PPPPlaybook for Change (Four P's #192)
Navigating the evolving digital age, our kids, social progress, and the Five D's
Fall is the Mexican Coke of seasons. Sure, loving summer is easy and popular and obvious, but you realize how much more awesome fall is when you can finally drink it in. But the best part of the seasons changing is the change, itself. The excitement that accompanies seasonality is important, is a key factor in positive mental and physical health, and just keeps things interesting.
Change is also required for progress and growth in our personal, political, and professional spheres. And after several weeks off to enjoy the last wisps of summer, we’re falling back into the Four P’s ready to embrace change.
SOMETHING PROFESSIONAL: Web 2.0 to Web3 to Web 2.5
We're a little over a week away from the scheduled Ethereum merge, which could be a turning point moment in the history of Web3. Or it may not change much at all. That's what makes this such an interesting event. Ethereum is a blockchain that has powered a lot of early interest and investment on both fungible and non-fungible fronts, but has also been anything but energy-efficient. Fees have created significant barriers to entry and sparked the creation of many other blockchains.
As established brands enter the web3 space, change is everywhere. Some are innovating with new utility use cases and activations, whereas others are leveraging partnerships with newer, web3-native brands. August saw the launch of the Tiffany | CyptoPunk NFT collaboration (which I did NOT love despite the revenue it generated). My LinkedIn pal McKenna Sweazy saw the drop as a marketing success, as the high price tag was consistent with its premium brand image. Sure, luxury should feel and be exclusive in marketing, but I'm a big believer that brands should be doing their part to bring new consumers and fans into this space. The Tiffany project reinforced antiquated strategies and barriers to entry, shunned inclusive opportunities, and did not expose or introduce anyone to new ideas or innovations with tokenization.
FIFA, hosts of the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, announced a forthcoming NFT project called FIFA+ Collect. And while public details are not yet available, I have some insider knowledge that gives me a good reason to believe this is the start of something fun. I like that it will be affordable, inclusive, and accessible to all football fans, that it will be built on an energy-efficient blockchain, that they will be leveraging legitimate IRL and virtual token-enabled content and experiences, can leverage past and future memorable moments, and plans to support both the men's AND women's game. Finally. But what I found to be most interesting is that their press release doesn't mention "NFT" once in the entire press release. That's not an accident.
Other trends and changes in the Web3 space worth noting: the challenges that 3rd-party marketplaces face in the token and NFT economy. As NFT 1.0 projects struggle, as crypto winter sets in, and as the large brands finally get the green light to go live, the real opportunity is for white-label platforms to give more ownership and customization back to marketers, brands, agencies, and creatives. So it's no surprise that OpenSea is tanking, too. According to new data from DappRadar, OpenSea's NFT marketplace has fallen off a cliff. On August 28th, the marketplace processed $5M worth of NFT transactions, which is 99% lower than its record high of $405.75 million on May 1.
With more options and opportunities, strategy becomes a priority all over again. No, most brands should not be constructing massive metaverse plans because consumer behavior isn't ready for it. But it's getting closer, and digital tokens are the gradual step towards getting us there. We’ve written a brand new Strategic Playbook for Marketers about how to get started with NFTs and tokens. Tokenization is the word that should be on the lips of every brand lead and agency right now, and that's why I'll be leading a workshop on this very topic next week at Brandweek in Miami, Sept. 12–16. Join me in Miami for what will be an incredible five-day experience featuring leaders from Shake Shack, Journey, the NFL, El Pollo Loco, Hyundai and more.
SOMETHING PERSONAL: The More Things Change
Stop me if you've heard this before, but change can be hard. Scary, even. But the most successful people make change work for them. I've spent a lot of time thinking (and even writing) about all the problems in the world. But I, like many people, can get easily distracted, even overwhelmed, by the immensity of the world’s social problems. As a result, we end up doing nothing at all. But even small actions can have a ripple effect, inspiring others to join us in working for change.
I was in tears over the weekend watching high schools in Uvalde, TX and Oxford, MI come together during their Friday Night Lights games to honor the victims of school shootings. I was moved by the messages of hope and the calls for change to gun control legislation. To change the world, you need to become courageously hopeful. You have to WANT things to change. We place artificial limits on ourselves when we buy into the belief that we can’t change the world. So the first step in becoming part of the solution is changing this mindset. We need to challenge our hidden assumptions and pessimistic beliefs.
No, we may not be able to solve all gun violence in one fell swoop, but you can make a valuable contribution. Hope isn’t passive. Being hopeful doesn’t mean that you’re burying your head in the sand and just hoping for the best. Rather, it means that you’re aware of the vast problems you face, and believe that by taking action you can help to make things better. Action creates change.
As my older child began middle school this week (!), I thought a lot about the changes he will be experiencing in the days, weeks, and months to come... starting with academic and social expectations. More independence requires organization and discipline. It requires staying positive in the face of challenges. Walking to and from school by himself, meeting new friends, navigating new teachers and schedules, hanging out on Main Street after school, HARDER schoolwork and more homework... all of which require building personal tools for how to manage changes that are both within and outside of our control.
SOMETHING POLITICAL: Changing How We Create Change
Becoming a catalyst for change starts with small actions. Start by focusing on your strengths and passions. What are your unique qualities and experiences? Where can you add value to the world? What have you been successful at doing in the past? You must own your dream — that it fits who you are, and what you care about. Then you need to move from having good intentions to having good actions. But the real power lies in taking action with a sense of urgency. Don’t wait for a perfect plan. You may never know how exactly to tackle the problem.
Moving from good intentions to taking action requires first identifying and prioritizing a meaningful cause, recruiting a good team, and communicating powerfully. Real change always happens in the context of a transformation team. Together, we can achieve more than we ever could apart. Look for people who are already doing what you’re passionate about.
If there are already great organizations out there, then you can join them and contribute your unique gifts to their effort. If you can’t find the right organization, then you may need to recruit your own. Share your vision with your friends, family, and colleagues. Ask them for feedback and then invite them to join you in making change together. Working with the right people is more important than working with a crowd of people.
Ultimately, passion isn’t enough to create a sustainable movement for change – you need clear goals and good leadership. Real change takes place with top-down leadership and bottom-up support. Most importantly, it happens when everyone is united around a common goal. Good values transcend specific circumstances. When they’re internalized, they give you a blueprint for all future actions. Good values can have a positive impact on every aspect of an organization.
SOMETHING PRACTICAL: Four P's Presents Five D's
To make change work... to make a difference, you need to measure your results objectively. And the Five Ds are a great way to accurately assess the effectiveness of your actions. This isn't a new concept, but it's one I've loved since first learning about it many years ago:
Discovery. This is the information-gathering phase of the process. If you’re just starting up, then evaluate the field to discover what resources you can tap into. Interview people already working on the problem, and find information on the specific needs of the community you’re working to help.
Design. In this phase of the process, you make a plan of action. To do this, you need to visualize what you’d like your project to achieve, and then work backwards. Identify specific steps you’ll need to take to reach your goal, and think about how you’ll measure their effectiveness. Then make an ambitious but achievable timeline for completion.
Deploy. This is the very important stage where you leap into action, and get to work. Test your ideas in practice, starting small. This is the best way to learn whether they’ll be effective or if there’s something you need to tweak.
Document. This phase involves keeping careful records of your activities and their impact. How many people have you reached, and what specific measurable outcomes has your project achieved? Whether online or on paper, documentation forms the backbone of any evaluation.
Dream. The fifth D stands for dream. Together with your team, reflect on progress made and imagine what’s possible for the future.
Now begin again. Assessing impact according to the five Ds is not a linear process. Rather, it’s cyclical. Changing the world means constantly reflecting on your progress, and refining your actions.