When our smart-as-heck web3 pal Mel, aka @belikewater893, drops a spicy thread on X, we recommend you listen up. Case in point: Mel’s recent response to an article in Forbes on the journey NFT categories have taken from speculative mania fodder to a technology that’s taking brand loyalty to the next level.
In her thread, Mel highlighted a particular line from the article, where writer Javier Paz stated, “technically, this kind of loyalty program does not need to rely on blockchain technology to run,” referring to a recent reward-based, blockchain-backed loyalty program from Lufthansa. Similar to Mel’s response (the thread), you better believe this line got our internal Slack channel buzzing.
Let’s break down some of Mel’s points to understand further how blockchain isn’t just a shiny buzzword to hit a brand’s vanity innovation metrics but a completely new toolkit for connecting consumers to products and communities that you actually can’t find anywhere else.
The Application Layer
One of web3’s greatest strengths is its ability to reimagine consumers' and brands’ relationship with data — and often the applications in which that data resides. “Traditional social media platforms are databases with an application activation layer built on top (the algorithm),” wrote Mel. These walled data gardens exist to keep users in and innovative capabilities like modular tools, the potential for user-owned assets, and dynamic analytics, out. This fact of life and media is unlikely to change as long as social media platforms prioritize retaining users (and advertising dollars) above all else.
Smart contracts flip the script, bringing a heightened level of modularity and flexibility to brands who can build and connect things with open-source tech that’s usually a strict “no-no” via traditional tech platforms and their heavily guarded APIs (gm, X & Reddit). Mel referred to the application layer as a “first-of-kind active, live software layer on top of all company data.” As a software company helping brands get the most out of consumer engagement through access to customizable web3 tools— we couldn’t agree more.
“Prior to the advent of blockchains, all web data could be lost and is always able to be recalled, regardless of internal setups,” wrote Mel. In our blog on how Web3 Returns the Internet to the Golden Age of Customization, we highlighted a similar realization regarding the power of immutable blockchain data to protect cultural artifacts, online communities, and the hard-earned capital of internet users. This observation extends to the increasingly archaic frameworks around brand rewards, consumer loyalty, and another key piece of enterprise infrastructure flagged by the thread: CRM data. Remember: NFTs are the new cookies.
Data, without borders.
A historic and often highly frustrating limitation of traditional loyalty tech is that it’s nearly impossible to transfer consumer data — and consumer rewards — across internal and external platforms. As we said above, most social and CRMs want to keep all the cooks (and cookies) in their kitchen and bread in their basket. Smart contracts instead “have direct interoperability bypassing internal inefficiency, making it finally possible for partners and platforms to migrate loyalty programs and all the data within them across multiple environments. And if you need a bit of a refresher, don’t fret: interoperability in web3 refers to the ability of different blockchains (and applications) to support the exchange of data, messages, and digital assets, which enables different platforms to interact so that user can bring data outside the confines of the original chain. Think about like a giant universal bridge that allows the seamless flow of traffic between multiple origins points and destinations.
Data, under lock and (private) key
Privacy & beyond
A recent study discovered that Gen Z is half as likely to be enrolled in a loyalty program as their Gen X predecessors, and Roblox’s 2023 report demonstrated just how much Gen Z wants to be able to own and customize their digital assets. As brands think about how to empower consumer loyalty in the future, what does this tell us? Whether it’s the opportunity for privacy, interoperability, immutability, or the customization of virtual products, people want more ownership over their data and how it can be accessed. Smart contracts enable dynamic privacy structures due to the power of permissions, which, among many other things, increase trust and loyalty between consumers and brands. What better way to get people excited about your products than to securely invite them into the product studio, or even your boardroom? From Lacoste to Nike-owned RTFKT to fashion platform KIKI World, brands are leveraging web3 loyalty (and user-empowering data) to enable their customers to help them co-create the future of their products. It’s a win-win.
Want to learn more about how web3 loyalty can change the game for your brand and community? Head to our product page to find out what’s possible with web3 — and web3 only.