From Web2 to Web3: Some Brands Fail. Why?

By Anouk Morin, Web3 Lead Associate at Ditto

When Porsche, one of the world’s most renowned luxury car companies, released their first official NFT drop at the end of January 2023, they hoped to create waves in the Web3 space. Advertised as a “bold project” for “virtual pioneers", the drop enabled Porsche’s fans to own a unique digital version of the iconic Porsche 911.

But the project failed to live up to the hype— the day after the launch, Porsche had only sold 25% of its 7500 NFT piece, before halting the mint and cutting out the supply to 2,363 tokens.

This lackluster launch is not a unique case. During the so-called “Crypto Winter,” negative press towards Web2 companies looking to enter Web3 increased. The Web3 space has called out cash grab speculative NFT drops and ‘overhyped’ projects; and engagement with Web3 projects has hit a saturation point.

More than ever, it is necessary for traditional brands to learn how to communicate the Web3 way to ensure that their projects will be well received by audiences. So what lessons can brands learn from Porsche’s example?

Web3 101: Understanding the space

Porsche’s lackluster NFT launch was due to a misunderstanding of the Web3 space. For one, the NFTs were too expensive for a bear market, listed at 0.911 ETH for one NFT, equivalent to about $1500 at the time. Secondly, Porsche didn’t make the right inroad with the Web3 space by cutting out on the NFT supply after just a day— it gave the impression that they miscalculated the project and didn’t do their research.

Web3 has its own set of rules, and companies should understand them. Before anything else, they should study the market, explore the space and learn. This can be largely facilitated by having a team of Web3 natives onboard.

Nike has been particularly successful in understanding Web3 because they gradually expanded their footprint and studied the space. In 2021, Nike acquired RTFKT, a web3 company creating fashion collectibles, loading their staff with Web3 native employees. They gained considerable knowledge before launching their own marketplace .SWOOSH in 2022, which has been very well received by the press and the community at large.

The world of Web3 is complex and nuanced, and it can be difficult to grasp at first—traditional brands don’t have to be perfect! But partnering with well-known builders and members of the space will show audiences that the project is backed by research, intent and a genuine need to add value.

Reaching out to your audience the Web3 way

While Web2 communications is defined by a singular, brand-to-consumer relationship, Web3’s ethos can be summarized by one core tenet: building a community.

The crypto community on Twitter pointed out that Porsche’s NFT initiative seemed rushed and poorly planned; they didn’t work on building a space for their consumers nor communicate with them throughout the project. They quickly abandoned their Discord server–one of the main ways they chose to communicate–which led to the community seeing the project as opportunistic.

Creating a Web3 community takes time and trust, and it needs to be done through gradually building an authentic presence across social media. Companies need to communicate directly with potential community members, and give them a space to interact with the project. They should host Twitter Spaces and hold Q&A sessions to exchange updates and ideas. In order to deepen community engagement, they can offer special perks, access passes to events or even exclusive memberships.

The key to an acclaimed Web3 project is involvement. Web2 companies think that the power of their brand name will be enough to drive the success of their project, but success in Web3 hinges on continuous, active and authentic community building.

Web3 isn’t a trend, it’s a commitment

During the bull market, many traditional companies entered Web3 to make a quick buck. This has inevitably led to an explosion of ‘Web3’ projects that oversaturated the market, and people lost interest over time.

Companies need to provide value and utility. This is where Porsche got it wrong; their first NFT drop offered no real perks to buyers, other than owning a digital version of the 911. A lot has changed during the bear market and consumers want NFTs that hold true value. For example, we’ve seen the rise of phygital NFTs and unlockables, which allow users to connect real-world products to the digital world, bringing more concrete use cases to the space.

Companies need to ask themselves the ‘why’ and the ‘what’. Why is Web3 the right path for our project?” and “what value are we bringing to the table? Web3 is a means, not an end. Companies should not rely solely on it to make money - Web3 can see right through this - it should just be a new medium of expression.

To many artists, investors, fans and collectors, Web3 isn’t just a technology — it is a way for them to find and thrive in a community of like-minded individuals. All they ask companies to do is to believe in Web3’s values as much as they do, and be a partner in building the space. More than just a buzz-word, Web3 is about building a long-term digital revolution. There’s much to be learned from those companies that understand this.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.