In the last six years, VaynerX, Gary Vee’s holding company — which focuses on contemporary media and communications projects — has grown significantly, and now encompasses subdivisions like Vayner3. Formerly VaynerNFT, Vayner3 is a Web3 consultancy that helped major brands like Stella Artois, PepsiCo, and DIAGEO develop strategies to bridge into the Web3 space strategically.
Since the fall of FTX and struggle creators are currently experiencing to market their NFTs, VeeFriends President Andy Krainak is advising enthusiasts and projects in the space to take time to seriously reflect on what such landmark events taught the industry, and whether or not the strategies that marked the 2021 NFT bull run will ever be relevant or profitable again.
“[In 2022,] everyone learned what it means to have moments in time,” said Krainak while speaking to NFT now, referring to the right and wrong times for actions in Web3. “There’s a moment in time to launch a project. And now may or may not be the moment in time to launch a project, and to really maximise opportunity [in Web3]. You couldn’t have had a worse scenario [with FTX]. That’s the truth of it. But I feel confident that in two or three years’ time, more and more adoption will happen, and the latest FTX fiasco will be like a good movie that everyone watched. The terms we’re using today are not going to be the terms we’re using for years. I don’t think we’re going to say ‘NFT’ anymore.”
At Wishu, we have been pioneering the adoption of ‘digital collectibles’ and other terms in order to broaden NFT marketing abilities and diversify their potential audience(s).
Krainak also emphasised the importance of community building and transparency for NFT brands that want to have even the slightest bit of longevity – especially in the period of minimised trust in crypto and NFTs post FTX crash. Overcommunication, he said, will always be the core foundation of any project’s success in both good times and bad. For Krainak, one of the best ways to foster that trust is to ensure you have a physical presence in community members’ IRL lives, which can be achieved through community activations on both a large and small scale.
His main solution for this? Events. “[Doing events] is a very important and practical strategy, because it’s a value that you can experience,” Krainak continued. “And I think bringing the digital into the physical with events is really important. It can be a huge event with 10,000 people, but you can still create opportunities for small networking through different activations.” Offering a small hint about VeeFriends’ next moves in the NFT space, Krainak echoed Vee’s comments from the day before: that deflationary dynamics could play a role in creating a scenario in which “tokens go away.” Since we are launching our own web3 conference in the spring/summer of 2023, this advice is music to our ears.
Brand relationships to web3 will also transition as we enter the new year. Last year, the general consensus regarding this field was very much “what the heck is an NFT”. Now, twelve months later, those conversations do not feel so poignant and necessary as most brands have caught on. This does not, however, mean that most brands are natively adopting web3 strategies and tactics in their mainstream marketing approaches.
Akkineni distinguishes traditional brands like Gucci and Nike, who both have had wildly successful forays into the Web3 space in the last year, from others who fail to appeal to crypto natives. “[Those companies] are really targeting the existing crypto-native communities,” Akkineni explained. “And, because they’re looking to do very endemic activations, they have done really well and gotten a lot of respect in the crypto-native community.”
Vee also strongly believes in the marrying of physical and digital collectibles to expand the potential of NFTs. “Physical and digital items will be collected in perpetuity from here on out. I love mixing the two. VeeFriends has always been very aggressive with that.” Vee will face stiff competition from other massively successful NFT brands like Pudgy Penguins, a project that has likewise begun to establish a foothold in the family-friendly IP market with physical toys and publications. Regardless, it’s clear that an NFT project simply dropping a PFP project and relying on its avatars’ primary and secondary sales to stay afloat and offer value to its community isn’t viable anymore. VeeFriends and others are showing that, once again, success in the NFT realm stems from one thing above all: adaptability.