Telum Talks To… Adrian Fu, Creative Director, CBR Media

Telum Talks To… Adrian Fu, Creative Director, CBR Media

NFTs have been the hottest talk of the town - the global town. But what does it mean beyond artwork sales and autographed tweets? How can they fit into marketing and comms? To unravel this, we caught up with Adrian Fu about a project launch, brand-audience relations and how Web 3.0 can evolve the marcomms space.

Tell us more about The Dark Horse. What does its launch mean for the space NFTs currently occupy in the comms industry?
The Dark Horse (TDH) is a tradeable NFT Access Pass supporting 17-year-old Filipino racing driver Bianca Bustamante. It’s a new take on traditional talent agency and early sponsorship functions - reimagined through Web 3.0.

TDH supports rising stars like Bianca that lack financial resources and / or industry networks for continued career progression. It allows Bianca to grow her “BiaCrew'' community and deliver content, interaction and exclusivity to pass holders. Members also benefit from Web 3.0 exclusives like airdrops, rewards, tokenisation and metaverse integration.

As a technology for authenticating digital goods and services, TDH will transform the way athletes, creators and brands engage and interact with customers and fans, ultimately generating work and income opportunities for talents.

How have NFTs and blockchain re-orientated the way CBR Media creates marcomms solutions?
NFTs and Web 3.0 technologies are a game changer for marketing and comms. They allow marketing and management agencies like ours to rewire how we communicate and how we speak to a new generation.

Marketing agencies today can work with clients to launch virtual, digital products as part of their overall marketing efforts, while contributing directly to their business, revenue and organisation.

Furthermore, Web 3.0 allows companies to think philosophically about their brand identity in both real and virtual worlds. The decentralised nature of it allows brands to build awareness and trust with consumers in ways never possible before. They can bring consumers into the brand journey and discussions, leveraging their insights as genuine feedback as well as a measure of building loyalty and trust.

Were there any difficulties in navigating the crypto ecosystem when you conceptualised and launched the project?
A primary challenge was addressing potential scepticism towards NFTs amongst the crypto community. Despite the industry’s stellar growth, many have grown weary of projects that lacked utility in their NFTs or were simply not well-executed.

We quickly realised the importance of articulating not only TDH’s benefits and rewards but also the emotional reasons behind the project in the first place: supporting Bianca’s living expenses and interacting with existing and new audiences. It was crucial to communicate this narrative to both crypto users and motorsport fans that may not understand NFTs at all.
Which leads to our second hurdle - transitioning the Web 2.0 consumer to the 3.0 space. To eliminate their emotional fear factor, our efforts were focused on consumer education, marketing initiatives and “how to’s”. One way to do that is to simplify what happens on Web 3.0 by using Web 2.0 references. For example, it is much easier for people to understand cryptocurrency payments on NFT marketplaces if we compare that to their purchasing journey on Amazon with a credit card.

What do your plans for TDH mean for future brand-audience relations?
TDH is a good example of supporting athletes like Bianca by gaining additional income to sustain her racing career, build on her social popularity, offer segmented content to address subgroups within BiaCrew and provide benefits and rewards to TDH holders, which can evolve into a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO).

In its simplest form, a DAO is like a decentralised loyalty club - coded and maintained on a blockchain. Its members control the organisation’s destiny and as a community, they make decisions related to the DAO - from managing and growing the community itself right up to charitable causes they should support as a group.

This kind of relationship is really powerful between a brand and its audience. As advisors to our clients’ marketing and comms, the role of agencies here can be crucial: we can contribute to clients’ success in building loyalty and making genuine connections with a new generation of consumers and communities.

What are some unrealised opportunities for NFTs in the comms space that you think are ripe for discovery?
NFTs allow brands to explore entirely new ways of marketing through direct consumer feedback while generating additional income. Currently, they’re mostly associated with artwork sales, but their applicability is incredibly diverse.

TDH is leveraging NFTs to create a tradeable access pass for talent development and early sponsorship. Through NFTs, we are enabling not only a more interactive experience for fans but also the benefits from our athlete’s growth: as Bianca’s success and popularity grows, the value of her pass also increases due to demand of future fans wanting that same level of access to our driver.

Other potential NFT uses may include VIP ticketing sales, real estate project timeshares, membership programmes, TV shows and more. The paradigm is shifting, and lines are getting blurred. Through NFTs, marketing and comms agencies can evolve beyond the box of what a traditional comms or marketing agency currently does. The possibilities are really only limited by the imagination of businesses and their employees.

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