Brandweek came and left with many successful panels that brought new ways of thinking to the masses. The event was held in Miami, Florida and saw some celebrities such as Pharrell and Kevin Hart join.
The final day of the Brandweek event focused on web3 and the metaverse.
The event put emphasis on the power and potential of the next internet iteration and how that technology can be used for opportunity. The event was opened by Mayor Suarez of Miami who spoke of Miami as a brand and how Miami punches above its weight as all brands should.
Mayor Saurez believes in the signaling effect of brands and how that aids in the messaging of a product.
Currently, Miami is taking on Silicon Valley and being different from the rest of the states. Whereas Silicon Valley adopted the internet and web2 Miami is embracing crypto and web3.
The sunny city is one of the busiest crypto and NFT areas in the United States with multiple crypto events even allowing payments in crypto-the mayor himself is being paid in crypto.
The mayor stated he didn’t really care about the price of Bitcoin but was more focused on the money and jobs that Bitcoin and crypto bring.
During the day-long event many metaverse-positive speakers came forward with their beliefs on the metaverse being the future. One major point that kept coming around was that of gamification.
Cathy Hackl of Journey named the “Godmother of the Metaverse” joined by Faith Popcorn and Tiana Holt of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve both spoke on how the metaverse is a marriage between reality,VR , augmented reality and more.
“There is hope for brands to create another kind of thinking and be innovative.” Faith stated as she spoke on projects that are building platforms that could even end death.
Cathy continued to speak on gaming and how the metaverse and all interactions should be fun. She also said the metaverse isn’t a matter of when it’s a matter of now emphasizing brands need to reimagine the way their brand functions for web3.
Solanews asked Cathy and Faith if they believed the metaverse poses the same disruption as Airbnb or Shopify. They answered simply that it will be the way of the future but one that will provide more interactivity between the client and provider.
Web3 is about getting closer to the customers and providing them with more rewards for their input. Gamification is seen as a way to involve the user in new initiatives pushing towards a common goal for both.
Mobile games in web2 that are “free-to-play “ usually come with ads disturbing the fun time you are having while playing the game. The idea of Web3 is to make even something as mundane as advertisements beneficial to the user. Pioneering this idea is Brave Browser which rewards users with crypto for their time partaking in ads.
The brave browser utilizes its native BAT token that gives 70% of all proceeds back to the users for ad consumption. The platform currently has 62 million users with an increase of 2x per year all done organically with no marketing. The users are people who use ad blockers and do not have satellite or cable tv. 80% of Brave users are crypto savvy and also gamers.
Patrick Rice Senior Global Director of Brave spoke on web3 and how advertisers can survive and win.
He made a point on NFTs and how they are being used for branding and building of communities.
“New opportunities like the Starbucks Odyssey initiative are just the beginning of what is possible in this space. “
The Starbucks initiative provides the user with games or activities that net them new “journey stamps” , the name for the NFTs earned while playing. The initiative takes gamification and makes it worthwhile to the client or holder by giving out experiences and merchandise to holders.
There is belief that new projects and ideas will come flooding into the web3 space post Ethereum merge as well, but this goes against the fact that Solana has already been around with the same throughput and ability of Ethereum post merge. This would mean that the merge will not be the catalyst of new ideas rather just another step up the very high mountain
The theme of gamification was continued by the next panel comprised of Ty Haney of TYB (Try Your Best) and Michael Le of Joystick.
Education of users was brought up and both presenters who spoke of how they are inventing new ways to educate the future web3 users about the space. Le spoke on his “Just meta” series that he is creating that is a web3 talk show that entertains as well as educates.
Michael Le has created a new platform named Joystick which gives gamers an opportunity to earn in web3 by playing the games they love. The method of the platform is a bit like that of Fractals in which users are able to borrow assets in order to play games. Le did not touch on whether his project had anything in common with Justin Kan’s Fractals project as both projects use NFTs in a rental capacity, but he did focus on the fact that his platform intends to give gamers all the tools they need to succeed and build their own brands.
Haney spoke on NFTs and collectibles and her “Joggy” project that includes an NFT that has benefits and perks that can be unlocked through games and meeting goals.
Building community and connection while utilizing games was the next major speaking point as Verizon’s Andrew McKechnie spoke on how the pandemic changed how Verizon interacts with its over 100 million customers. He spoke on the relationship with Epic Games’ famous game Fortnite. The company brought fans to the football game via Fortnite for super bowl LV. By utilizing the ideas of web3 and Fortnite the team at Verizon was able to make the least attended super bowl in history a success.
There were many small games with NFL inspired gear offered to users and new potential clients. The event saw 40 million users attend in comparison to the traditional tens of thousands showing up for an in-person event.
When asked what Verizon could eventually bring to web3 with 5G McKechnie answered Verizon would use 5G to innovate and bring more services to clients. He stated the job of Verizon is to use the technology to better support their customers by creating new ways for clients to venture into web3 and interact, stating that interactivity is key to inclusiveness and brand building now.
It was stated that Verizon is addressing accessibility and inclusion on the metaverse by breaking down barriers via VR or AR McKechnie stated physical barriers needed to be challenged as well.
In one example he spoke of how The Met- a popular museum, was recreated for use via AR by Verizon due to the pandemic and users were given the opportunity to view the museum.
In a separate vein Solanews asked if Verizon had any plans for creating a calling system in the metaverse so that friends could speak to each other while gaming and what that would look like security-wise .McKechnie answered that it is definitely something that would be considered but the company would have to decide if it’s the right platform or the right time.
Currently some of the biggest gaming platforms of the metaverse are The Sandbox and Decentraland and the gaming giant Roblox.
Sam Ewen of Coindesk spoke candidly about the metaverse. His panel was titled “The Metaverse Isn’t Real” he spoke on the thesis that the metaverse is the next step in the evolution of technology.
Ewen touched on Roblox vs The Sandbox and how even though Roblox is centralized and has more users than The Sandbox the platform with the most potential is definitely The Sandbox.
Mr. Ewen spoke on the thought that we need to stop focusing on shopping and focusing more on feeling and creating a community where users can just be themselves and that identity in web3 is ever changing. He made note to state that Digital identity is very important and ever-changing nothing that NFTs are a way for a person to be fluid with their identity online.
Many game players enjoy playing or paying for new skins or clothing for their avatars, some players play a totally different gender when they join in online and others just enjoy being a completely different species. The opportunities offered in games can be translated to web3 via NFTs as the owners can use the assets to represent themselves and their identities online.
“The biggest winner may be a mixed reality metaverse and not a fully digital one.” He stated as he showed his next slide.
Ewen stated that VR and AR have been utilized by web3 projects to continue to push interactivity and new ways to interact with the client. Current use of AR and VR in gamified ways has brought attention to the technology far more than any other platform on web3.
Earlier Cathy Hackl had noted that web2 was pushed by adult media but web3 is different as it is pushed by fashion, art, and gaming. Currently, Mark Zuckerberg’s META company is focused on providing access to the metaverse via its Horizon Worlds interactive game-space accessible via their Occulus headsets.
Gaming made it into a lot of presentations during this web3 day as it has been stated that a lot of gamers are also into crypto and the metaverse.
Todd Kaplan who is the Chief Marketing Officer of Pepsi touched on how customers should be rewarded more instead of having products pushed upon them via ads. He spoke on what he called “figital” fictional digital experiences.
Kaplan compared companies using paid media and advertisements to chasing after customers instead of creating situations where customers actively seek the company out themselves.
Kaplan introduced many initiatives created by Pepsi to create experiences for consumers such as music competitions on TikTok, music videos with Doja Cat and more. He spoke on respecting the consumers time and engaging them in activities that reward them or their time in order to keep their loyalty.
Brandweek had a successful week of panels with multiple celebrities and a lot of great information. This final day ended with the audience more educated on the metaverse and the possibilities for the future.
The main focus or takeaway from the panel was gamification and interactive initiatives that reward users are tools that will be important in building web3 thus pushing the technology forward to mass adoption.