Although it has actually been around for many years, Blockchain technology – the decentralised network accounting system of the internet – is now gaining traction and profile with its broader applications outside of cryptocurrency – particularly for brands looking to foster even closer relationships with their audiences.
More brands and businesses are increasingly recognising the validity and value of building Blockchain capability into their strategy or business model, to drive down costs, increase security and speed to market, showcase the supply chain and, significantly, build a better customer experience and connection.
How blockchain technology can increase transparency, traceability and trust:
Making materials, supply chains and processes immediately accessible, integrated and interactive
Designer watch brand, Nordgreen, is known for its long-term vision to reduce the environmental impact of the watch industry. With The Guardian – a new release of 3,000 super premium and sustainable watches – the brand is taking its vision to the next level through every aspect of the design. But, most notably, an integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) chip elevates the recycled plastic packaging – moving it from a functional and protective role – to become an interactive experience offering information about the packaging production and the recycling process to encourage its community to play an active role in saving the planet.
Ensuring the credibility and security of data and detailed traceability
Danish shoe company Roccamore has taken it’s brand storytelling one step further with Blockchain technology to prove that it is true and traceable.
Scanning a QR code on the inside of the shoe treats the viewer to a journey across a map, where the company relates the steps of the shoe’s journey from where the cow grazed right through to which the factory assembled the shoe. The private blockchain means that only involved business partners can add data to the system – for instance, the tannery Spoor, which provides data on the shoe leather.
Connecting to a known or local source and promising identifiable, personalised or unmediated transactions and information sharing
Today, people want trust-able food and Elke milk is one brand making this a reality by allowing people to choose which cow they want their milk from. A transparent and trusted chain with a pure product, Elke strives to tell the real story of the cow, the farmer and the environment and, ultimately, give the consumer a personalised experience. Milk from each cow is separately stored, processed and bottled. On the label, the name of the cow is given, alongside information about the time of milking, and the amount of fat, lactose and protein of that specific milk so people can choose the milk they like the most. A QR code takes customers to the website to find more information and view their particular cow.
Digital accessibility and interaction are becoming more paramount to the society and culture we are living in – particularly with the arrival of the Metaverse – and leveraging Blockchain capability has the potential to revolutionise the value chain of modern businesses.
However, digital sustainability is also becoming a critical issue for us all. The massive energy use, with for example the Bitcoin blockchain, has certainly been much publicised. But, emerging eco and second-generation blockchains are already overcoming this. A new blockchain tool to track sustainability, GreenToken was recently used by Unilever to track and verify more than 188,000 tonnes of oil palm fruit from plantation to end product. As Natasha Pergl, Global Circular Economy Lead at SAP said:
“Technology such as this allows companies to actually demonstrate that they are delivering against the ambitious sustainability commitments they’ve made in a very practical, actionable way.”
(Source: The Guardian)
From QR codes to NFC chips, it will be up to the individual brand to explore the best route or medium to access this technology and integrate it into their business. But, what is most important to remember is how this technology can enable the creation of distinctive, deliverable and game-changing user experiences that make a more intimate customer connection not just viable – but visible.
There are established private, learning blockchain platforms – from names such as Amazon and IBM – that brands can use to get started with integrating this technology into their business although which to use naturally depends on the design of the experience the brand owner would like to create or how they would like to interact with the product supply chain. But what is most important to remember is how this technology can enable the creation of distinctive, deliverable and game-changing user experiences that make a more intimate customer connection not just viable – but visible.