The Web3 Brand Mentality: Tips for Marketers
Should brands get involved in web3? It’s a hot topic.
We are seeing brand activations and increasing presence in this new space, including major national companies getting in on the action. Recently, Starbucks announced its plans to launch its own NFT collection, and Budweiser and PUMA also got in on the action, announcing they’ll bring NFTs into the world of sports sponsorship campaigns.
With more companies starting to take the plunge into this new reality, are brand marketers prepared to determine if they, too, should get involved—even if to target NFT-related content? Or does web3 still feel more akin to the latest industry wave brands must ride for fear of missing out?
The answer starts with deep research and education on the topic in question.
In order to understand if it makes sense to ride the viral wave, brand marketers first need to ensure that they not only have all the facts but understand the nuances—both the larger ones as well as those that may only apply to their verticals. For web3, which encompasses distinct yet connected elements like cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the metaverse, that means understanding what’s been done in the space, who the players are, and where the gray areas are.
Are there controversial elements at play that might impact your brand’s decision to get involved? Could those controversial elements be areas of opportunity, or are they inherently risky?
For example, perhaps your brand is drawn to the topic of cryptocurrency in its various forms—Bitcoin, Etherium, etc.—because your customer segments include Millennials and GenZers, where ownership of cryptocurrency is highest. But a deeper dive reveals the controversy around how the mining of crypto has raised environmental concerns due to extreme energy use. How does that affect your brand’s approach to the topic?
To answer that question you have to know your brand deeply, all its facets, positions, and perspectives on any given topic or trend. This leads me to the next prescription.
Let your brand’s mentality be your North Star.
As marketers, we seem to inherently have FOMO, or fear of missing out on the latest trend or cultural topic. There’s often market talk about why it’s necessary to take measured risks once we’ve done our homework and “capitalize” on viral movements before the opportunity in question has come and gone.
What this type of talk doesn’t take into account is how important it is for a brand to act in alignment with its core values, feelings, and perspectives and to let them serve collectively as a brand’s unwavering North Star.
The question is not: “How will it look if we miss out on the buzz around this?” The question is rather: “Does getting involved in this or being aligned with that coincide with our brand’s mentality?” Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s too premature to jump in. That’s okay.
You have the right to change your mind. It’s most important to stay true, and on the pulse of shifting conversations, market sentiment, and overall dialogue.
The bottom line here is that the decision is less about whether or not to ride the viral wave of web3 and more centered on if the decision to get involved would ring true for your brand. If a company has taken the necessary time and resources to understand deeply who they are, what they stand for, and who it is they’re trying to reach, the rest will fall into place.
As new developments crop up on the web3 scene, your company’s opinions may evolve and change. What’s most important as a brand marketer is that you stay fully informed, abreast of new breaking developments, and stay “in it” for the right reasons.
If the decision is not authentic, no amount of time, research, or resources can solve the problem—plus, your brand’s target audience will see through it. They’ll feel something’s not quite right, and their lack of trust is more damaging to the brand than any missed opportunity.
Robert Helstrom is SVP of Marketing at Sightly.