Web3 is the ‘next era of brand-building’ says Vessel founder Alinsug

A niche set of brands can effectively launch an on-chain media strategy right now, Alinsug says


Dmitry Demidovich/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


The founder of Vessel Steph Alinsug sees on-chain media as a “huge unlock” for how brands will develop relationships with consumers in the “next era of brand-building.”

Alinsug reflects on earlier days in social media. When Instagram launched, she says, “it changed the way we build brands.”

“Now, all of a sudden, you had to have a content strategy.”

Speaking with host Chase Chapman on the On the Other Side podcast (Spotify/Apple), Alinsug explains how social media transformed marketing. “You had to produce assets like JPEGs or video or you just had to produce content, and we didn’t really know what the implications of that was going to be. We just knew that it was something we had to do.”

Brands could connect directly to customers through social media and email marketing, Alinsug explains. Direct-to-consumer brands ballooned into an “enormous industry,” she says. “It’s somewhere around like a hundred billion right now, so it’s huge.”

Alinsug mentions brands like Glossier and Quip, who took advantage of the new direct-to-consumer (DTC) formula and grew into successful companies. She sees a strong resemblance between DTC in 2011 and the nascent Web3 marketing space today.

“We’re in the part of the market cycle where there’s a very niche set of brands that can effectively launch an on-chain media strategy right now.”

“As our understanding of the technology, and the opportunities, and as more consumer behaviors emerge,” Alinsug says. “We’re going to see more and more brands understand the power of this.”

Shared identity

Alinsug says that no one could have predicted the impact of direct-to-consumer marketing in its early days. She said she’s curious to see what a Web3-native version of direct-to-consumer marketing will look like as it develops.

Her company Vessel will “push forward” with collectible media, she says. “We’re going to run our own experiments on how we might ‘emerge’ some of those novel consumer behaviors.”

Chapman notes that on-chain media is “uniquely empowered” to create what she calls internet “cults,” or highly dedicated online communities, creating a sense of shared identity with a group of people and brands.

“I think of my physical body as a version of an interface,” Alinsug says. As an example, she explains she wears a pair of branded socks that allows her, in a sense, to participate in the creation of a meme or a sort of brand “cult.”

“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘sick hat,’ or ‘sick socks,’” she says, “because they recognize the brand.” 

It’s a sort of user behavior that happens in real life, she says. “On-chain media is just another version of that, but it happens digitally.”

Alinsug cautions that pigeonholing on-chain media into the tired metaverse concept is not a viable approach. The current barrier to brand visibility in the market, she explains, is the interface. 

“How do you make that legible? How do you make that visible? I don’t actually think it’s some sort of virtual metaverse thing.”

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