The transformation from Web2 to Web3 is bringing big brands into the emerging sector. The power of brands and communities was among the topics covered at Benzinga’s inaugural Future of Crypto event in New York City. Here’s what industry experts have to say on the topics.
Community Driving the Brands: Community can grow a brand and also kill a brand, said artist and writer Mieke Marple.
“Community has been appropriated by Web3 and often times just means followers,” Marple said.
Marple said it's important to have communities that support each other and can lead to partnerships and collaborations.
NFT investor Ralph Quintero added that Web3 communities show more co-creation and co-ownership than the previous Web2 stage.
“For me community is the first place I go in the morning, the first place I go to before I go to bed at night,” Quintero said.
Quintero called community critical for the Web3 space and said he’s fortunate to belong to some great communities.
Naimul Huq is the senior vice President of Vayner3, a company founded by entrepreneur Gary Vee (aka Gary Vaynerchuk).
“For me community is more a verb than a noun. Community happens when people with shared affinities recognize each other,” Huq said.
Huq said that the ability of the blockchain connects people with shared commonalities and they can be verified without having to validate through conversation like in Web2.
Growing Brand And Community: Given Vee’s strong position in the Web3 space, Huq was asked for pointers on how companies and projects can grow their community and brand power.
“Presence is really important,” Huq said. “Gary drops into the Discord all the time.”
The VeeFriends Discord has over 100,000 members and is one of the most active, something Huq credits to the members hearing from their leader often.
“The scarcest thing on the internet is attention.”
Huq said that social media platforms like Facebook not only compete with other social networks, but also compete with video games like “Fortnite” and other mediums for users’ time.
“If you’re not active putting yourself in front of the community, then they will go elsewhere.”
Huq said when Vee is not in the Discord, the community interacts with itself and has sustained connections thanks to the lessons he has taught and the presence they have come to know.
“The best thing you can do is be present for them.”
Quintero said one of the best things that happens to help grow a brand is the phase after the flippers and speculators leave the Discord.
“When communities weed those people out, the magic starts to happen,” Quintero said.
Marple said communities can build off of the shared experiences, as sometimes they went through war together.
“It’s an experience like no other,” Marple said.
Companies Leading the Way: Marple praised auction house company Christie’s for the work it has done in Web3. Marple said Christie’s was an early mover and has stayed the course.
Quintero highlighted Mexican soda brand Jarritos, which had a highly anticipated NFT mint that didn’t sell out. Quintero said the team then adjusted the supply and has gone above and beyond for its holders.
Quintero also highlighted Floor, which allows NFT holders to keep track of their collections.
Huq highlighted Reddit, which helped onboard more users to the Web3 space with the launch of digital avatars.
“Something that stands out to me is what Reddit has done,” Huq said.
Huq said that Reddit flipped the narrative on its audience, something made evident by the amount of people supporting Reddit avatars that previously had negative thoughts on NFTs.
Huq said the lesson for companies is to use new language and perhaps avoiding non-fungible token wording in the future.
Vayner3's Naimul Huq speaks at the Benzinga Future of Crypto conference. Photo by Gaspar Marquez.