Unleashing Web 3.0 for Brands

Use cases and critical questions for blockchain and the Metaverse

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Blockchain can be utilized as an open ledger to catalog and store works attributed to a brand.

The revolution of blockchain and Web 3.0 is upon us — readily understandable or not. This emerging tech continues to garner excitement, media attention, and skepticism alike. While it might feel like we’re participating in a live-action movie, it’s fascinating to watch and participate as an industry is constructed around us (and by us) in real time.

I’m most interested in what the Metaverse can offer retail, fashion, and luxury brands, from securing their intellectual property, to engaging with consumers in boundlessly creative ways. Here’s where I see the most potential in Web 3.0 for brands moving forward.

Securing IP on the blockchain.

Blockchain is an open, distributed (decentralized) ledger, layered on the top of the internet’s scaffolding that can record transactions between entities in a secure, verifiable, and permanent way. With blockchain, brands have a new way to think about registering their IP and/or providing evidence of its use.

Creatorship, proof of ownership, origin, can be difficult to document and hard to prove. ‘On Chain’ transactions offer secure timestamping and protocols to eliminate this roadblock for the future.

Moreover, in the fast-paced, creator-centric world of Web 3.0, trademark filing for brands is a must, due to nascent threats that brands large and small are already facing in these virtual spaces As evidenced in the recent Vogue Business article by Maghan McDowell,

Question: How can brands secure their copyright and IP ownership and use on chain throughout their creative lifecycle?

Brands + NFTs = Consumer Engagement

Brands are constantly looking to show up where their consumers live, work, and play, so it makes sense that NFT-based initiatives have become an entrypoint to Web 3.0 for many brands in the past year. When done thoughtfully these “non-fungible tokens” act as a direct connection to loyal fanbases, consumers, and Web 3.0 enthusiasts. The NFTs themselves can act as a reward, an admission ticket to an exclusive event or community, or even hold utility in the real world or metaverse alike. The elasticity of what an NFT can offer is endless and the overall approach a brand takes to community building will be the measure of success. A brief survey of NFT programs that generated millions of USD in minutes, yields five key elements that brands successfully employ:

Cultural Relevance (Storytelling) Why does it matter? What’s the reason for the program, will funds support impact-initiatives? Will NFT holders have the ability to be taken on a journey or be in the know on upcoming events, campaigns, or partnerships? A compelling story undoubtedly captures an audience, make sure yours makes sense.

Creativity/Point of Issuance: One of the most freeing aspects of Web 3.0 is releasing the restraints of the physical world and embracing creativity, imagination, and playfulness. Brands should have fun and be inclusive in this process. In fact, invite tastemakers, for example the native crypto-art community can help shape a new and refreshed brand presence. A brand’s participation in the drop also provides future NFT holders with additional confidence in their NFTs value.

Community: The sense of community in Web 3.0 is an evolution (or revolution) to the Web 2.0 mentality. Participants are just that, they are active, they’re looking for ways to contribute, have a voice, and directly influence the value of their experiences. This collectivism can be uncharted territory for brands. If brands trust the community, build a presence with a story, and lean in with creativity, imagination, and playfulness, I’m convinced this new medium will surprise them (and let’s be clear, I’m here for it!).

Scarcity: From common to super rare; maybe what’s more important is thinking about the number and frequency of NFT drops (think: sustainable NFT programs) and what benefits different types of NFTs grant their holders. How can those rights (vs. cash grabs) be immediate and part of sustained road maps.

Utility/Rights: NFT holders want more than the ownership of a JPEG, they want a piece that holds utility and rights of its own. Do NFT holders get discounts, in real life experiences, maybe access to an exclusive part of a microsite? Whatever it may be, this is a way brands can reward loyal fans and early adopters directly. Even if all of the rights aren’t written yet, providing NFT holders insight with your roadmap can tease out ways of thinking about benefits in the future.

Question: How can Brands easily onboard consumers new to Web 3.0 while engaging with Web 3.0 enthusiasts? How can you meet consumers in the middle?

A Brand’s Sustainable Roadmap for Securing, Engaging, and Growing in Web 3.0

While most early tech initiatives are great ways for brands to learn, test, and experiment, they should be encouraged to plan strategically. Laying a foundation and roadmap that considers both IP security and brand engagement, provides brands with the maximum flexibility and utility to build their reach and value through Web 3.0 technologies.

Question: How can brands leverage Web 3.0 to tell stories that build community sustainably? What thought partners, strategists, and technologists exist to support them?

Interested in sustainability planning and actioning your brand’s Web 3.0 presence? Reach out.

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Erin Narloch

Erin Narloch

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Futurist, fashion & culture nerd, storytelling expert, & metaverse maven in the making. Complex → simple by creativity, some midwestern hard-work, & chutzpah.