In the bustling streets of India, there is a game that has its roots planted in the soil of the land — it’s called Jugaad. No, this game is not rooted in web3! In this game, teams compete against one another to solve a marketing challenge by developing a strategy that is both creative and effective all within a limited budget.
Jugaad is not just any marketing game — it’s one that requires teams to have their fingers on the pulse of the market. The game’s premise is simple — teams are tasked with developing a commercial plan that capitalizes on the general mood in the market and does so within budget constraints.
Critically, it’s about understanding the period in which the market is in and being able to ‘read the room’ like a pro.
The stakes are high, and the clock is ticking — with every passing moment, the teams are racing against time to create a strategic plan that will stand out to consumers.
After developing their marketing strategy, the teams present their plans to a panel of judges, who then rate their ideas and assign them a score. The team with the highest score emerges victorious.
The game gained immense popularity in India during the late 20th century, a time when the country was undergoing significant economic and social changes.
Coincidentally, at the same time when Jugaad was gaining popularity in India, Apple was struggling to stay afloat in its battle with Microsoft. The company was on the brink of bankruptcy, and its future looked bleak.
It was during this period that Apple made a move that would change the course of its history. One could almost say that the teams at Apple were regular players of the game of Jugaad, because, buried in a bear market, their next move was nothing short of a stroke of marketing genius.
A time of wonder
Let’s take a moment to go back to the 1990s and early 2000s — a period that was characterized by a growing sense of individualism, creativity, and a desire for change.
In the United States and many other countries, booming economies and rapid technological advancements fueled a sense of excitement and possibility among people. The berlin wall had just fallen and the Cold war was ended.
The cultural mood of this period was characterized by a widespread yearning for creativity, possibility, and optimism.
So when Apple cooked up its “Think Different” campaign in the 1990s, they didn’t rely on freestyle cooking or “cuisine d’instinct,” as the French would say. Instead, they carefully followed the lessons of the Jugaad game.
Most importantly, they followed the principle of “entertain, then educate”.
The Web3 ecosystem of today appears to be more focused on promoting its core values than establishing a strong connection with its intended audience.
While it’s important for Web3 companies to have strong underlying principles, they must also be savvy about how they communicate them to their target audience.
As you explore the world of Web3 today, you’ll notice that companies and enthusiasts alike often heavily centre their value propositions around themes such as “Take back control of your data,” “Trustless systems,” and “Fighting big tech’s abuse of power.”
Although these catchphrases may appeal to Web3’s radical supporters, they may not have the same impact on casual viewers. This is not just because some of the terms used, such as “trustless,” may be difficult for the average person to grasp, although this is undoubtedly true.
But rather, the messaging around Web3 often appeals to logic and practicality, while neglecting the importance of emotional connection and the thirst for entertainment.
When Apple launched its “Think different” campaign, Microsoft was on the other side of the divide with its own campaign, “Where do you want to go today?”
But where Apple’s campaign focused on appealing to consumers’ emotions and sense of individualism, Microsoft’s campaign aimed to appeal to consumers’ logic and practicality.
As you probably guessed, it was a major factor in Apple wrestling back a significant market share from Microsoft.
Essentially, Apple presented their products as a way to make a difference in the world, while Microsoft presented their products as a means to accomplish tasks. One entertains, the other, well, just functions.
Don’t jump the gun
The majority of Web3’s messaging at the moment revolves around appealing to users’ logic and practicality. Catchphrases like decentralisation, redistribution, and taking back power from big tech dominate the conversation.
It’s all too logical, far too logical, and the harsh reality is that it doesn’t seem to resonate with most people. Simply put, the average person just doesn’t care.
Continuing to rally around these issues as your core adoption strategies may not yield the desired results. While it’s important to be grounded in your core principles to drive long-term retention, why rush to the finish line?
In today’s world, where consumers have notoriously short attention spans, emerging technologies must be quick to capture their attention before diving into their core principles.
To be fair, Web3 does have valid reasons for using this approach to marketing. The principles of decentralization and taking back control of one’s data are foundational to the technology and the community’s values.
These principles are not just buzzwords but have significant implications for the future of the internet and society as a whole.
Moreover, a 2020 survey by Pew Research Center found that 79% of Americans are concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. Similarly, a 2021 Gallup survey showed that 63% of Americans believe big tech companies have too much power.
In both studies, younger adults are more likely to express these concerns.
However, as Aaron Levestein once said “Statistics are like a bikini: what they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” You might ask, What do they conceal?
They conceal how crucial it is to understand the nuances around the current period and the attitudes of the particular audience you’re trying to reach. It’s important to read the room and analyze the context, much like in the game of Jugaad.
And what does analysis of the room in the present times tell us?
We live in an era of great sentimentality. The fangs of the cancel culture in this day and age are so grave that anyone and everyone go to great lengths to present themselves as issue-focused.
Oh, sure, If you were to ask me if I care about my privacy, I would answer with a resounding yes. And if you were to follow up with whether I would consider ditching big tech social media platforms that centralize power for the more decentralized Web3, well, that sounds about the right thing to do so…of course, I would say yes once again.
In practice though? you just watch me tweet away.
Yes, the current messaging may indeed resonate with consumers who genuinely care about these issues, but the reality is that in the grand scheme of things, it will only appeal to a niche market.
Well, I mean, it’s not like they’re creating all of this for the enjoyment of a small group of enthusiasts, correct? They definitely want to achieve mass adoption by consumers, surely, right?
Entertain, then Educate
The web3 industry has set its sights on the younger generation, consisting of millennials and generation z. Frankly, it’s not hard to predict what their response would be when presented with the choice of using web3 or web2 services.
Considering the way Web3 is being sold to this target market, it’s likely that millennials will say something like, “I’m worried about the security risks associated with web3. With so much personal responsibility for securing your own assets, it feels like there’s a lot of risks involved.”
Meanwhile, Generation Z might say something along the lines of, “I don’t really see the need for decentralization or more control over my data. I’m comfortable with the trade-offs of using centralized platforms that I’m familiar with.”
You don’t even need to go far in search of support for these quotes, just take a look at the growth of Tiktok in the past few years. Despite the concerns and uncertainties surrounding their usage of consumer data, their audience keeps on growing, their numbers keep on soaring.
The fear of monopolization will almost always be overshadowed by the desire for entertainment, as consumers are already bored. Yes! they are, you just need to read the room.
And except you are telling me that web3 companies are willing to sacrifice user engagement for the sake of promoting decentralization and data privacy, then they need to rethink their approach and find ways to connect with consumers on an emotional level.
It doesn’t even have to be drastic, a subtle change here and there can make the messaging sound all the more refreshing.
You can replace “Take control of your data” with “Own your digital life and become a Web3 OG” and instead of “destroying big tech” you can use “Say goodbye to Big Tech and say hello to Web3”.
These are all subtle changes that ease the messaging, soften the strong logical appeals and depoliticize the transition. This approach could potentially accelerate the process of Web3 gaining the mass adoption it deserves.
All in all, the messaging around Web3 needs to be improved through a deliberate effort that takes into account the current cultural climate and leverages it to its advantage.
The very essence of the “Entertain, then educate” principle is that individuals are more receptive to novel ideas and knowledge when they are first entertained.
Do these and certainly the next time you present your strategy to the panel of judges in Jugaad, you will be declared: Jugaad Jedis.