When the pandemic thrusted people into isolation, the need for social connection and a sense of belonging became more crucial than ever. Online communities such as Discord experienced a remarkable surge in popularity, providing a digital haven for those seeking virtual connections. The Web3 space grew rapidly, driven by the emergence of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) leveraging new ways for creators to showcase and monetize their art.
Web3 represents the next phase of the internet, characterized by decentralized applications, NFTs, cryptocurrency-powered tools and the metaverse. At its core, Web3 emphasizes community-building — an ethos that resonates with users seeking a sense of belonging.
Big brands recognized that this differs vastly from the conventional brand-to-consumer relationship of Web2, where the brand controls the narrative and the messaging. Instead, Web3 is about co-creating projects with users, putting the power of creation and decision-making back into their hands. Consequently, brands have had to rethink how they communicate with their audiences.
Discord has become a natural home for Web3 projects, providing a space for users to connect, collaborate and share ideas. Major brands like Samsung U.S. and Gucci have embraced this new social network to engage with their audiences. Samsung’s U.S. Discord server attracted over 100,000 new members within 12 hours of its debut. In addition, Gucci's GucciVault Discord server attracted 30,000 users and generated a remarkable $11.6 million in total NFT revenue.
By leveraging open Discord servers, Gucci and Samsung U.S. have facilitated community participation and direct interaction with their brands. Gucci has gone a step further by introducing community voting for users to share their opinions on upcoming Web3 projects and contribute to co-creation. Exclusive content, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and product previews have strengthened the sense of community among its members.
Historically, many brands communicated with their audience through feed-centric social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook, relying heavily on impersonal algorithms to dictate content, resulting in a lack of personalization for users.
Web3's co-creation has disrupted this outdated model and prioritized meaningful interactions. For example, Discord is an invite-only platform where users must receive a link to enter a community. This approach may reduce the audience reach compared to a post on Facebook, but ultimately leads to more rewarding engagement. With 82% of Gen Z audiences actively seeking community participation, co-creation is set to become essential in the near future.
Web3 has also fostered Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) — community-led entities where members determine rules, missions and objectives. While some brands hesitate to embrace DAOs, studies show that 63% of millennials and Gen Z consumers desire more influence on brand decision-making. DAOs are poised to play a significant role in future brand communication strategies.
To remain relevant in today's digital era, brands must adopt communication strategies comparable to Web3's principles, emphasizing consistent and authentic engagement. Prioritizing co-creation and user-generated content creates a space where consumers feel heard, valued, and empowered — a transformative approach that will drive brand success for years to come.
Anouk Morin is a Web3 PR lead associate at Ditto PR.