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“The institutions are coming!”
A common phrase said amongst the die hard crypto users since the early days of Bitcoin.
In 2021 and 2022 the dream of institutions entering this space finally came true.
Though, not in the way they originally imagined…
It was always thought that hedge funds, central banks and large corporations would be buying Bitcoin in masses and putting it on their balance sheets.
And while some of that did happen, it turns out that it was a different type of “institution” that would flood into the blockchain space.
And in fact, they wouldn’t be buying bitcoin or other crypto.
Instead, it would be the biggest brands in the world using NFTs and the newly termed “web3” as a means to interact with and create experiences for their customers.
Funny enough, technically it means they needed to buy ETH and MATIC to pay for gas 🙂
But anyway, who would have guessed that?
Pre-2021, probably not many.
But early on in the development of NFTs, Gary Vaynerchuk and his team at VaynerMedia (a marketing agency which works with many of the largest brands in the world), saw what was coming.
Gary V is known to be early with most innovations on the internet, leading the charge with things like; Youtube before video content was the norm, creating content on social media, Google and Facebook ads, the web’s transition to mobile, TikTok reels and so much more.
Early on, Gary and his team saw that web3 technology provided an opportunity for large brands to solve business problems as well as remain relevant in a quickly developing new sector of the internet.
Gary and his team launched VaynerNFT (now Vayner3) in July of 2021 to lead Fortune 500 brands like Pepsi, Budweiser and many more into web3.
Since then, the biggest brands in the world have followed suit, with the likes of Nike, Adidas, Starbucks, Visa, Porsche and many more.
To help us understand why so many brands are entering the space as well as what they are thinking, we brought the President of Vayner3, Avery Akkineni on the Web3 Academy Podcast to give us some inside insights.
In this one, we uncover:
- Why the biggest brands in the world are entering web3
- The top use cases for brands in Web3
- The current state of brands entering web3 since the fallout of the crypto sector
Note: We’re looking for another writer to join our ranks and help us create kick-ass content! So if you’ve got a knack for words and a passion for web3, we want you on the team!
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Why The Biggest Brands In The World Are Entering Web3
In 2021, NFTs quickly became all the rage.
We had digital art selling for $69 million and celebrities buying up pictures of CryptoPunks and Bored Apes.
It was pure mania.
Money was being tossed around every-freaking-where and NFTs had the world’s attention.
And of course, attention is one of the world’s most valuable assets.
In 2021, certain brands jumped on the NFT train quickly as an opportunity to make headlines and achieve consumer relevance.
At the time, there wasn’t much talk about Web3 or that this was the future. Getting into NFTs was just an arbitrage of attention.
But brands like Visa as well as those working with Vayner3 could see beyond the speculative mania. They could see that getting involved in web3 was a way to future-proof your business for the next iteration of the internet.
Avery and her team at Vayner3 helped their clients understand that NFTs were just one small part of something much bigger.
Web3 was actually the next era of connected consumer behaviour.
On the podcast, Avery shared how they define web3 to big brands:
“It’s a digital first reality for consumers at the confluence of technology and culture. Web3 is creating an immersive, personalised and ownable internet”
She explained that blockchain is only one piece to the greater web3 pie. This pie consists of 3 emerging technologies:
- Blockchain Technology
- Metaverse / Immersive Experiences
- Advanced Computing (aka Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence).
These 3 technologies create a “souped up” version of the internet.
Similar to how search and social media completely changed the way we use the internet and effectively how we live our lives, these technologies will enable the next big change to humanity.
It’s bigger than most people can currently comprehend. Again, similar to the early days of using Facebook and Google… we didn’t quite understand what would come from it.
This was the message that Vayner3 sent to many of the biggest brands in the world. The instructions were simple:
Get involved and experiment, but do it with a long-term view rather than a “make money quick” mindset.
There was no, and is still no perfect playbook for brands to enter web3, nor is there a one size fits all reason to enter the space in the first place.
Part of it is staying relevant to consumers, but it’s also to solve business problems and create new and innovative digital experiences for their customers.
Let’s move into some of Avery’s most bullish use cases for brands. 👀
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Top 3 Use Cases for Brands in Web3
There are many reasons for brands to enter web3. In the last few years brand awareness and engagement were big ones (and still are today).
But here are the 3 that Avery is most bullish on:
- Direct to consumer community
We talk about community all the time on Web3 Academy, but usually that is about bottom up communities which start from nothing.
Avery sees plenty of opportunity for brands to take their large audiences and turn them into real communities, creating true evangelists for their brands.
We’re already seeing this begin to play out with so many large brands launching Discords and interacting with their audience in new and more interactive ways.
- Loyalty and Rewards Programs
Starbucks is leading the charge here of course. They already have the most successful rewards program in the world, and yet, they are even iterating on it to stay relevant in web3.
With Starbucks Odyssey, they are expanding their loyalty and rewards program with NFTs, introducing ownership to their program.
It’s still in Beta but looks to be a big story to follow in 2023.
Starbucks won’t be the only big brand to use web3 to amplify their loyalty and rewards programs however, as web3 technology unlocks properties that are just not possible in web2.
- Net New Business Models
Social media and search gave birth to the influencer, affiliate marketing, social and search ads and so many new models to build a business.
Every new big innovation and technology unlocks new business models that simply were not possible previously. Of course, the same will be true for web3.
Avery and of course us at Web3 Academy are super bullish on the new business models and opportunities that will arise as this technology continues to grow.
What will those be? Who knows!
But they will inevitably happen and more than likely in ways that none of us could have imagined.
Our weekly reports help you determine which businesses and technologies are winning in web3 so you can capitalize on that opportunity to build & invest.
There is a lot to be bullish on in web3, even if we are still in a bear market.
We wondered how the bear market was impacting the adoption of brands into web3, so we asked Avery to comment on her findings.
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Current State of Brands Entering Web3
2022 was a rough year for the blockchain industry, highlighted by CeFi companies going bankrupt and losing Billions in customer funds.
An absolute shitshow to say the least.
Yet, in 2022, big brands were activating in web3 in record amounts. That’s what led us to write the article “Crypto is Dead, but Web3 is Thriving” a few months ago (still a great read if you’re interested).
Since the FTX fallout however, Avery mentioned that she’s seen a change in the market in terms of big brands.
The good news is that they are still here, still learning and trying to innovate and build their strategy.
The bad news is that they are hesitant to launch activations. They seem to be taking a step back to let the dust settle, for now.
However, they are still as bullish and interested as ever to launch and build into the next iteration of the internet.
So ultimately, it doesn’t seem like the craziness of 2022 will stop this industry from living its dream of “The institutions are coming!”… It just might take a bit longer than it could have, should the greedy finance bros not take advantage of the rest of us in this industry.
If you want to learn more about brands entering web3 then I highly recommend you listen to the full episode with Avery Akikineni, President of Vayner3, on the Web3 Academy Podcast (Spotify | Apple Podcasts | YouTube).
Otherwise, we will see you in the next one friends! ✌️
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