Introduction: Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Web3. What is it? Why does it matter? How do you navigate it? And how is it changing the way brands and planners work? The internet is evolving, which has us asking these questions and so many more. Good thing we were joined in this episode by Brian Piper, Director of Content Strategy and Assessment at University of Rochester, Allison Chen, Independent Consultant and Visual Designer, Josh Coon, Director of Experience at Truth Collective, and of course John Roberts, Chief Strategy Officer at Truth Collective to help guide us through the next frontier of digital space and what it means for small agencies.
Pull up a chair, and listen in.
John Roberts: Welcome to Planner Parley. I’m thrilled to be joined by Brian, Allison, and our Josh. So for the next hour or so, just what are we really talking about when we talk about Web3 and, and why matter? And ultimately, the main question on sure for all of us, me and the listeners is, what can brands and planners start doing? We’re gonna kick off. I’m gonna start with Brian. Imagine you’re talking to a seven year old or a CMO. How would you describe Web1, Web2 and Web3 and the fundamental changes?
Brian Piper: It’s a great question and I have described it to both a seven year old and a CMO. So I usually start off by just telling people that Web3 is the next evolution of the internet, and Web1 was kind of just a read-only. It was just to the point where we were able to start consuming content that brands could put up on their websites. And then that kind of changed the power dynamic because now we were able to get much more information than we had access to previously. And then Web2 was really the evolution of that. Now that became a read write sort of convention where we were able to write back. So we had the ability to use our own blogs through content management systems. We had access to social media so now we could complain to the brand or we could be influencers or advocates for the brand.
And what Web3 has really given us is the ability to actually own our own digital assets and our own digital property. So now the control and the power shifts back to the individual user. And that’s kind of what excites me the most about Web3 is this ability to own your own data, own your own information and select how you share that and who you share that with.
John Roberts: So we’re gonna come back to that in a minute ’cause as exciting as it is, it obviously must raise fundamental questions for the interaction, the law of brands as well as individuals. Um, Allison, thrilled you’re joining us today. What excites you most?
Allison Chen: Yeah, I’m so glad to be here and thank you for having me. Um, I think that what excites me the most, um, aside from ownership is also giving so many people the ability to participate. Um, I think that because we’re building all of these platforms where people are able to have, um, ownership of their art, ownership of things they write, new ideas, we’re really making sure that people all get a more equal chance to participate. That Web2 I think doesn’t really serve the same purpose doing. And I think that what I’ve seen is just a general excitement about, um, investing into communities that really, really need it. So for example, like there’s some really great communities that I’m a part of like Hug, which is in a curate to earn community that really gives people the chance to see each other’s art, um, make sure that you’re able to like review it and build a whole social network around it.
I think that also having a lot of modernized artists and communities that previously in other areas of the internet weren’t able to really have an opportunity to show their work, um, and really be elevated by this platform, that’s been really cool. I’m also part of like just other communities that I have found really interesting related to like gardening, wine, and all of that. And I think that there’s something that we can really bring back to the people who were the original owners of like all of these things. Like imagine if we bring the farmers who are harvesting these grapes into the platform through the blockchain and have like the people who are part of this Wine bottle club just be able to see exactly where all of this is going and have everybody be able to participate through this tokenomics system. I think that’s been really, really exciting to see.
John Roberts: Several things I’m scribbling down there. We’re gonna come back to. That’s fantastic. And Josh, last but not least, what excites you most, Josh, about the idea of Web3?
Josh Coon: Kind of tagging off of some of the thoughts from Brian and Allison, there’s just a lot of new opportunity for us to create kind of exciting and different solutions for people that maybe hasn’t been there before. Kind of the underlying technology is really affording us new places to be innovative, whether it’s through the platforms we build, the clients we work with, and that’s always really exciting kinda in a creative space to have new tools that you can apply to solve problems in a way that’s never been done before. And the space is so new, it’s like the beginning of the beginning, so it’s, it’s a really exciting time to be kinda digging in and learning about it.
John Roberts: All right. So can I come back to um, Brian? I think you started to raise one thing when you were talking about what excites you most about the notion of ownership. Is there a tension between the fundamental principle of Web3 with individual ownership and the role of brands? Am I imagining a tension or is everything plain sailing?
Brian Piper: (laughs) Well I think the, the most interesting thing about this whole environment is it’s so new. Everyone’s experimenting, everyone’s trying things out and there are a lot of brands who are getting into this space. Uh, Google just announced that they’re gonna have the Web3 cloud sales forces in it, Time Magazine, Starbucks, bunch of brands are really starting to invest in and explore this space, which is great. I think it creates lots of new opportunities for brands, especially around building communities. I think the aspect of community building in Web3 is incredibly powerful. I think it creates new opportunities for co-ownership, co-creation that never existed before and I think brands can really leverage that. But I think, you know, at odds with that is the ability of now the user has control over their data and what communities they present themselves in and visit. And I’m in a lot of different communities and the ones that you tend to get most involved with are ones that have a lot of engagement, that provide a lot of utility that give value to you.
So I think it really goes back to the underlying strategy when brands enter this space, they really need to think about how they’re gonna provide that value to their customers in order to keep them in that space. Because I think as Web3 continues to evolve, we’re gonna have more and more people, brands, communities all vying for your attention and your time and your participation.
John Roberts: Yeah.
Brian Piper: Um, so it’s really gonna be, uh, I think a matter of finding out how you can add value. So I think there’s incredible opportunities for brands, for creators and for the individual participants.
John Roberts: And Allison, when you were talking earlier about communities, does that … just following on from Brian’s thoughts there, does that match with your, uh, perspective on the Volvo communities?
Allison Chen: Definitely. I think that what we’re starting to see in a lot of different brands is that they are trying to create communities that can all share similar values that these brands push forward. There are things that people hold onto and are able to connect to each other through. And I think that adding that Web3 component on top of these communities really gives people a chance to participate and also really like get something back with it. Um, make sure that they’re investing as much into their community as they’re getting in return.
John Roberts: That’s great. So when you three, when you think about this world of new that we’re living in, and obviously you are all here today because you are ahead of probably most of the people that are listening and certainly me, what are the most surprising questions you get asked when you begin the conversation with a brand? Josh.
Josh Coon: I mean it depe- depending on the brand, it might be what is Web3? But I think some of it is understanding the implications of the technology we’re talking about, right? Like things like blockchain that are gonna essentially be like a public ledger where these things will exist for a very long period of time. Um, brands are more transactional these days and thinking more about short term things. So some of it’s about like really trying to understand the implications of what it is that we might be recommending. How do you use these new tools in a way that they’re going to be able to see value from both in the short term and hopefully build something in the long term?
So some of it’s just, I think a lot of education right now about what it is we’re talking about. Like what’s, you know … and there’s just so much all of a sudden the speed of it is picked up and picked up. So NFTs to the Metaverse to so many things, they’re trying to just a- assimilate a lot of it. So some of it lately is honestly just educating people and making them understand what it is we’re talking about so they can understand and have really fruitful conversations around recommendations we might need.
John Roberts: And Brian, have you found that true certainly from your perspective, both as an, uh, speaking as an expert on Web3, but also working internally with client side?
Brian Piper: Yeah, absolutely. I get a lot of questions as to why we should use Web3, what is different about it than Web2? What can it do that our current marketing, our current content isn’t doing for us? And a lot of that just goes back to, you know, as Josh was saying, understanding what blockchain provides, how that can provide the transparency and the trust to your audience that you don’t get in a typical Web2 environment. There are Web3 communities that I’m involved in where everyone is giving their time, giving their expertise, donating all of that just to help the community grow. Because as the community grows, it provides more opportunities for all of the members.
So everyone wants to see it succeed. Whereas in a traditional Web2 space, you get that very transactional, I’m giving you something, I’m getting something from you, uh, mentality. Whereas in the Web3 space, a lot of times if you get into these communities, everyone is just trying to make it grow, make it bigger, create more opportunities for themselves and for the community. I think that’s one of the, you know, real differences in those spaces is that transactional sort of mentality versus the hold and contribute kind of mentality.
Josh Coon: Even understanding sometimes what a … the difference between a community and an audience is like, brands have spent so much time building like this more transactional relationship like Brian mentioned with their audience, but now we’re talking about something different and I feel like it’s easy for them to sort of blend those two concepts. So even spending time on that, like what is the difference between a community and the audience that you fostered over the last, you know, how many every years is something else that takes a little bit of time and explanation.
John Roberts: So start here, ’cause remember you’re talking to a seven year old CMO and me when we’re all pretty much base level, although I might be more like a six year old. So what would be the uh, the 32nd version that you would wanna explain to that, Josh?
Josh Coon: I’ll try, but you two are probably way more versed.
Brian Piper: Yeah.
Josh Coon: So jump in if I, if I butcher this.
Brian Piper: (laughs).
Josh Coon: Um, but like, I think the difference is that an audience is more of a one-way connection. Brands have built audiences through content, through, you know, essentially buying impressions and it’s, here’s my message, I’m going to give it to you. And you, there’s a bit of talking back and forth through social media and through other things, but it’s essentially a bit more of a transactional passive relationship where you’re consuming the content I’m creating essentially, whether that be an ad or a social presence or whatever, where a community is much more of a co-contributor model. Like we’re going to build something together and we will both benefit from the thing we’re building over a period of time. So it’s a different thing, it’s a different relationship that you’re trying to foster and it’s more of a relationship I think than brands are used to.
Brian Piper: Yeah, I describe it as a, a difference in engagement levels. So an audience is usually a very passive, as Josh was saying, not entirely actively engaged. Whereas a community now you have people who are looking for opportunities to engage, looking to contribute, looking to add in their knowledge and help grow the community. And then you take that one level further and now you get the, the super fans who are, who will do work for free for no compensation. And sometimes in a lot of communities you get these token economies. So these communities will build their own internal economy, well, they’ll reward you with tokens that then you can use later to exchange for some other sort of good or service that only has value within that community, but it’s like any sort of currency, the value is determined by what you can get out of that from that, you know, particular environment that you’re in. So I think, you know, the level of engagement and the, um, looking for opportunities to engage and contribute is really one of the things that differentiates audience from community.
Allison Chen: I was actually just going to contribute to that. I think that one of the most interesting parts of Web3 has been that in Web2 actually, um, for example, you would be a lot of referral programs. So you would have like a 20% off code, um, if a friend shared it with you or may- maybe you’ll have like $10 to shop in communities, what’s really interesting is having, um, grants and bounties that a lot of different companies will make up however they want it to be. So a bounty would be like a smaller reward, like maybe sharing some social posts like writing a Twitter thread or writing a thought piece or an essay on the platform in its benefits. Um, which is really just getting the word out and showing people that these communities are really impactful and really valuable to them, which then helps grow the community and gives everybody this mutual benefit.
And grants could be even bigger, like maybe a few thousand dollars for each different project that would be a proposal. And I think that what’s been really interesting about these grants is the opportunity to create a bigger contribution to this decentralized autonomous organization or a DAO and I’ve seen just so many really cool projects that I think are like audience-initiated, community-initiated and really give back to these DAOs that Web2 hasn’t really been able to see before.
John Roberts: That’s great. And just picking up on that thread, Allison, when I always think about, you know, we’ve all talked about just how new everything is and so we’ve all gotta be brave enough to go explore, right? And to try things and, and learn from each other. In your conversations, which are brands that are doing … you admire for what they’re doing and why? Allison, we’ll stay with you.
Allison Chen: I would say so back to like the whole grant and bounty conversation, one of the companies that I’m working with right now is called Brain Trust and their model is kind of being able to create a talent network for people who want to be able to work remotely. Um, these are skilled jobs, they’re usually engineering and design jobs, but could in the future hold many more. And what they do is they make sure that the talent is earning all the money. There’s no take rate, so it’s not like an Uber Door Dash where the take rate could be from 20 to 50%, um, which is a lot if you are an independent contractor, um, like myself. And I think that being able to embed that through the tokenomic system and um, right in the smart contract where you’re able to earn token and then convert it to like your own currency and make sure that you’re getting all of this and putting it back into the community with the conversion is just really, really something. And I think really innovative, something that really gives ownership to the network.
John Roberts: Excellent. And we’re gonna make sure we put all the links in our, in the, uh, the surrounding copy and the, the leads for this pod so everyone can go surf ’cause I was on Brain Trust yesterday and I was really admiring not just the work but also the, um, the simplicity and enthusiasm of it. It’s very good. Brian, how about, how about you? ‘Cause all clients want someone else to be first and they wanna be second or third, right? So what brands do you admire and why?
Brian Piper: Yeah, I’m, some of the bigger brands that I think are doing a really good job and are really innovating in the space. I think what Salesforce has done with the NFT cloud they’ve created, they’re really looking to figure out a way to get enterprise brands into the NFT space in a very trusted environment. And with third party cookies going away, everyone’s looking for different ways to be able to capture and personalize these different experiences. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that one of the largest CRM companies is creating this NFT cloud. I think NFTs are gonna be … they’re they’re gonna power the next evolution of the CRM. I think as users begin to understand how to put their data into these digital IDs, these digital wallets, we’re gonna start seeing much more personalized experiences that are gonna be created out of that.
I think there are a lot of other big players that are doing really innovative things in the space. I think Spatial is doing some fantastic things in the Metaverse space and Metaverse is a whole nother aspect of Web3. There are Metaverses that don’t incorporate Web3, but I think when you start talking about Metaverses that do incorporate the Web3, the decentralized environments and the crypto economies, I think we’re gonna run into all sorts of different applications, use cases, entire new tactics and platforms that are gonna be created that we’re gonna have to start thinking about how we’re gonna integrate our brand, our products, our services into those environments.
John Roberts: So we’re gonna come back and talk about NFTs and Metaverse as well. I feel like it’s a bit of a, a Planner Parley whack-a-mole just as we get one, some- something else is popping up. All right. Josh brand you admire, that you use and also I’m gonna sneak in one, where have people made mistakes and why. What can we learn from that? To Josh?
Josh Coon: Yeah, so I, I’ll go with uh, one, I just was reading a little bit about, Brian mentioned at the beginning when he was kind of listing off some brands. Starbucks is gonna do something called the Odyssey, where they’re really trying to build a community that would replicate the … I think they call it the third place, which is meant to be the, the culture of their store online. It’s not launched yet, so we’ll see how the community comes together and how it works.
But they have seemingly applied a really good strategy that would try to replicate the reason people go to Starbucks and spend time there or the coffee shop in general and try to pull that up into a, a digital space, a digital community that has NFTs in it, it has quite a few different components it sounds like. So I’m excited to kind of see that come together because I think that they’re the kind of brand that could really embrace this technology and do something great with it, um, and kinda lead the way a little bit because they have a really innovative history. Um, so we’ll, we’ll see. But I’m, I’m excited to kind of see that take shape and see what happens there.
I mean brands that make mistakes, like, I’m sure that Brian and Nelson probably have stuff that’ll jump right to mind. I don’t have one that jumps out as much as just a general trend of being gimmicky about it or like trying to rush in to do a quick kinda cash grab, right? Like NFTs are huge, so I’m gonna quickly make an NFT of anything I can possibly think of or I’m gonna launch my own coin because, you know, the co- Bitcoin was big. So I feel like there’s been a lot of that kinda opportunistic, little bit gimmicky stuff that people have done. So that, that tends to be, I think where some of the transition maybe we’re in now is, is we’re moving away from that first wave of like just gonna try whatever to, to kinda be opportunistic to like, now I’m gonna apply more thoughtful, rigorous strategy to this new technology and really show what it can do.
John Roberts: Yeah, good points. Brian, you were nodding on the gimmicky part.
Brian Piper: Yeah, I mean at the end of last year when NFTs were exploding, there were a whole bunch of new projects being created and people just jumping in to try to cash in on the market that was blowing up. And you know, I think it’s a good thing that we’ve entered this crypto winter that a lot of people are calling it where the price of a lot of these cryptocurrencies are going down. As you know, we’re facing other economic issues as well, not just in the, the crypto environment. And I think what that’s gonna do is that’s gonna weed out a lot of these projects that don’t provide utility that don’t have the value. And I’m in a, a DAO that’s the ED3 DAO, it’s all about educating educators on Web3 with the ultimate goal of eventually being able to use Web3 technologies in education to democratize education to reach broader audiences.
And this was also one of the projects that started during the end of last year, and it’s interesting to see which projects exploded and then fell flat and which projects have that slow progression and kind of that slow role towards success and building a good strong audience and a solid foundation. Because that’s the big difference between a lot of these projects that exploded and just went flat as the users got in, and then they realize that there wasn’t anything for them once they were in there. There was no value, there was no utility for them. So it’s interesting when you start thinking about getting into this space, that you understand that you have to have something that provides value, that gives back to your users, that strengthens your community and helps build that idea of working together and all coming together to focus on one specific goal.
Allison Chen: It’s also really interesting that both, both of you brought up Starbucks new Project Odyssey. I think, um, being a part of um, a lot of UX UI discussions in Web3 and seeing what the future is of NFT language, I don’t think we’re gonna be talking about NFTs by using the acronym NFT in the future. I’ve seen a lot of conversation about how Starbucks didn’t really use that terminology, and therefore it was a really seamless process that didn’t even seem like Web3 was a part of this. And I think that to your point Brian, about utility, um, we’re not even gonna make it so so much that it’s a Web3 thing. It’s just gonna kinda be what companies integrate into their technology.
Brian Piper: Absolutely. You know, a lot of these new projects that are coming out, they’re just saying it’s a loyalty program, it’s a rewards program, it’s a token, you know, exchange where, and they’re not saying this is a Web3. I mean we didn’t say that when Web2 started. It’s like, “Oh I’m gonna launch my blog on Web2.” It’s, it’s just, I’m launching my blog. So I think we are gonna absolutely move away from that language. And o- one of the projects I wanted to point out that was, uh, a fail because it didn’t provide any thought, there was no strategy or understanding of the technology was what Chevy did when they tried to have an auction for one core Corvette that was going to come with an NFT and the actual auction itse- itself started off at a much higher price point than the car was worth and they didn’t provide any additional value or any additional incentives and they didn’t get a single bid on, on that NFT. So that’s just, you have to understand the technology, you have to understand the environment before you can start marketing it and creating new tactics in that space.
John Roberts: And I feel as though this is fascinating for me ’cause we always have this fundamental tension right now, which is a lot of work on brands today. Brands tend to be focused more in the near term with an immediate impact, and yet I’m hearing a lot about longer term commitment into Web3 to be able to provide genuine community and, and, and value. Is that fair that there’s this tension? And if so, what can we do about it?
Brian Piper: There definitely is tension because you have to look at these as long term projects ’cause people aren’t … if people wanna do a transactional project, they can do it in Web2 space. It’s much easier, it’s less expensive, there are less risks, there’s less new understanding. You’re not trying to onboard anyone into new technology. Whereas Web3, you have to understand that this is something that very few people are even aware of right now. They’re not thinking about getting into this space. They don’t understand why they would wanna get a digital wallet or sign up or buy crypto.
So there are a lot of barriers, a lot of education that’s needed to make your audience understand the importance and the value of taking those few extra steps to get into that space and participate in these communities. So I think you have to understand right at the beginning that this is not a quick, easy turnkey solution. This is an investment, it’s new technology. I mean, I tell people we are at the the dial up modem stage, which a lot of people don’t get that ’cause I’m aging myself there, but we’re at the, at the very foundation, the very beginnings of this Web3 space people figuring out all the new tactics that can be created. So it’s a very exciting space but you also have to understand where you are when you get into it.
John Roberts: All right. And Allison, does that impact the kind of work you are doing as a consultant having gone from full time now to actually working as a, as a an independent consultant?
Allison Chen: Yes, definitely. I think that a lot of the Web2 projects that I’d consulted on were, um, a lot of like SEO based content based projects. So it would be companies wanting some sort of content strategy so that they would be able to get more eyes on the things that they wanted digitally in a lot of D2C communities, direct to consumer. Um, but what I’m seeing in Web3 is building a lot of custom platforms, kind of rethinking how a lot of different people are going to be able to participate and contribute and give each other value. So a lot of that work has been really interesting because it’s using a lot of the Web2 platforms that we think that are really contributing to community doing well, being able to review vote, like, share things with each other and really make sure that that is embedded into the ecosystem that we’re building on top of.
Josh Coon: Yeah and, uh, I think that tension that you were talking about a l- a little bit of it I think is the brands need to start to really think about kind of the changing world we’re moving into where you can’t just go buy eyeballs really cheap anymore when cookies are gone, when all of that stuff changes, you have to do the work to build the community for its long-term value. And, and I think that’s hard to get people necessarily to commit to, but that there’s also not gonna be another choice pretty soon. Like you’re gonna have to really provide new kinds of value and new kinds of innovation for the customers you’re trying to serve.
And I think that was a great point Allison brought up about like not using the buzzword anymore and start to really focus on the actual value to the user, I think is one of the things that it means that people are starting to actually adopt the, the technology in a more serious way. And maybe they’re starting to identify that like, yeah, I’ve gotta put the effort in to build this community for the future, kinda stability of the brand, the company, what- whatever you’re working on.
John Roberts: So Josh is one of the, the strategist here at Truth Collective. Think about the conversations we have with our clients. What do you think are the two questions that all strategists should be asking their teams and their clients? Two questions.
Josh Coon: I, I mean the first thing I think is, uh, are the Web3 tools, the right tools for the problem they’re trying to solve? Because the other thing that’s always easy to do is you get really excited about something or, and you see all the possibility and you start trying to almost like make it work for everything, but there are things that Web2 is perfectly suited for and is the right answer. There are things where Web3 brings another level of, of connection of, um, co-creation of value that you’re not gonna get through Web2. So part of the question is, is really trying to help the client zero in on what it is they’re solving for? What’s the problem we’re really after so that you’re identifying the right tools to solve the problem? And the other one kind of goes back for me to that discussion we were having around like, do they truly understand what it is that we’re talking about in terms of the technology behind the, the recommendations we make?
Because it’s easy to dismiss something as, I can’t build a community right now, it’s not worth the value. I, I’m gonna focus on something more short term if they don’t understand truly kind of all of the, the technology and the, the value that it’s gonna bring behind it. Which I know i- is, I, I think comes back to almost doing it in the way that Allison was referring to with the NFT … not talking about the NFT language is it’s the value of the technology, what does it bring to my audience? And focusing in on that, that core kind of why behind the, the technology so that they can make informed decisions and you can have really good discussions ’cause you’re coming from the same place.
John Roberts: And it’s funny ’cause of your two questions, one of ’em is a fundamental question that stress this I feel like we don’t ask enough, which is what’s the problem we’re really solving. Right? Allison, how about you? What would you like to add to that?
Allison Chen: I think to our points just about building a long term solution and also being a little bit more sustainability minded, will anybody care or remember about like what we’re doing right now in five years? And um, I think a lot about legacy and like what, what we’re gonna end up leaving with the work that we do. Like will this impact anybody on a broader scale? Will this be part of like a bigger story? I think that oftentimes we really just like get into the politics of it, like wanna get the work done. We think about like what feedback means and how to get around it. And that’s like one of the biggest downfalls of strategy when we are really in the weeds of our work. But we can really like, have the power to make many more impactful, sustainable solutions if we all come together and are able to unite under that thing and make sure that we remember what we’re remembered for.
John Roberts: So just picking up on that, Allison, we, we have lots of conversations over the last couple of years as planners with agencies, with brands about how we have to discover our true purpose. Okay? The salmon cynicism of the, the why, about what the role of the brand really is. And what we’ve seen in the last 12 months is it’s less about making a claim for having a broader purpose but actually delivering, being more purposeful, so acting on something that is much clearer. And it felt to me as though that seemed to fit with your conversation about what you were just saying now about how we have the opportunity in Web3 for brands to really start to thinking about the role that they play and the legacy that they can leave.
Allison Chen: Yeah, definitely. One crafting the voice for this brand that I mentioned earlier called Brain Trust, this um, DAO, they um, really built themselves around the image of becoming the fourth industrial revolution where workers are kind of in charge again. And I think that just like reading this brand manifesto and kind of developing the brand voice with it really shows how it can have an impact on the working world beyond what we really see today and ha- change the way that people work. And it’s not necessarily just to, to change like one campaign or to, to strike a partnership with another brand, which I think we get lost in the weeds of a little bit when we work together.
John Roberts: All right. And Brian, for you, what are the, those couple of key questions.
Brian Piper: You know, al- Allison and Josh both really summed it up in there. You’ve got to get to that underlying why the bigger brand message, the bigger picture. You look at brands like Patagonia just gave their company a way to, you know, a, a nonprofit organization. They had a z- a plan, they had a vision, they know what they wanted to do with their company. Whenever you’re gonna look at creating and building this sort of community and building this strong group of consumers, of users, of very engaged people, you really need to understand what that message is, what your destination is to get them all on board, to get them all working together. ‘Cause people are looking for organizations that they feel that they can trust, that they feel like can give them direction and help them with their focus.
And if you can provide that through a community, however you build it, whether it’s Web2 or Web3, whatever linchpin you create for everyone to focus on and move towards, it’s, it’s not something that you can just do as a transactional one off campaign. These are longer term, you know, brand missions that you really wanna focus on. So if you’re thinking about creating a Web3 community, building your brand in this space, you really wanna think about those underlying kinda fundamental questions.
John Roberts: So there’s a notion that I’m picking up from all of this conversation from all three of you, which is within Web3 and the, the role of community is very much driven by generosity, a commitment to actually help each other build something bigger, share with each other. Brian, like you were talking earlier about some of the communities you are in, Allison. I asked our, our head of client impact, who’s the best person to get a sense of pulse check about what, what, what will clients … think like a client and what will client ask? And her first response from the client would be, how can I make money? Is that the wrong question that clients should be asking? Brian.
Brian Piper: Well, I mean, I think for a business to be successful, you have to be able to make money. So I, I don’t think that’s the wrong question to ask, but if you reframe it into, how can we create a successful business focused on a goal that an entire community, an entire brand, an entire organization can rally around. So I think instead of just figuring out how you can, you know, make your budget goals for this year, you really have to think about, where do we wanna be in 10 years? Let’s look farther out and figure out what impact we want to have as an organization. Where can we really make a difference in the world?
And I think our younger generation, I know all of our kids, my, you know, are interested in how can they actually help? How can they actually do something that’s going to cause change in a positive way? Because they’ve, they’ve seen the impact of, you know, just these big brands that are just out there to make money and make a profit and they don’t care what impact it has on the environment or the workers or, you know, all the other customers who are being, you know, milked out of the money that they work so hard for. So I think that’s something that we really need to start focusing on it, looking at that bigger picture.
John Roberts: What a sweet reframe. Loved it. Allison, how about you?
Allison Chen: Yeah, my mind was just turning when he was … when Brian was talking about his answer (laughs). I think that a lot of companies have different goals and in terms of monetary, it’s like, companies wanna be profitable, but do you want to make enough money to be able to just sell your company? Is that the goal? Um, is it like nothing, no investment in brand values, not really trying to like, have people believe in your vision, you’re just trying to sell out? Um, I think that those are two different completely valid points that come with the definition of monetary success. I think that it kinda depends on the community that you have. If the community is a grassroots community, that’s kind of going against the grain of what’s mainstream or just like, you’re creating a counterculture with the brand that you’ve created. Maybe making money isn’t really the goal because it’s important to be able to compensate your employees and make sure that you have a sustainable business. Um, but maybe it’s something bigger than that and maybe it’s something that you don’t wanna sell out for.
John Roberts: Very good. Josh.
Josh Coon: I mean, as, of course a business has to make money, that’s part of why they exist. But some of it is like, what value am I providing? And it’s value to your employees, it’s value to the brand, it’s value to your audience. And Web3 allows some really exciting opportunities to provide new value that hasn’t really been there before. So I think that’s kind of one of the ways that I think we could talk about it with them is, you know, there, there’s lots of different kinds of value you can create short term, long term to your audience, to your employees, to li- and how can you take that idea of value on and use Web3 potentially as a new solution to provide more value than you could before?
John Roberts: Excellent. We’ve talked around and through so many things today, but let me just ask as we’re coming to a close, where should people start? Brian.
Brian Piper: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of content out there about Web3, so trying to figure out what the best place to get into it is kind of difficult. It depends on how you like to consume content. It depends on where you are. If you’re a complete beginner, let’s say you like listening to podcasts, there are lots of great podcasts out there. There’s the Web3 Academy, which goes into a lot of the basics, very introductory level, kind of introduces different environment, covers all the different aspects of Web3. If you’re interested in NFTs, there’s NFT 365. If you’re interested in decentralized finance, there’s, Bankless has a great series of podcasts, A16Z has a great Web3 podcast. And, you know, Chris Dickson is a expert out on Twitter. You can find him and his podcasts are eye-opening every time you see him, uh, his uh, uh, tweets. So lots of different places to find content out there. Just go out, start exploring, looking around, see what different brands are doing and see what different projects might be things that you would be able to leverage for your own brand or for your own company.
John Roberts: Fantastic. And I hear there might be a book coming.
Brian Piper: There is in February of next year, Epic Content Marketing, the second edition is coming out. So Joe Pulizzi and I co-authored that, and it has a whole section in there on Web3 and content marketing in Web3.
John Roberts: Fantastic. Allison, how about you? Where should we start?
Allison Chen: Yes, to briefly add to that, um, really great comprehensive answer. Um, I think that one of the issues in Web3 actually is that it is a really male dominated industry. Um, a lot of, as we call them tech bros, um, I think getting around this culture that’s just shaped around a lot of personalities where some people might feel like, oh, there might not be a space for me. I think that there are so many really awesome spaces for a lot of women, a lot of people of color, a lot of different people who just haven’t had a platform before are able to come together and find a space for them.
So that project that I mentioned earlier called Hug is centered around Web3 education and is really centered around being able to onboard people who haven’t previously or traditionally felt welcome in the Web3 space. Um, and making sure that they have a community of support to ask questions, like make sure that you’re getting the resources you need and having people to uplift you and learn together, um, do your own research. I think that those are all really, really, um, cool countercultures that I’ve seen in the Web3 space.
John Roberts: Fantastic. And Josh.
Josh Coon: I don’t know if I can add anything more to the really amazing list that’s just kind of been thrown out. Some of the, the mentions are definitely ones that I like, and I mean, they’re just platforms like Discord and Twitter where there’s a lot of just really great conversation around. And if you’re looking to kind of dabble, but you don’t want to commit to like a full jumping into a community yourself, like there’s a lot of great great Twitter spaces that are happening where there’s really good conversation. You just kind of listen in for a little bit to get your feet wet. So there’s, there’s just so much out there that doing your own research, but being brave enough to jump in and just start to explore I think is, is really important.
John Roberts: So true, so true. And anything we should be doing as strategist, but particularly around the topic today. I’ve loved our time together. Thank you so much for, felt really brief discussions, but, um, it’s starting to open my eyes as well and I’m gonna be brave and go and explore. Closing thought, what would be the duty title for this pod? Brian.
Brian Piper: Web3 and why it matters.
John Roberts: Web3 and why it matters. Build on that, Allison.
Allison Chen: I don’t know, the dynamic three in Web3 (laughs). You’re looking at it.
John Roberts: Nice. You mean I don’t qualify as the dynamic three? I’m the … No, I don’t.
Allison Chen: (laughs).
John Roberts: You’re probably right. I don’t. I absolutely don’t. I’m with that one. Josh.
Allison Chen: I’m joking (laughs).
John Roberts: (laughs).
Josh Coon: I (laughs), I mean, the dynamic three is leading us right towards superhero language, which I’m a big fan of, um, as you can tell from my coffee cup. But, um, I, I think, uh, maybe it’s something about the wonders of Web3. There’s a lot of exciting inspirational stuff that got talked about here.
John Roberts: So I’m gonna pick up on that because I hear the wander with the, um … maybe it was deliberate Josh. The wander of the amazement, the wander about the question mark, but the wonder also is to go exploring, wander with an A. So we’re gonna close with that. Uh, I’ve loved our time together. Allison, thank you.
Allison Chen: Thank you so much.
John Roberts: Brian, always good to see you.
Brian Piper: You as well. Thank you.
John Roberts: Josh, we’ll be working on a brief putting soon together on some point (laughs).
Josh Coon: Yep.
John Roberts: Thank you all.
Josh Coon: Thanks very much. It was great to talk with you all.
Outro: Planner Parley, a Truth Collective production.