Web3 isn’t just a buzzword. It’s poised to be the biggest paradigm shift marketers have felt since social media took the world by storm.
Why? Web3 marketing presents an unparalleled opportunity for brands to fundamentally change their tactics and connect with consumers on a deeper level. But not all brands are ready to take the leap. They’re understandably uncertain about whether blockchain, NFTs, and other metaverse realities can support their business goals.
Quite honestly, many companies aren’t ready to join this new digital world like other notable brands in the metaverse — e.g., Nike, Adidas, and GAP. Mass adoption will require time, creativity, and education. That said, brands and marketers ready to take the leap and unlock the value of Web3 will be positioned to stand out when the metaverse becomes less theoretical and more normalized. These are a few good ways to successfully adopt Web3 marketing.
1. Play around.
Treat Web3 as a prime opportunity to experiment. It won’t take a major hold for a few years. Now is the right moment to dip your toes in different waters and see how the metaverse could dovetail with and be meaningful for your brand.
You might think about selling digital products like NFTs, as just one example. We’ve seen a big jump in brands using this tactic. Though they might seem like an excuse to send out a press release, NFTs can have a purpose under the right circumstances. Take utility-based NFTs. Perhaps your brand’s NFT could give holders special access, ownership, decision-making power, or governance. In that case, it could help forge a unique consumer connection with your brand in ways that Web2 wouldn’t have been able to.
Custom research fielded by dentsu found that for branded NFTs to be relevant, consumers want added benefits like loyalty perks or programs (30%), physical products (27%), and access to exclusive in-person (22%) and virtual (20%) events. This gives brands freedom to experiment with what model works best for their business.
2. Plan for Web2 and Web3 to coexist.
It’s unlikely that Web3 will completely overtake Web2, at least for a long time. Chances are stronger that the platforms will coexist, which means your brand’s digital future will exist within a hybrid world that’s both centralized and decentralized as more use cases emerge and users are onboarded.
Privacy and security problems will exist, just as they do with Web2. Protecting consumer privacy and ensuring they have safe experiences will be a top priority. Maybe you’re open to bringing cryptocurrency into your customer experience. You’ll need to reconfigure your onboarding and education in a scalable, meaningful way. Newcomers may be intimidated by owning a crypto wallet and need a bridge experience whereby you act like Dapper and create a wallet on their behalf. That way, you can protect those entering the space by being a custodian of their wallets until they’re prepared to take over.
Whatever the case may be, marketers can’t just jump into Web3 overnight; there have to be centralized services that help mainstream adopters to onboard, understand the ecosystem, and see both its benefits and risks.
3. Assume exponential growth.
Only a few million people use cryptocurrency. About 1 million transact on OpenSea. With 37% of consumers surveyed by denstu citing education as a key barrier to entry for crypto, and 34% citing risk, adoption of the metaverse won’t reach peak capacity for a while. Still, it’s only a matter of time before more platforms begin introducing to and onboarding people for metaverse and web3 experiences.
For instance, MetaMask recently integrated Apple Pay onto its platform. Mastercard has partnered with Coinbase to allow users to buy cryptocurrency with the company’s card. These are clear signs that a surge is coming. In fact, according to our research, 77% of consumers — regardless of whether they own crypto — expect that retailers will start to accept it as a form of payment. You don’t need to follow the exact steps of these early adopters, but you should explore and experiment with how blockchain and other Web3 technologies could impact or enhance your communications, media strategy, and general business structures.
4. Create a Web3 brand strategy.
How will you position yourself among brands in the metaverse? How will you be viewed by the younger generation who will become Web3 natives? How about those who are Web2 purists but visit Web3? Your answers will dictate the platforms you use, the projects you spur, and the content you produce.
Web3 is your brand’s opportunity to make a lasting impact in the mind of someone purchasing an NFT for the first time or entering the metaverse in another way. Innovating and iterating now beforeWeb3 marketing booms will give you a huge head start.
Read more about consumer behaviors and adoption of Web 3.0 technology in dentsu’s Navigator report here.