Creativity is king: Brands are strategizing their trajectory into a new internet. New definitions of utility and value must be understood to grow community, but creativity is the lifeblood of why audiences will care, says Hall Carlough, Head of Creative Strategy at Invisible North.
The whiplash from the crypto world in recent months has left everyone with stars in their eyes. Some stars are shining bright, and others are looking for the exit after a bullfight. Brand marketers have to look at the long game to be successful, so building a cornerstone for your roadmap now will ensure you end up ahead of the curve in a year’s time. Despite the recent surges and crashes, marketers should be looking at blockchain and how it can influence their consumer base – and they should be building now.
Creativity Drives Wallet Connection
Technology has always been a key driver in behavior. When social media came on the scene, a content calendar full of tweets was suddenly needed for every single beat in a campaign. What happened online mattered just as much as what you said or did as a brand in every other channel. Then sometimes the tweets were the campaign entirely. Brands adapted to the advent of new online needs because technology drives behavior, and wallet connect is the new advent in online behavior. It’s time to be proactive in the face of emerging consumer needs.
Connecting your wallet to something means you trust it. But it’s also a single click that asks, “do I believe in this enough?” It’s much deeper than a post or a hashtag. You can lose or you can win with this action because actual money is at stake in every click. Brands have to understand that and adapt, but the main currency of why people will care has not changed: creativity.
Why Some Projects Succeed And Others Fail
The secret sauce is a good idea. Talk to someone in crypto and they will ask: “What problem are you trying to solve?” Strategists have always asked this, but in Web3, we mean it in the sense of a core structural problem that decentralizes value, something that fixes what only moves value in one direction – toward the brand. While there’s no such thing as a new idea, the fundamental shift toward peer-to-peer exchange and trustless environments changes the way those ideas are expressed in action. Fundamentally, it’s different than the way ideas came to be in the past because consumers will only connect their wallet if they believe in it and if they can earn.
Whether you’re an independent builder or a brand making something for an audience, a clear creative idea is your true north. Why do some projects succeed, and others fail in Web3? The truth is we don’t know. No one knows, not yet. It’s all too new.
A clear distinction rises up when you look at successful IP projects (NFTs). The creator feels an organic and energetic passion for the idea. They’re so passionate about it that others can feel it too. The audience feels it enough to invest in it.
The proof of this comes in the very whiplash the news is talking about. Projects are still succeeding, even in a bear market, because people invest in ideas they believe in. The biggest web3 advancements have been built in bear markets, including Ethereum, because the idea was too good to wait for a bull market to build.
The lesson is to invest in your infrastructure now to grow later. Build so you can deploy creativity to garner the right audience for the right moment within that structure.
Don’t just drop an NFT. Build a roadmap.
Novelty V. Utility
When considering if your idea is sticky enough, think of novelty and utility as opposite ends of the spectrum. In traditional marketing, novelty exists as a headline. In Web3, utility drives adoption. As for the Metaverse, you won’t travel to a pop-up store just for the IRL in-store experience, and certainly not more than once. You need a virtual space to deliver more than what’s possible offline. Can your audience earn in this space? Yes. Does your audience value what they are earning? Yes. Are you delivering on the magic virtual spaces provide? Yes. You might have a good idea – something that creates true loyalty.
With the advent of smart contracts, the very notion of creative value is inverted. With the right twist in the code, an idea can be born. The visual output is often less important than the value the contract creates. The idea is in the infrastructure, and people value that inherently. Making them laugh or cry is not enough – they want to be included in the creation through generative art or AI. Somehow they want the value of input, but more importantly, they want to reap value in their own output, because it makes them part of the creative process.
Creators V. Builders
In our current digital world, creators have been at the forefront of everything for years. They have reshaped celebrity and endorsement for brand marketers. Web3 is truly for the builders. What is the difference? Builders solve problems and do it with the art of technology. Builders have an understanding of how online life can influence your true-life experience far beyond capturing your eyeballs. They make utility, not content. And in a world where everything is content, utility is king.
Creativity and Utility
Creative utility is still something brand creatives know at their core. How do you solve a problem? First and foremost, with an idea. For a long time, agencies were focused on product development rather than message-based marketing. We’ve made speed bumps that produced electricity, candles that smelled like fresh new shoes and spray paint to illuminate cyclists so they won’t get killed on the road. Now, product building has moved online.
Web3 is the advent of this creative product building at light speed. People do more and more online, and they want to get paid for it. So understanding where Web3 might go is more important than getting everything correct right now. Build for the community you want tomorrow. You can earn by playing, learning, trading, and existing online right now. Who knows how consumers can earn tomorrow. Let them earn your brand. You just have to trust them first.
You earn trust by building things that their creative heart can’t dare to say no to, so they click and connect wallet.
About the author
Hall Carlough is the VP and Head of Creative Strategy at Invisible North. Hall has led integrated teams both in-house and at creative agencies. With a background in theater and dance, Hall approaches each campaign with ideation and storytelling at the core. Along with the Invisible North team, he builds the integrated marketing landscape ensuring cultural significance and delivery of strategic business goals. Hall has led 360° marketing work for brands like Vox Media, Meta, The National Park Service Centennial, Delta Air Lines, Netflix, Apple, Coinbase, and more.
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