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Communication Tech 3.0, Rimjhim Ray discusses why it's time to kills apps, focus on 'In Real Life' experiences

Will Nike make more money selling NFTs than selling sneakers? Will Flipkarts of tomorrow be raising money from its million-plus users through crypto tokens? Will social media die as Gen Z and Get A to prioritise trust or will street commerce become cool again as they start tiring of boring 2D e-commerce? We do not know all the answers, yes, but we do know what metaverse is doing to brands today what social media did to them in 2003. And if early trends are to be believed, web 3 promises to be more exciting yet more complex than web 2 ever was.

So what do brands do to stay relevant? Reinvent of course. As usual, the change is being led not by the well-entrenched brands but the new start-ups, the blockchain hackers and the crypto junkies. And because that is where the young crowd now congregates, brands can hardly dismiss them as a bunch of nerds. Brands have to engage with them and to do so they have to unlearn and relearn the rules of engagement for a new world. Here are some of them that could help you start navigating:

Trust is the key

The biggest casualty in the web 2 world has been trust. From Facebook to Twitter to Google, neither of the Web 2.0 giants has managed to control trolls, fake users, spam or even fraud. As interactions explode, consumers will start moving to trusted networks. 

The blue tick will hardly be the default gateway to trust, especially after the recent chaos unleashed in an effort to monetise the blue tick on Twitter. 

Trust has to be earned through tangible measures and then protected through identity management, investing in your most loyal users, prioritising Net Promoter Scores over any vanity metrics. The tricky part of web 3 which encourages smaller interest-based P2P networks is you may not even have access to all that is being said about your brand. Instead of trying to control or manipulate what users say about your brand, an investment in genuineness and authenticity will save the day for you.

Let your users own you

Barring the FTX debacle, Crypto’s biggest contribution is democratising access to and the deployment of capital. As a brand are you bold enough to let users buy your shares through crypto funds or give them ownerships by floating NFTs? 

Web 3 will be a lot of co-creation and building in public. Start looking for your biggest fans building NFTs around your brand logos or symbols and let them build along with you. 

Reward them with cryptos credited to digital wallets. If you are more futuristic as a brand, trade your shares for that crypto. The meta world is a place full of possibilities. Do not let this scare you.

From virtual to experiential

Virtual reality has been there for some time but it is now that this comes out of the gamers' zone to everyday commerce. From avatarised shopping on the internet to augmented reality-aided browsing in the real world, Gen A will veer from the pure virtual to the experiential. How do you communicate to kids for whom video is already passe? You basically build layers of experiences around your brand, letting your consumers interact with it. Imagine Nike rewarding users for spotting the Nike logo in a sea of feet using an AR app. Ok, might not be entirely practical or on second thought could go as viral as Pokemon?

Bring back IRL

E-commerce growth might reach saturation as gen A starts getting tired of being the isolated Netflix junkie. 

Offline experiences help you stand out on a cluttered internet. As real and virtual meet, offline can become more interesting. For a while Pokemon sent people on wild trails outdoors. The social movement around the environment and support for locals can bring back some of the internet addicts to experience things in real life.

Gives you a chance to build meta AR experiences - for example scan a menu in a restaurant to hear the story of the chef or even project him on your menu card.

Kill the portal and even the app

Have more apps on your phone than you would care to? You are hardly an isolated case. As apps explode, the average person's apathy toward them increases. So if you cannot get them to use your app, how do you talk to them? The answer is conversational commerce. Integrate with the most common chat apps or even voice apps that your consumers use. Make it easy for them to shop with a few voice instructions or messages. AI has already given you enough power to understand natural language. Go harness it to start the conversation with your user. Web 2 has created a lonely isolated world, web 3 may just bring the warmth of conversations back.

Rimjhim Ray is VP, of marketing, My Operator

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