Despite the volatility and instability surrounding cryptocurrency in the last few months, more brands than ever are incorporating blockchain technology into their business models. With major names such Starbucks, Walmart, Gucci and the National Football League among the many heavily investing in Web3, non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the metaverse, it is clear that these technologies are not going away anytime soon.
However, not all Web3 strategies are created equal. While some brands have had great success with their Web3 endeavors, others have flopped. Read on for a look at how three of the most influential brands in Web3 are using blockchain technology to deepen their relationship with their audiences.
What is Web3 and why are brands using it?
Before you can fully grasp the influence of blockchain-based marketing strategies, it is important to have a good understanding of Web3. To put it very simply, Web3 uses cryptocurrency’s core blockchain technology to build a version of the web that is decentralized and supports peer-to-peer interactions rather than relying entirely on centralized third parties like Meta, Google and Amazon for all our web needs.
Ownership and utility are at the heart of Web3. In a Web3 ecosystem, owning tokens or NFTs grants holders the power to make governance decisions and exclusive access to various perks. These principles are appealing to brands because they offer a clear incentive alignment. When consumers have ownership of the brand, they have the incentive to contribute to its success.
Part of the reason Web3 is difficult to grasp for so many is that it is still being built. Currently, companies and brands are slowly integrating Web3 technologies such as digital wallets, tokens, NFTs and virtual worlds into their existing operations and marketing strategies.
Below, let’s explore three brands that have successfully integrated Web3 into their businesses and examine how their strategies can help others looking to enter the space.
Since July, Reddit has quietly onboarded more than 2.5 million users into Web3 without actually using the words NFT, crypto or Web3. Nevertheless, Reddit’s Vault feature is a blockchain-based digital wallet that allows users to collect digital goods as they browse. What Reddit doesn’t say outright is that those digital goods are actually NFTs, which is what makes this Web3 strategy so influential.
In a world where people tend to be resistant towards change, getting users to adopt new technologies is tough – just look at how long it took the internet to become popular. To make matters worse, decentralized technologies don’t have the best reputation in the mainstream. Terms like “crypto,” “NFT” and even “Web3” sometimes have negative connotations due to some malicious actors who have taken advantage of the budding ecosystem for their own gain.
Despite this negative reputation, cryptocurrency and its underlying technologies have numerous benefits, and many brands are catching on. Reddit realized that the best way to onboard someone to a new technology like Web3 is to do so in a way where the user doesn’t realize they are using something new.
The main takeaway from Reddit’s Web3 launch is that making the onboarding process as smooth and simple as possible is key when working with audiences who are not native to Web3.
While Reddit’s quiet approach to Web3 works for onboarding users who may be resistant to crypto jargon, Nike provides a great example of how legacy brands can take a more straightforward approach to working in Web3.
Nike launched its first NFT collection, CloneX, in 2021 and shortly thereafter acquired RTFKT, a Web3-native company leading the way in sophisticated 3D characters for digital worlds.
Together with RTFKT, Nike has become one of the most successful brands in the Web3 space, dropping more than a dozen NFT collections that have generated $185.26 million in ether (ETH) from primary NFT sales and trading royalties, based on public blockchain data aggregated by Dune.
In November 2022, Nike announced it is taking its Web3 strategy one step further with the launch of a digital marketplace called dotSwoosh. According to swoosh.nike, dotSwoosh is “a new community experience, designed to give you the opportunity to co-create the future of Nike.”
DotSwoosh allows Nike fans to create, store and trade collectibles and virtual wearables. Holders will also have access to virtual events, exclusive content and the ability to preorder upcoming Nike drops. DotSwoosh is currently in beta but is expected to fully launch in January 2023.
With help from the Web3 native company RTFKT, Nike’s Web3 strategy creates a seamlessly blended experience for crypto-curious and Web3 native audiences alike while staying true to its legacy brand roots.
3. Liquid Death
Since the beginning, Liquid Death has had a very targeted marketing strategy with clear branding and positioning. While other water companies talk about purity, nature and taste, Liquid Death talks about murdering thirst and bringing death to plastic. It managed to make something really boring into something edgy and cool. Through provocative ad campaigns, Liquid Death has gained a cult following.
The Liquid Death Web3 strategy caters to this cult following and acts as a perfect continuation of the Liquid Death brand. In March 2022, Liquid Death launched Murder Head Death Club (MHDC), featuring a collection of 6,666 unique NFTs. The NFTs depict the severed heads of dead thirsts and were created by celebrated artist Will Carsola. The MHDC collection sold out in three hours after the launch. At an initial minting fee of 0.0666 ETH, MHDC’s launch generated around 445 ETH in sales for Liquid Death.
MHDC holders have access to an exclusive digital community, real-life experiences, Web3 airdrops and VIP access to all things Liquid Death, including merch, art and deals. In keeping with its brand values of sustainability, Liquid Death says it donates 10% of royalties from the MHDC collection to charities that help eliminate plastic waste and offset 110% of the carbon emissions from the initial mint.
Much of Liquid Death’s success with Web3 can be attributed to the fact that the brand is extremely clear on the interests and passions of its target audience. Liquid Death is a great example of how to stay true to your brand and foster a community with your most loyal customers and fans.
Learn more about Web3 marketing at Consensus 2023
As can be seen by the cases of Reddit, Nike and Liquid Death, Web3 is transforming the way brands grow new audiences and deepen their connections with existing customers. Join us at Consensus 2023 to learn more about influential brands and agencies leading the way for Web3 marketing. At the Web3 Creator and Brand Summit you will learn of more influential artists, entrepreneurs and companies that have successfully integrated Web3 technologies into their business.