevant personalization allows brands to better connect and engage with their community.
Opportunities for co-creation with fans:
Web3 technology offers significant opportunities for brands and customers to co-create together. Co-creation is a powerful driver of customer loyalty as it fosters a sense of ownership and community among fans. When brands work alongside their fans to build and create, it cultivates a feeling of shared purpose and belonging. Rather than a purely transactional relationship, co-creation creates a sense of collaboration and shared investment. With Web3, brands have the ability to engage customers in new ways, providing unique opportunities for co-creation that can lead to increased loyalty and advocacy.
The blockchain adds a new dimension to co-creation, offering consumers not just creative input, but also ownership of a new digital asset. It creates a sense of ownership and fosters a community-driven approach to marketing.
The possibilities for co-creation are endless and can positively impact all phases of the marketing funnel. A co-creation campaign can attract new customers, generate hype and sales, and foster brand loyalty. The collaborative aspect of co-creation campaigns can also spur innovation and creativity, helping brands differentiate themselves from competitors.
EXAMPLE: The Sandbox x The Walking Dead
The Sandbox is a virtual gaming world built on blockchain technology. It is a decentralized, community-driven platform where players can create, share, and monetize their gaming experiences – and co-create alongside the brands they love. One of the earliest metaverse movers was The Walking Dead franchise, which has run a series of “GameJams” in The Sandbox. These competitions encourage fans to use the IP to build new mini-games using the platform’s Game Maker toolkits By providing customized characters and skins for The Sandbox universe, The Walking Dead franchise gives its fans the opportunity to co-create new worlds with their fans in The Sandbox metaverse – such hands-on engagement is high-quality and hard to buy, which is why co-creation is so central to Web3.
In the end, It’s all about trust:
We’ve showcased some examples of how brands that have adopted & operate in Web3 have benefited greatly from features of the blockchain to amplify consumer engagement via transparency and openness. In today’s world, trust is invaluable for brands that are looking to deepen authenticity and credibility within their communities. As the Web3 ecosystem continues to grow and evolve, it’s crucial for them to invest and best position themselves for success amidst the inevitable shift toward direct-to-fan engagement. In the end, it’s all about trust.