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The top ways to use Web3 to drive social impact

Brands can use Web3 technologies to drive social impact strategies, and connect with Gen Z and Millennials in the process

Enhance social and environmental responsibility strategies with decentralized Web3 technologies

For Generation Z and Millennial consumers, what a brand stands for is as important — if not occasionally more important — than a company’s product experience itself. For this reason, many brands are incorporating social impact strategies into their marketing and customer outreach, so that they can better connect with these customer groups.

Web3 technologies represent an important, emerging way to drive social impact, while engaging Gen Z and Millennial customers in the process. In our recent survey of U.S. consumers, we asked which types of functionality in a Web3 token would help them engage more with a brand.

Among the top responses was “supporting interesting causes and organizations”, second only to Web3 loyalty rewards. The combination of Gen Z and Millennials’ digital savvy, search for authentic experiences, and issues-driven activism propel them to connect with companies who share their enthusiasm for social and environmental causes.

While once seen by brand marketers as a way to attract customers via novelty collectibles, Web3 tokens serve a more important purpose in the context of social impact: they enable utility. In this sense, they can help create change by harnessing the power of community. In this guide, I’ve included some ideas below on how to bring real-world Web3 social impact use cases to your customers.

Web3 strategies offer opportunities for companies to include social impact in their corporate social responsibility that benefit causes that customers care about, whether that’s for global or local initiatives. Consider some of the following ways you can include social impact in your Web3 strategy:

Cultural and community-relevant art. One strategy that many brands who have experimented with Web marketing is selecting artwork for their Web3 token that is culturally relevant to the community they’re engaging with. This may include selecting artists from underrepresented communities to create media for the token. Or it may include collaborating with creators who are thought leaders within the community to develop relevant artwork.

Programmatic donations. Social impact tokens can be associated with a particular cause or organization that helps a local social or environmental need — and can, through the blockchain, contribute programmatic monetary donations to these groups. With each Web3 token purchase or issuance, a brand can contribute a small donation to the cause they’ve selected, driving impact in the local community with the support.

Web3 tokens can be used to drive programmatic donations and benefit local community initiatives

Local impact experiences. Digital tokens can be used to drive social impact in local communities by creating a digital memento that includes media of experiences in community service programs like food bank initiatives, beach cleanups, or supporting underserved communities. These tokens are not only a souvenir of their brand experience but also a way for customers to see the impact of their actions on the community.

Sustainability strategies. Environmental causes are top-of-mind for Generation Z, and Web3 strategies can be used to help mitigate carbon emissions. Companies can create Web3 tokens that represent customer experiences and include a sustainability promise as part of the program — like capturing carbon on behalf of customers. To measure progress on the climate initiative, the brand and its climate partners can push events to the blockchain that show how they’re helping to advance these actions forward. Customers, when they view their token, can see these blockchain events, and the progress that’s being made on their behalf.

Climate sustainability strategies can be enhanced by Web and blockchain-based coordination

Once you’ve defined the social impact cause, and integrated it into your Web3 strategy, consider how you can extend the conversation through a Web3 enabled community. Some companies token-gate content to customers, subscribers or members — allowing access to behind-the-scenes interviews, premium content, merchandise, and meet-ups that can further the cause. This community-based format helps rally community members around the cause that you’ve defined, helps continue the work that you’ve begun, and keeps members engaged with your brand.

Engage Gen Z and Millennial customers with social impact-based communities

Another way that some organizations are engaging Gen Z and Millennial users is through gamification. In a nutshell, these strategies reward users for engaging in a series of participative activities. For example, participants can be rewarded when they visit real-life locations in a scavenger-hunt type format, and scan a QR code when they do so. Or, they can complete a series of puzzles or branded games.

These gamification activities can be used to drive forward social impact strategies. For instance, when users complete a sequence of activities, they can unlock a programmatic donation to a local non-profit. Or, content from the cause-based marketing initiative can be integrated into the game itself, like conservation, recycling, or sustainability tips. In any case, gamifying Web3 enabled content helps engage users in a fun, immersive way — and can benefit the causes you’ve selected too.

Using Web3 cause-based marketing, companies can associate impact experiences with the values they, and their customers, espouse

For companies that use Web3-enabled social impact strategies, they benefit from a publicly traceable blockchain record of their cause-based marketing, helping to better demonstrate impact in their year-end corporate social responsibility reports. Using Web3 tokens, brands can help associate the experience with their values and tell the “story” of the brand experience via cause marketing, creating a deeper connection with customers.

In addition, companies can provide verified social impact experiences to their customers via blockchains — whether that’s something as simple as participating in a local service project, or something more complex, like engaging in carbon capture. These digital mementos are part of the customer’s brand experience and can be locally vetted and approved, making them more authentic and trustworthy.

Customers can showcase their activities using these mementos, and have them form a part of their digital identity. Lastly, the use of blockchain technology ensures that the token’s events associated with the social impact program are part of the public record and traceable, ensuring accountability.

Web3 technologies offer opportunities for companies to engage their customers and stakeholders with social impact programs. Whether that’s through programmatic, blockchain-based donations, Web3 tokens that capture user experiences, or climate sustainability initiatives, these cause marketing initiatives help companies better connect with their values-conscious Gen Z and Millennial customers.

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