Three questions for building the Web3 brand soul: Why, What, How?

These problems need to be clarified before Web2 brands enter Web3.

By: starzq.eth

Starbucks has announced its plan to enter web3, which is very suitable for the past two days, to build a blockchain based user loyalty platform; Top blue chip NFT project doodles announced a financing of $5400w to build itself into a world-class entertainment brand. On the one hand, the top web2 brand is transforming to web3, and on the other hand, the original web3 brand is accelerating its growth. We come to the eve of the outbreak of web3 brand.

During this period, I also read many articles about the web3 brand, but more on the technical level. In communication with web2 friends, the biggest confusion is actually at the level of Tao. Why do you do this? What does the web3 brand really mean and how is it different from the web2 brand? After these issues are clarified, traditional brands will have a more comprehensive understanding and preparation to step out of the "why" step and explore what to do and how to do it. Borrowing the mode of "soul 3 questions" in my favorite podcast "Two Flowers of Arts and Sciences", through this article, I try to answer the question of "soul 3 questions" in building web3 brand - Why, What, How, from Tao to art

  • Why: Why does web3 have to be done for brands?

  • What: What category is suitable for web3 brand?

  • How: How to build a web3 brand, including mindset transformation/skill tree/case study

Finally, three practical questions and answers are attached

  • What is the most important thing in the early stage of establishing a Web3 brand

  • Why do I strongly recommend that the membership card be converted to NFT

  • The final suggestion for traditional brands to enter web3

After reading this article, I hope you can gain the following

  • If you are a traditional brand, I hope this article can help you (and your boss) to strengthen your determination to turn to web3, and understand how to better meet the new needs of GenZ generation users. The cases and suggestions in this article can be referred to

  • If you are planning to build a web3 native brand, I hope this article can help you better choose categories, design products, and start the community cold

  • If you are a web3 user, that's great~I hope the methods in this article can help you find a better community driven brand, go deep into the community and build a brand together, and form a win-win situation

Why: Why does web3 have to be done for brands?

Based on NFT or ERC-20 Token, let's see what changes will happen to consumers/communities/brands


  • Demand has been upgraded from "consumption" to "consumption+assets+digital identity"

  • Consumers are upgraded to "sovereign individuals", and behind brands are not just consumer goods. It has also become the personal assets of consumers (Token holders). Consumers will put more emotion and energy into it to help the brand / personal assets grow; At the same time, consumers will also have more benign creative incentives, so that this input process can continue

  • For Gen Z consumers, they are more willing to establish a unique digital identity to show their individuality and as a passport for metaverse, which requires corresponding brands to meet


Compared with the web2 community, which is like a loose interest group, Web3 consumers will gradually form an equal relationship with the brand because they have more practical input and rights, deeper community consensus and greater energy. Water can carry a boat and also overturn it. A strong community can not only accelerate the growth of the brand, but also can create a FUD (Fear, uncertainty, and double, simply understood as making and spreading negative news) brand. The brand itself must face up to and embrace


Based on the above analysis, the brand must be able to meet the new needs of new users, otherwise it will be eliminated by the times

  • As the proportion of users' virtual consumption increases, traditional physical brands must make a good layout and response in advance, have the ability to provide virtual products in the future, or combine virtual and real products, and occupy a place in the income. Among them, the fastest moving is Nike, which has generated more than 185 million dollars of revenue, ranking first in the revenue list of major brands' NFT projects

The brand needs to become a symbiotic relationship with consumers/communities to share benefits, rather than a unilateral consumption relationship of web2

In a word, users have changed, and demand has changed. We need brands and products that can meet the needs of "sovereign individuals". In essence, web3 is rebuilding the relationship between brands and consumers, and even changing the ownership of "brand sovereignty", giving consumers the right to become brand owners. The philosophy behind web3 is consistent with the whole crypto, just like the confirmation of user assets. In essence, it is truly "user first".

Let's expand this "symbiotic relationship"

  • (Generation Z) Consumers need the web3 brand to help establish their digital identity, and at the same time, they own brand assets and gain more rights and interests from the brand. From the perspective of users, they are no longer simply consumed or even materialized by the brand, but become brand owners to build and share benefits together. In this process, the community has a strong consensus

  • From the brand perspective, it reduces various costs, including customer acquisition, product definition, testing and promotion costs. With the help of a community with strong consensus, it can grow and spread faster

This symbiotic win-win relationship will certainly breed a highly competitive web3 native brand. Then in a highly competitive market, traditional brands will actively carry out web3 transformation. After all, if they do not make revolution, they will be eliminated by others.

So here we have answered the initial question

Q: Why is Web3 important to a brand, or will brand Web3 occur? A: Because only the web3 brand can meet the "consumption+assets+digital identity" trinity needs of "sovereign individuals". The web3 brand is not only a change in marketing methods and income structure, but also a change in mindset to meet the new needs of new users. The brand is built or reconstructed from the original users.

What: What category is suitable for web3 brand?

What category is suitable for web3 brand? My answer is that all categories that can be community driven are worth a try. Users participate in product definition, production, testing and promotion. Part of the profits of the product flow back to the community. Users achieve a win-win situation with the brand in this process. Token supports user participation and benefit distribution in this process.

Because it is community driven and can form a brand, the category needs to meet the following conditions

  • Low production cost

  • Short test cycle

  • High variety, easy to form brand

Theoretically, the categories that require a large number of measurements meet the above three conditions. More specifically, clothing, food (beverage) and drama are all perfectly matched categories. In the following examples, we can also see that a large number of web3 brand entrepreneurs also choose the above three categories.

How: How to build a web3 brand

"How to build a web3 brand" is a very big topic in itself. At present, there is no so-called "best practice". At present, all competitors on the track are exploring. This section tries to answer this question in two parts, hoping to enlighten and help readers.

  • The key differences between web3 and web2 brands, as well as the skill tree that the brand needs to build at the core

  • Through four case studies, more concrete research on how to build a Web3 brand, including different categories and building methods

The key differences between web3 and web2 brands, as well as the skill tree that the brand needs to build at the core

Key differences between web2 and web3 brands

I drew a picture to more clearly describe the two key differences between web3 and web2 brands, which are also two win-win strategies

Win win strategy 1: community first, "brand community" two-way relationship

  • Compared with the "brand first" or "product first" of web2 brand, and the "brand consumer" one-way relationship; Web3 brand needs "community first", and "brand community" has a two-way relationship. Why do we need community first?

  • In terms of time sequence, community first and then brand: as previously described, the brand is not just consumer goods. It also becomes the personal assets of consumers (Token holders), so consumers are also investors. Even users are investors first, then consumers, because the creation of consumer goods takes a certain time (3 months to 1 year), and before the creation of consumer goods, there needs to be start-up funds, and a "potential investor community" needs to be built. Therefore, from the perspective of time sequence, the community first and then the brand.

  • From the perspective of ownership, community first, then brand: since users have dual identities as investors/consumers, as brand owners, they have the right to participate in the definition and construction of brands, so from the perspective of ownership, owner (community) first, then brand

  • In terms of importance, community first and then brand: "brand community" constitutes a two-way relationship. Brands not only rely on community growth and communication, but also community users will put more emotion and energy into it to help brand/personal asset growth. In this process, a strong community consensus was formed, and the brand vision relies on this consensus. Therefore, the order of importance is "community → consensus → brand". Community is the foundation of brand. A brand without a community is a tree without roots and a water without a source

Win win strategy 2: Derive community and brand self growth, expand the original brand ecology

  • This is also a very different point between the web3 brand and web2 brand. Through the power of community users, we can create a larger derivative community and brand ecology, and feed back the original brand. I have marked it in pink in the figure above

  • Unlike web2 brands, which control IP and make profits from it, most web3 brands authorize IP to NFT holders, and CC0 brands open IP to everyone. Community users can use the IP or CC0 IP they hold to start the derivative community based on the original brand community. On the one hand, they can establish their own derivative brand business, on the other hand, they can expand the influence and life cycle of the original brand to create a win-win situation

The above is the change of web3 brand building mindset. Next, let's compare the difference between the skill tree of web2 and web3 brand building. It can be clearly seen that there are still those kinds of things, but unlike Web2, where all things are controlled by the brand, all operations of the web3 brand are based on the community. How to combine all work with "community operations" is the biggest challenge in the actual work of the web3 brand. In short, building a web3 brand is essentially building a community.

Differences between web2 and web3 skill trees

case analysis

1. Web3 community incubation brand: FWB x Taika

Taika is a coffee start-up brand, and now it is going to launch a new sub brand and category - Ma Dai tea. This time, they did not choose to build it entirely by themselves, but cooperated with FWB (friends with benifits) to incubate it.

  • FWB is recognized as the most creative DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) in web3

  • FWB members have a strict joining mechanism: they need to hold a certain amount of $FWB tokens, fill in an application form, and join after approval. It can be considered that all members have certain creativity and jointly hold FWB token assets

Cooperation mode:

  • Scope of cooperation: brand investment, taste definition, testing, promotion and benefit distribution, basically covering the whole link of brand building

  • Brand investment: FWB invests in the new Madai tea brand in the form of its own tokens

  • Taste definition, testing and promotion

  • FWB members can apply to join a paid working group to define the product concept, design taste and formula packaging together with Taika's colleagues, and make design and marketing materials

  • After the product is defined, two flavors, red pot and blue pot, will be formed. Based on a set of 500 NFTs issued by the FWB community, buyers can exchange a box of drinks, taste them, and vote to decide which one is listed. Note that this set of NFT is not limited to purchase by FWB members, and actually launched a new brand oriented spin off community

  • Profit distribution: Taika and FWB will share the profit of new product sales, and FWB will get 18%

At present, the product is in the stage of voting which one will be launched. Let's summarize the advantages of driving this new brand by the FWB community

  • Based on the test NFT issued by the FWB community, a derivative community for the new brand was actually launched, which solved the cold start problem of the brand and ensured the quality of community members

  •   Through $FWB token investment and profit sharing, FWB members have actually become owners of new brands. They have more initiative to define, design and promote, help Taika create the best products and sell more products. Tell your friends that I participated in the design of this drink. Do you think it will save face?

Another friend asked, many beverage brands (such as Yuanqi Forest) also have a lot of ab tests on taste and packaging, and even a lot of internal staff tests. What's the difference between FWB x Taika?

The biggest difference is that for web2 brands, brand designers and testers/consumers are separated in a one-way relationship, and the latter only passively accept the former's decisions, which makes it difficult to have a strong sense of identity and initiative. Even for internal employees, it is more just a task to complete (think about how we help test the products of the next group in a large factory); However, the real owners of the web3 brand are community users. The final sense of identity and initiative are completely different, which determines the acceleration of brand growth.

Read the core difference between web3 brand and web2 three times with me: community, community, community:)

BTW, after establishing the cooperation model with Taika, FWB has determined to cooperate with Hennessy and Reebok in the next step to successfully expand from a start-up company to an international first and second tier brand.

Thank Chao for sharing the above cases on web101.

2. NFT holders establish derivative brands: Yuga Labs/BAYC derivative brands

Although the public's first impression of BAYC (Boring Ape) is that stars change their faces, it actually brings an innovation that affects the entire NFT ecology - IP business licensing

  • After the purchase of BAYC, the NFT IP with the corresponding number will be automatically authorized to the Holder for use, including commercial

  • CrytoPunks, the representative project of NFT, has not opened IP authorization before it was acquired, which makes NFT controversial. What did users buy?

  • BAYC has pioneered the business licensing of IP, increasing the rights and interests of IP empowerment for the holders. Users can buy not only a small picture, but also a huge IP value

Based on this, a large number of bayc holders have developed nearly 80 derivative brands based on bayc IP, including fashion brands, music, fashion, food, beverage, skateboarding, basketball, clubs, podcasts, games and so on. On the one hand, BAYC IP and the community helped these derivative brands to make a cold start; on the other hand, these derivative brands also enhanced the effectiveness of the original IP and expanded the ecology, attracting more users to join, and finally formed a win-win situation between the original brand and derivatives.

The article "Yuga Labs' IP Empire: Nearly 80 Brands, Creators, Projects and Artists", written by Forj CEO Harry Liu, gives a very comprehensive introduction to these 80 IPs. Those who are interested in them can read it directly, and will not repeat it here.

3. CC0 enthusiasts establish derivative brands: Mfers derivative brands

First, refer to a paragraph in a previous article about CC0 to quickly understand CC0

CC0 is the abbreviation of Creative Commons Zero copyright agreement. The adoption of this agreement means that the author declares to give up all copyright of the creation, and the creation enters the public domain and becomes the common intellectual property of mankind. In plain English, everyone can use cc0 creation, including commercial and secondary creation. Bayc (non cc0) mentioned in the previous section opens IP rights to owners. Li Ning bought bayc # 4102, so Li Ning can put this monkey on posters and T-shirts (other monkeys without it can't). Mfers because of the cc0 protocol, whether you have mfers or not, you can freely use 10000 mfers, Including self use (printed T-shirt for wear), commercial use (printed T-shirt for sale), secondary creation

According to incomplete statistics, there are more than 50 NFTs derived from mfers, and there are countless cafes using mfers offline. Compared with the number of top brand BAYC, the number is not inferior, although the price is less than 1/50 of BAYC. How does this work? Why do these derivative brands choose mfers?

I summarize 2 reasons

  • Mfers' meme "Are you winning son?" It is well-known in European and American cultures, and its creator sartoshi's characteristic operation has given mfers a certain popularity and community foundation

  • Because of the CC0 protocol, everyone can use it at zero cost or even use it commercially. mfers has become the first choice for many brands to attract web3 users or GenZ users. For example, Meta Space in Beijing, OFFF in Shanghai, and social east in Hangzhou all use mfers as decorations to further enhance the influence of the original IP.

Shanghai OFFF Cafe, the picture is from the instant official account

4. Co create animation series: the real metaverse

The previous examples are all about real consumer goods. Finally, we will introduce a cultural and creative category - animation series, The Real Metaverse

The Real Metaverse is a co created animation series created by the parent company @ InvisibleUniv. How can we create together? If you hold their Producer Pass NFT

  • Have the opportunity to contribute to the animation of the first season (34 episodes) and decide the lines and fate of the characters

  • If you are the holder of five NFTs: BAYC, Doodles, CoolCats, Robots and World of Women, you can apply for your PFP to appear in the first season of animation!

  • If you don't own the above five NFTs, you can vote for your NFTs and appear in the second season animation

Isn't it interesting? Animation dramas are very suitable for community co creation. Compared with novels, their holders have emotional input to PFP. If they can appear in the screen plot, they will greatly mobilize the enthusiasm of the holders to participate, contribute content to the drama and promote it. At the same time, this matter is also a win-win situation. Through community participation, the animation drama itself has gained more attention and commercial value, driving the corresponding Producer Pass NFT to add value; At the same time, the holder's PFP also increases in value through exposure. Imagine your PFP becoming a movie star!

All these are inseparable from the participation and contribution of the community. So at the beginning, The Real Metaverse cooperated with the above five communities to build its own community for cold start. This project is going to mint today, and we'll see~

3 other important Q&A

1. What is the most important thing in the early stage of building a web3 brand?

Introduce appropriate community members and define correct OKR and Polaris indicators.

Because the community is so important to the Web3 brand, and the community members at the beginning will have a great impact on the consensus, it is necessary to screen members very strictly at the beginning of the establishment of the community and set a reasonable NFT issue price. In the current market environment, most NFT offerings are "traders" who focus on short-term benefits; But the users that the brand hopes are "creators" and "consumers" who bring value in the long run. However, when users arrive, they can't ignore it. This gap will make the brand focus on the wrong place, instead, it will delay the brand construction and target user acquisition, and even be kidnapped and backattacked.

As a brand, you need to define correct OKR and Polaris indicators to avoid being led by vanity indicators such as trading volume. These are the basic skills for building brands, products and even companies. The strength of the brand can also be seen from the indicators concerned by the brand. For example, the founder of Yuga Labs most valued the number of NFT holders and the number of active people in the community. He does not want NFT to be hoarded by the holders for profits, but can attract more community members, so each founder team only holds one BAYC.

In a word, do something valuable in the long run, and set and manage short-term expectations.

2. My model is a member club. Do I have to change to web3? Doesn't seem to make much difference?

Conversion of membership card to NFT has the following advantages, including three user side and one brand side

User perspective 1: enhancing rights and interests

In a traditional member club, once the user has applied for a card, it often conflicts with the interests of the club. Because the club can improve its own profits by reducing the rights and interests of users, becoming a win-win situation

However, if as a web3 brand, the user is the investor, the member club must guarantee high-quality rights and interests consistent with the user's interests; The active participation of users is also improving the brand value, forming a win-win situation

User perspective 2: enhancing transaction liquidity and value

Traditional membership cards are difficult to trade secondhand. After becoming NFT, it will bring natural trading market and liquidity, thus enhancing the asset value of the membership card itself

User perspective 3: obtaining personalized identity

Embodies a unique digital identity to show your personality and as a passport to metaverse

Membership cards are not necessarily static. Well designed traits can grow with users, and have special effects to increase user stickiness

Brand perspective: expand the depth and breadth of users

Based on the data and behavior on the chain, on the one hand, it can more comprehensively understand the stock users (user a holds five monkeys), and on the other hand, it is easier to reach the incremental users (users in a certain community are especially suitable for this brand)

Therefore, the conversion of membership cards to NFTs is beneficial to both users and brands. Why not?

3. Any suggestions for traditional brands to enter web3?

At the beginning, it is recommended that you try to be lightweight and focus on understanding user feedback. Don't send the project immediately. Li Ning's purchase of BAYC is a good attempt. There are a large number of CC0 projects that can be used, such as mfers and black cats.

As has been analyzed at the beginning of the article, the essence of brand to Web3 is to meet the new needs of new users, rebuild brand and user relations, and need an overall plan. It is recommended not to move until you think clearly. Don't treat the NFT project as a low-cost marketing. Once the community is established, it needs to be operated continuously for a long time. Otherwise, the community may have the fud brand at any time, which is not worth the loss.

In addition, traditional brands entering web3 also need to upgrade their mindset and organizational capabilities. Please refer to the third part of this article.


Unconsciously, I wrote a long article from a discussion with friends. As mentioned at the beginning, there are a large number of brands that want to enter web3 but can't do anything. Most of them regard NFT as a marketing activity. However, as stated in this article, the essence of brand to web3 is to meet the new needs of new users and rebuild the brand and user relations. There is a lot of opportunity, but it also requires an overall plan. I hope that after reading this article, the answer in my heart can be clearer.

At the same time, as a web3 surfer, I also very much welcome web2 brands to enter web3 to make the NFT ecology bigger. On the one hand, there needs to be more narrative and utility beyond PFP, which is the battlefield that experienced web2 veterans can play; On the other hand, web3 of traditional brands is also a process of introducing new web3 users. In the news that Nike has generated more than $185 million in revenue, there is a very interesting data in the dune analytics cited. On average, 40% of the mint users of these brands' NFTs are first-time Mint users, which can be considered as new NFT users. With the promotion of NFT's 100 million users, there is no shortage of help from web2 brands. WAGMI!

Number distribution of brand NFT min users' min