Al Smith:
Associate Creative Director

WEB3 for Good

When social platforms first emerged, brands quickly realized opportunities for new impressions, data collection, and deeper market penetration to ultimately increase sales. But unforeseen consequences of these tactics included higher rates of depression, anxiety, vast distribution of misinformation, cyberbullying, and countless other unfortunate byproducts.

It’s easy to paint tech companies as the villain, but the reality is that all these negative outcomes were subsidized by brands. With the metaverse emerging as the new frontier, brands are (once again) eager to leverage their marketing potential. But this time around, brands could recalibrate strategies, refocus metrics and manage expectations with a more ethical goal in mind. In the same way that Web2 democratized information, Web3 has the opportunity to democratize experiences. This goes beyond branded virtual concerts and roller coaster rides. While those are valid creative executions, there are more meaningful ways to engage customers within Web3. To achieve this, brands need to move away from the traditional barometers of success like engagement time, impressions, and shares. By making human value the central framework for Web3, brands can create (and measure) productivity, creativity, education, health, entertainment, and more. They can also market more effectively and ethically while fostering a more authentic customer relationship.

General Mills could integrate their food catalog into kitchen technology (and is already doing so), helping families track dietary needs, food preferences, and grocery orders. Kia could create an AR car shopping experience that allows shoppers to experience every model configuration without going out and sitting in dozens of vehicles. Apple could create a Genius Bar in the metaverse where users can get “hands-on” tutorials and help from the comfort of their own homes.

Web3 is still evolving, and its final state is anybody’s guess. But brands have the opportunity – and perhaps the obligation – to learn from past mistakes and do better. By approaching this next chapter with thoughtfulness and intentionality, brands can increase engagement and transform the world for the better.

The result will be customers that are happier, healthier, and more engaged with a brand’s values instead of a brand’s content. If it’s done right, the possibilities for brand loyalty and genuine brand relationships are limitless.