There is a notion that the world of blockchain and Web3 is hounded with the hype of fast money from cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as well as the presence of bad actors pulling tricks to attract investors. Some blockchain ventures also fall into the trap of only thinking about immediate returns rather than community, which is key to long term business success. These projects can unintentionally attract immature and clueless investors, which cannot propel a company’s business to greater heights compared to the active and engaged followers.
But the industry has been veering away from this pattern as Web3 and blockchain faced disruptions and breakthroughs in recent months. There are an increasing number of issuers, brands and companies offering responsible Web3 projects for their audiences and the masses, with real value beyond the speculations of instant earnings.
Some companies offer NFTs with additional uses, perks, benefits, access to other limited products and services, and many others. Some use smart contracts and adapt a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) structure to automate processes and increase transparency, efficiency and security both in business and in forwarding their causes. Others turn to NFTs and metaverse to offer better experiences to their followers, at the same time to advertise and market their offerings.
But let us look at some Web3 approaches that brands and companies use to draw and engage passionate fans and potential audience who are in it for the longer term, which can help in supporting long term growth and business success.
There are various blockchain based projects that are geared towards providing thrilling and exciting experiences for target audiences. Most of these are in the form of activities, benefits, or perks within the metaverse. Top firms such as Meta (Facebook), Microsoft and Disney are developing their own metaverses, while retail and consumer companies are launching their virtual offerings within existing metaverses. Their efforts aim to elevate the fan experiences surrounding their products and services, targeting the mass market and younger audiences.
Kelly DiGregorio, vice president of Partner Management & Operations at Dapperlabs, envisioned that future Web3 offerings will evolve more to provide another dimension of fan experiences where followers can be immersed and actively engaged, rather than just being a passive observer through the screen.
"An example is music videos and movies where before, we passively watch the video. But why can't we experience being in it in real time? It can be a rendered production. Video technology is evolving and can be repurposed to give fans special access. These offerings can create another level of fan ecosystems," DiGregorio said.
The metaverse is gradually providing these immersive experiences for fans through virtual reality devices that transport the user into a whole new world of wonder. VR can provide a long term growth potential for companies as the technology is shifting to unique virtual worlds and refreshing new experiences that you can access and spend hours in wherever you are in the world.
If a brand or company decides to launch an NFT collection, offering only collectibility, scarcity, and anticipation of higher returns will not be as valuable in the long term compared to utility NFTs that hold real world value. Attaching as much value to an NFT collection as possible will make it timeless, of top tier quality to fans and followers, and can increase its worth over the years as the value speaks for itself.
The added value can be in the form of benefits such as freebies for life; perks that unlock early access or exclusive access to a limited product or service; a membership to a special club with privileges; other exciting uses for the NFT; a physical equivalent of the NFT; rewards or cash back in holding the NFT, and many more.
It is crucial for issuers to have a clear, strategically planned and secure NFT roadmap that will be appreciated by their followers. It outlines future plans and great things to come for the NFT holders, incentivizing them to hold the tokens for a long time. Companies must deliver on what was promised based on their roadmaps and provide protection or security to users to increase the credibility and worth of the company and their NFTs.
This is why top NFT collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have amassed a great deal of following from the most influential and affluent people. They presented solid roadmaps that clearly state the current and future benefits to be anticipated and delivered on time. Exciting plans for their NFTs include access to exclusive club merchandise, and being able to use their NFT as avatars in a cool and futuristic metaverse which is currently in development.
Integrating gamification elements to blockchain based projects is a proven way to keep the audience actively engaged and keep their affinity towards the brand or company.
For example, an NFT collection can be used as avatars to play a game, or it can be a reward for winning game challenges. Users can collect, level up, and be rewarded more rare things as the game progresses. By giving them thrilling game experiences and special rewards along the way, users grow with the brand as they engage with activities and offerings, and will be happily inclined to patronize the company's products and services, especially the ones related to their favorite game.
Note that gamifying a Web3 project doesn't happen only once. Like any digital offerings, it needs to be updated, secured, renewed and revamped along the way to make it relevant for years. Gamifying certain parts of a Web3 strategy will drive healthy engagement and patronage from new, potential and existing fans that can last years when done right.
All in all, a Web3 project is elevated to a high regard among fans and can even stand out in the eyes of potential long-time customers through integrating as much value that is relevant to the target audience. Brands and companies need to first believe in the change that the blockchain technology will bring, and second, be responsible and committed to execute their vision and delivering value through their Web3 projects as they promised. Instead of focusing on the digital assets, the hype and attracting short-time speculative traders and investors, a strong commitment in delivering responsible Web3 projects will lead to a healthy and active relationship between the company and its loyal community. This will then prop up the company’s trajectory for years.
As DiGregorio puts it, “The more that you bake utility and long-term community and long-term perks, that drives engagement in a really healthy way. The more you’re just focused on the digital asset itself as a collectible, the more you’re attracting speculation as opposed to attracting the type of user that’s going to be in it for the long road. I think that leads to a healthier Web3 industry overall.”
Whether the efforts are intended to increase revenue or community – such as sales, subscriptions, or new follower count – it is the same act of audiences’ interaction and engagement with the brand that contributes to the success of the business. The difference lies within the company’s responsibility and commitment to deliver value relevant to their audiences.