However, this comes with challenges, including mixed messages from digital communities. Discord is often criticized for a user experience and aesthetic that is at odds with fashion and inhospitable to new users. “It’s aesthetically ugly, busier than a Bloomberg terminal, difficult to learn quickly and can quickly turn into a ghost town or cesspool of ugly rage,” says Maher of M7 Innovations, and brands may struggle to follow the pace. SamJ, an artist whose work has been featured by Gucci, Givenchy Beauty and Christie’s, has been using Discord since 2016. They say the platform is ideal as a casual social hub for small groups of friends, but “anything about Web3 or the brand is prohibited. a nightmare”.
Additionally, the platform’s audience of Gen Z and gamers does not necessarily translate into an audience for high-value NFTs. In addition to the initial cost of the Via key, holders must also purchase Louis Vuitton items exclusive to them; the duffel bag, for example, cost over $9,000.
On the other hand, it can be valuable as a source of truth for NFT projects, including being used as a customer service tool even after sales have launched, says Julien Rosilio, head of growth and NFT head of the digital fashion company DressX, which maintains an active Discord server with 4,400 members, two admins, and two moderators. “The key is to constantly have private and exclusive benefits in the chain,” adds Rosilio, such as co-creation, clear branding impacts, early access, discounts and much more.
As with the advent of e-commerce and social media, brands are transitioning into this new realm, including recruiting Discord moderators and adapting communications strategies to be sufficiently transparent and receptive to feedback. M7 Innovations’ Maher advises brands to be realistic in managing fan expectations in terms of channel count and maintaining a continuous presence. “You need to have a solid strategy, support and roadmap before you launch your project,” he says. “It requires a thoughtful and strategic investment of time, energy and dedicated support.”
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