Someone once told me that learning philosophy is akin to boarding a moving train. That's why I often say learning about Web3 is like stepping onto a HyperLoop barreling at breakneck speed.
I began writing this publication on a typical Tuesday, aboard a high-speed train journey from Alicante (06:05 CET) to Madrid (08:40 CET).
Trains, like certain spaces, have a unique way of focusing your mind on creation. I recently read on Warpcast about the need for work isolation spaces in cities, places designed to escape the constant distractions that plague our productivity. With an endless stream of notifications, calls, news, and launches, it's increasingly challenging to concentrate on tasks requiring prolonged attention. Perhaps it's time we disconnect to reconnect with our deeper selves.
Web3 is advancing at a phenomenal pace, pulling individuals and brands along in its wake. LinkedIn is now awash with self-proclaimed experts in Web3 consulting, Crypto, Metaverse, DeFi, NFTs... Many of them have been in the industry for merely six months, yet they're generating daily content, speaking at events, and appearing on numerous podcasts. We're also witnessing the rise of various NFT platforms, PFP collections with similar utilities, a spectrum of metaverses, startups bridging the gap to Web2.5, Marketing 5.0 agencies, and a myriad of new ventures chasing the elusive dream of decentralization in the creator economy.
Indeed, the train is already packed...
This could potentially lead to a bubble in 3.0 entrepreneurship. However, what we're experiencing is akin to a space race to be the first in line in every train compartment. It's like the rush to disembark upon reaching our destination.
And all of this unfolded just a year ago...
Then, the landscape dramatically shifted. The catalyst was the explosive rise of Artificial Intelligence. This development rapidly turned into a pivotal historical moment. Overnight, many of the newfound Web3, NFT, Metaverse, and Blockchain professionals, barely six months into their journey, proclaimed themselves as AI experts. They swiftly redirected their Web3 marketing strategies towards the allure of AI's magical prompts and emerging platforms, often punctuated by the all-too-familiar "RIP whatever" posts.
Amidst this transformation, the Web3 events continued to unfold. Some leaned towards the institutional side of Blockchain, while others gravitated to the extreme ends of “Build in Crypto”. The initial frenzy seemed to have settled. Investors became more composed, and the genuine builders in the space continued to toil, anticipating the much-desired Bull Market.
In this evolving temporal space, one question consistently echoed in every interview, conference, and podcast:
How does traditional branding differ from Web3 branding?
The world of branding is undergoing a seismic shift, with the emergence of Web3 offering a stark contrast to traditional methodologies. This evolution is not just about the speed at which strategies develop but also about the fundamental philosophy that underpins brand creation and interaction.
Speed and Strategy: In Web3, the rate of development is astonishing. This rapid evolution shapes strategies in real-time, offering a stark contrast to the sluggish progress of traditional large corporations. These entities, weighed down by heavy bureaucratic structures and rigid hierarchies, struggle to keep pace. In contrast, Web3 startups are nimble and innovative, continuously iterating and adapting. We are in the nascent phase of both the blockchains and the projects developed on them, necessitating swift action, constant updates, and an understanding that everything operates on a trial-and-error basis. There's an essential need to stay abreast of upcoming trends, prepared to pivot and evolve in response to the ever-changing market needs and opportunities.
Open Participation versus Closed Processes: Traditional branding often involves a one-way street from the agency to the executive layer of a company, tightly confined within the boundaries of budgets and set timelines. It's a process primarily focused on marketing and superficial change. Web3 branding, however, redefines this dynamic. It's not just about opening the branding process to community involvement; it's about reimagining the role of the community entirely. This new approach fosters fair, guided, and collaborative participation, where the degree of decentralization is a strategic choice. Such an open and fluid process not only invites participation but also instills a sense of ownership and belonging among community members.
Empowering Creative Freedom and Asynchronous Collaboration: In the realm of Web3, branding assets are shared, open for reinterpretation, and extension by the community. This approach transcends traditional creativity, allowing users to become co-creators who shape the brand's narrative. By embracing asynchronous workflows, Web3 Branding harmonizes diverse inputs into a cohesive story, respecting individual schedules and fostering a continuous stream of creativity.
Building Ecosystems, Not Just Communities: The essence of Brand3 is not just in forming communities but in constructing vibrant ecosystems. These ecosystems thrive on decentralized cooperation, where every participant - from user to creator - is an integral part of the brand's evolution. It’s a movement away from the concept of mere audiences to active, valued partners in the brand's journey.
The Magnetism of Decentralization: The ethos of Brand3 is rooted in decentralization, not just as a technology but as a philosophy. This approach doesn’t merely add value; it transforms users into the best possible partners, creating magnetic purposes that attract talent and forge robust partnerships. In this space, brands become dynamic entities that resonate with both purpose and participation.
Embracing Complexity: The Web3 Branding Paradigm
So, why should we embrace these complex, participatory processes that are still being validated? The answer lies in the unique intersection between Web2 and Web3, marking a pivotal shift in social, economic, and creative paradigms.
Experiencing is Learning: The Competitive Edge of Experimentation
Web3 is not just a new technological frontier; it is an opportunity to learn through experimentation, offering a competitive edge rarely seen in the business world. Embracing Web3 branding means embracing a dual-world existence, navigating both established Web2 frameworks and the rapidly evolving landscape of Web3.
Why Not? The Power of Open Possibilities
In a world where traditional brands often say "no," Web3's Brand3 mentality encourages us to ask, "Why not?" This mindset opens doors to uncharted territories of business opportunities that arise only once in a lifetime.
Efficient Connection: Web2 allowed us to tell stories and share them globally. Web3 evolution provides new avenues for investment and financing, welcoming us to the creator's economy.
Experiential Relationship: Through tools like tokenization and NFTs, we can forge more effective relationships with all stakeholders, transforming users into active participants in the brand's narrative and offering them novel experiences.
Talent Attraction: Brands are evolving from being mere communities to developing decentralized, efficient ecosystems. By valuing and equipping users, we turn them into our most advantageous partners. The goal is to build ecosystems, not just communities, where alliances and cooperation among decentralized organizations become key.
Brand3: A Visionary Approach in a Conventional World
In contrast to traditional companies that often resist change, Brand3 entities in the Web3 space are machines of possibility, always exploring the question, "Why not?" This approach dismantles the barriers of traditional branding, where processes are tightly controlled, and invites a dynamic, open, and community-driven method of brand development.
In conclusion, as we journey through the Web3 landscape, we see that branding is not just about corporate identity; it's about community identity. It's about building not just a brand but a legacy that resonates with and belongs to its community.
This journey from Alicante to Madrid, both literal and metaphorical, has been a testament to the evolving nature of branding in the digital age.
This post was completed on any given Tuesday on a high-speed train from Madrid (19:40 CET) to Madrid (22:10 CET).
🎶 The Music
🔎 The Links
This resource is part of Virgil Abloh’s "Post-Modern" mentoring initiative, aimed at providing guidance and access to people of color and anyone interested in the fashion world. From naming your brand to developing a website and integrating Shopify, this resource offers a step-by-step guide based on Abloh's experiences.
The article offers insights into this new paradigm, showcasing how DAOs like Cabin are pioneering decentralized branding. Moving away from traditional, centralized methods, DAOs are embracing community-driven and collaborative approaches. This shift challenges existing branding strategies, highlighting the need for adaptability and innovation in the Web3 landscape.
Unlike traditional branding, which relies on fixed assets and guidelines, Folklore is ceding its graphic identity to the community. This new paradigm eschews approved assets and official colors for a dynamic, community-driven identity creation. By providing source material like seeds, prompts, and open-ended narrative concepts, Folklore encourages community members to actively shape and reimagine the brand.
🐦 The Tweet
🗝 The Key
“My Style is to never say no”
🖋 The Word
OG — "Original Gangster”
First become popular through 1990s hiphop, the term just flows through community after community. It means the folks who were here early and earned respect.
🌌 The NFT
Maison Margiela introduces a unique twist to the Web3 Hype with its gamified minting experience, infusing the urgency of fashion with the patience of strategy. This innovative approach integrates the anticipation of time and wait, diverging from the typical high-speed minting rushes. The challenge, built around Maison's iconic numeric labels, offers players an opportunity to collect 24 soul-bound tokens, promising an engaging journey in the Maison Margiela’s evolving Web3 narrative.
Written and designed by @esdotge
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