How UAE's Webby winner Socialize is exploring Web3 innovation for advertising
Posted on 2023 Sep,08  | By Akanksha Goel, Socialize UAE

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Web3 technologies are developing at an impressive pace and there are creative ways in which brands and advertisers can use them to increase impact and engagement. Following the successful launch of +DAO for PlusComany, Akanksha Goel, , Founder and CEO of Dubai based independent social communications and media agency, Socialize, explains the value of decentralised networks and shares use cases of web3 technologies to illustrate the challenges and benefits.

'While blockchain currencies and NFT art have dominated the headlines around Web3, it’s already becoming so much more and revolutionising the way that international organisations can innovated together, customers can feel a sense of ownership in their favourite brands and upended the idea of loyalty, making it so much more than collecting points for discounts. 

When companies invest in Web3, it’s not just about experimenting anymore, it’s about real innovation that can increase loyalty, sales and help brands and marketers innovate.

The Middle East is a hot spot for Web3 work, regulation is supporting us and there’s heavy investment in the infrastructure that makes it all work from cloud computing to decentralised networks.

    In Saudi, around 18% of people actively use crypto currencies. In the UAE 23% of people own at least one NFT, in comparison with Europe’s 8% and 2.8% in the United States. There’s a real opportunity here to unlock new experiences with digitally savvy, curious and interested consumers who are interested in personalised and exclusive experiences. 

The idea that Web3 technologies are about unstable currency markets and fashionable jpegs changing hands at unbelievable prices has been damaging to its reputation. The real creativity and innovation is around inclusivity, whether this is internal and encourages creativity or consumer-facing and creates a sense of community and exclusivity with fans and customers. 

     There are some great examples of what has been going on in the region.

First, let’s move away from the NFT as a picture and look at it as it really is, a token, or a passport to open up exceptional experiences. Etihad is a prime example. It released a collection of NFTs and the images of aircrafts were secondary to the real opportunity. These tokens offered silver tier membership, advance access to future offers, some complimentary flight tickets and guest rewards where airmiles can be traded for NFTs. In this case, the NFT becomes more like a passport that opens the door to flights, upgrades and exclusive benefits. 

       Brands looking to explore can start putting together trends and patterns that will forge a path towards even more creative innovation.

Recently Socialize met with our TikTok agency partner team who mentioned that perfumes were the best selling product on the platform, locally. As we explored the audience insights around that trend further and started to build out a buyer persona for a beauty & fragrance client, the team found that ‘cryptocurrencies’ were amongst the top three interests associated with this audience! We are now exploring a partnership with a local influencer who launched her own coin and another Web3 community in the region as avenues to drive additional brand awareness in new and interesting ways.

From offering the ability for people to buy perfumes on the brand’s e-commerce site using their creator coin to unlocking discounts with their community NFT, it’s incredible that we’re now able to bring these experiences to life with an idea and a contact. No platform build. No database negotiation. Just perks for members of a tribe with a shared vibe.  

Putting these things together in interesting ways can be a real boost for business if a perfume brand were to offer tokenized experiences and market them on TikTok. 

    Tiffany’s is another brand that has done great work using tokens and digital collectibles at the intersection of consumer culture. They launched 240 tokens, accessible exclusively by members of well known global NFT community. They sold out within 22 minutes. The tokens unlocked exclusive necklaces in 18-karat gold and precious stones, designed to match the token holder’s NFT design. This ‘phygital’ project drove $13m in revenue and made the Tiffany token drop the biggest branded NFT event so far. 

In our own experience, Web3 is not only for disrupting the consumer experience, it’s also about pushing boundaries for global organisations. Our Webby Award winning work for the PlusCompany gave employees NFTs to access to gamified creative experiences and the Innovation DAO meant that everyone could access funds if they had great ideas. This approach to opening up innovation meant that a huge amount of ideas came flooding in that some may have thought would not be pursued via a centralised power relationship. In the knowledge that good projects could be supported by peers and colleagues, the sense of optimism increased along with the number of brilliant ideas and projects that could be funded. 

     A decentralised idea in a global business doesn’t have to look like anarchy, it can be organised, principled and inclusive. Not everyone is quite prepared for this kind of innovation, but it’s so easy to find a good digital partner to help teach, test and expand into new capabilities. Once people realise what they could be doing in a ‘test and learn’ environment, enthusiasm, ideas and a positive culture of innovation can easily grow.

Think of it this way - while most people don’t learn to code in HTML, we all use the Web. It’s ok not to get the tech, it’s important to work with people who do and can make this easy for you.'