Daniel Shaw

Technology vs Humanity: A Blueprint for Brands

In an era where the digital landscape is rapidly evolving, the emergence of Web3 looms on the horizon, poised to reshape the way we interact with the virtual realm. As this groundbreaking wave approaches, brands are arming themselves with cutting-edge digital strategies to not only stay relevant but also to understand the pivotal role of technology in shaping their future.

Photo by Google DeepMind on Unsplash

Web3: The Dawn of a New Era

Web3 is not just a technological advancement; it’s a transformative ideology that encapsulates a set of values and technical applications, heralding a new age for the World Wide Web. Its core principles encompass ubiquity, decentralization, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and seamless connectivity. Within this realm, AI and machine learning technologies have begun weaving their magic, with current applications primarily rooted in the domains of cryptocurrency and finance. However, the future promises a broader spectrum of user-centric, intelligent applications.

Starbucks Odyssey NFT’s

Consider these glimpses into the future:

YSL and Prada, two fashion giants, are venturing into the world of NFTs, offering exclusive experiences to consumers—a testament to how traditional brands can blend technology and luxury. Starbucks have introduced Starbucks Odyssey, a blockchain-based loyalty program offering limited-edition NFT stamps through an integrated marketplace, embracing blockchain trends and enhancing customer engagement. McDonald’s, known for its fast-food prowess, is exploring the concept of virtual restaurants that straddle the digital and physical realms, hinting at a revolution in food delivery. Gucci, the esteemed luxury brand, has been in collaboration with Roblox since 2021, venturing into the realm where gaming, challenges, and interactive learning intersect - launching a virtual perfume experience with Miley Cyrus amongst other collaborations. Patrón Tequila, synonymous with premium spirits, is embracing NFTs by offering one-of-a-kind editions, effectively bridging the tangible and digital. Meanwhile, Brown & Hudson, a luxury travel company, is crafting meta travel experiences through virtual reality, enabling clients to relive their cherished real-world trips.

These innovative ventures illustrate the power of technological innovation for brands, proving that it’s not just about the innovations themselves; it’s how brands leverage and adapt to them that truly matters.

A brand’s success hinges on understanding its customers, their preferred platforms, and their communication patterns.

Hosts from the Human Hotel (The Climate Homestay Network)

The Digital-Human Balance

Yet, as our world becomes increasingly digital, there’s a yearning for more human-centric brands—those that prioritize community, climate, and human connection.

Abuelos, a concept envisioned by artist Amahra Spence, offers a hotel experience that replicates the warmth of a family home—an oasis for marginalized communities and artists to gather. IsleHoliday, a letting website initiated by Scottish island residents, reinvests profits into local businesses and housing projects, thereby bolstering local economies and promoting sustainability. The Climate Homestay Network, born during the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, has now partnered with Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion to provide accommodations with a purpose, uniting change-makers during climate events. In Los Angeles, Heimat provides an intimate, luxurious setting that focuses on wellness and community, offering a sanctuary in the digital age.

The intersection of technology and humanity is the crucible where brands must forge their identities. While technology propels us into the future, it’s the human touch that grounds us. As we embark on this transformative journey into the era of Web3, brands must heed the call to remain deeply connected to their humanity. In doing so, they not only retain their soul but also become beacons of authenticity in an increasingly digital world.

This article is taken from a trend insight project Delight wrote for a client in early 2023, with references from The Future Laboratory and Wunderman Thompson

Daniel Shaw