INTA 2024: Brands seek strategies for digital assets

21 May 2024

INTA 2024: Brands seek strategies for digital assets

Individuals and brands venturing into digital assets must clearly understand their purpose and expectations to successfully manage a digital strategy.

Panellists at the INTA 2024 session: “Decoded: The Business of Digital Assets” said the strategy would depend on the objectives of individuals or brands looking at these digital platforms.

JoAnn Holmes, a digital assets and IP attorney, Web 3.0 advisor and founder of Holmes@Law in Atlanta, presented choices of using Web 1.0, Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 – the internet evolutions – depending on the kind of audience, engagement, interaction and monetization sought.

“Are they trying to just focus on revenue? Are they trying to grow an audience, or are they trying to build a brand?” she said.

Drew Williams, founder of Atlanta-based Fanfundr, said a brand’s strategy would depend on whether it wants to increase revenue from existing and super-loyal customers or expand its audience, find new business and attract new customers.

“There are multiple ways to achieve both; however, obviously, we need to place weight on one or the other, which we’ll have marketing and product implications,” he told the panel.

Williams said Web 2.0 is the way to go if brands go after audience growth.

“Web 2.0 is definitely more about covering the layer. You could expand horizontally, but Web 3.0 allows you to go very, very deep into segmentation that is extremely loyal to you and that has a high willingness to pay,” he said, adding that those customers are also more likely to be adaptable to new and innovative technologies, products and experiences.

Shayna Stewart, the founder of Shown Live in Atlanta, noted that the Web 3.0 route is often used to market an idea to a community instead of selling a product, which would have been the case for using Web 2.0

“Web 3.0 generally will not necessarily grow your audience. So, if you’re looking for straight audience growth, probably blockchain, NFTs and cryptocurrency is not the right play,” she told the panel. However, there are greater opportunities to make more money off of your very involved community.”

“Again, very different marketing strategy depending on whether you’re looking for audience growth and engagement versus having and building a deeper relationship with your current audience, which will help you monetize more,” Stewart added.

Christian Pearson, co-founder of Easter Egg Labs in Atlanta, pointed out that the other option is to utilize Web 2.0 tools before launching the product on Web 3.0.

“At the beginning, when you want to build a prototype, you want to mostly do that in Web 2.0, that’s because even testing on Web 3.0 is public so people can see what you’re doing, they can react to it before you decide on it,” he said, explaining that blockchain is visible at all points.

“So you generally want to do experiments, especially early on, to decide whether you want to shift or not in private, Web 2.0, and then once you’ve decided to commit to it, then we go on the blockchain,” he added.

Stewart pointed out that one of Web 3.0’s most interesting applications, particularly for creators, is the value of owning your audience.

She said that with Web 2.0, even though you are the creator interacting and engaging with these audiences, you don’t actually have direct access to that audience. “So when you think about the Web 3.0 application here, you do have direct access to your audience.”

Holmes said that in terms of payments, there’s also the option of using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana, in addition to the traditional methods of debit and credit cards, cash apps and wires.

Williams, however, explained that the payment type would also depend on whether you’re looking to expand your audience or reach deeper into specific segments that already demonstrated a high willingness to pay.

“So the essential question is, do you want to grow your audience? I say let’s lean on credit cards, debit cards, bank account transactions and wires. If we want to go deep and wide with specific segments, specifically, then we should lean directly into crypto,” he said.

Pearson, for his part, warned about using cryptocurrency, saying that accepting it as a mode of payment also means taking on the risks associated with it.

“Once you start accepting crypto payments, you accept the rails and vulnerabilities that come with it. If one of those rails gets compromised, even if it’s not your fault, you really undermine the dependability and equity of your project,” he said.

“Payments require a different protocol to work. Many small independent companies are touching that flow. Especially in blockchain, you’re adding all these layers – every time you add these layers, there are more opportunities to get compromised.”

– Charlee C. Delavin, reporting from Atlanta

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