Blockchainis the future of transactions, but it can also have a far-reaching impact on marketing, and change it for the better.
- Mayank Mishra, DGM,
Cheil Indiawrites about the role Blockchain can play in transforming marketing and advertising in the future.
Every transaction between people requires some form of trust. If you lend a friend some money, you trust them to pay you back. If you don’t know the person you are lending money to ‘third party’ comes in and offers some kind of assurance. You place your trust in this third party, either a mutual friend or perhaps an institution like a bank. Centralized institutions like banks and companies provide trust and assurance so that transactions can
take place between large numbers of people.
Imagine now that this ‘third party’ was replaced by a massive network of individuals. No one individual or organization holds all the power, but every time a transaction between two individuals happens, the entire network works together to ensure that every transaction is recorded, validated and upheld.
This is essentially the idea of the Blockchain. In practice, all manner of complex mathematics and computing make it work, but at its heart Blockchain is a way for individuals in a network to conduct transactions without the need for centralization.
The most famous application of Blockchain is cryptocurrency. However it has many other applications too, like decentralized finance, virtual companies, NFTs (
). The list is endless. When we are talking about Blockchain we are describing a revolutionary new idea like the Internet, which can have innumerable applications across every industry.
The Internet changed the way modern marketing works, and the Blockchain is poised to do the same. In fact, this change is already happening. Consider the way online advertising works when people browse the internet. Individuals are profiled and targeted with advertisements, and while an entire industry profits from this system, the individual in question doesn’t see a dime. Blockchain can make online advertising fairer. Brave Browser is a Blockchain based browser that rewards people for browsing the internet. Being served advertisements is optional, and if you choose to be served with ads, you get compensated in ‘Basic Attention Tokens’, which can be exchanged
for real world money.
Take a closer look at influencer marketing. When we look at the nuts and bolts of how influencer marketing currently works, there are several entities involved. The creator (influencer), the audience, and the media platform are the key components. Brands step in to reward the influencer in exchange for getting some of their ideas across. Agencies
manage the show and ensure that marketing objectives are met.
is a blockchain application that challenges this model at a fundamental level. It is a decentralized system where creators, audiences and platform developers can reward each other simply by doing what they do…creating, consuming and inventing. No third party is needed to offer rewards or manage the show.
Needless to say, applications like the ones described pose some fundamental challenges to marketers. They may even pose an existential threat to some of the familiar ways of working we are used to. This is a good thing. It means that marketing is ripe for innovation.
Blockchain is not simply a new technology. It is a new cultural artefact, one that represents the mindset of humanity’s first generation of digital natives. This is a generation of people for whom the idea of being part of a global community of networked individuals comes intuitively. Centralized systems run counter intuitive to the way this generation sees the world, and this is why Blockchain is so important. It is laying down the ground rules for how
transactions will happen in the future.
The Internet seemed esoteric when it first appeared in our collective awareness. It was the domain of geeks and nerds, and no one was quite sure what to make of it. If the Internet revolutionized communication, Blockchain will revolutionize transactions.
For a marketer or a brand who takes a long term view of things, it is important to start planning now. Asking the right questions is a start. What areas of my business are likely to be impacted? Where do the opportunities lie? What should I be investing in? Should I start seeding Blockchain professionals into my organization? Am I in a business that will need to pivot?
It is an exciting time to ask these kinds of questions. Curiosity might cause feline fatalities, but when it comes to Blockchain, it is your best weapon.