Found in 2021, Plus Company is an alliance of creative brands and agencies with over 25 agencies under it. Earlier this month, they announced the launch of the first-of-its-kind NFT employee engagement program. Akanksha Goel, Vice President, and Regional Lead Middle East and India for We Are Social, Plus Company tells Communicate how the platform sets them apart from all the other brands jumping on the NFT bandwagon.
Amid all the buzz that NFTs have created in the crypto world, many brands from the likes of Coachella, Gucci, and even Coca-Cola have dived into experimenting with them. While NFTs have become a popular approach for brands to communicate with their consumers, there is still a lot of misinformation around the concept of this digital asset.
Counteracting this approach, Plus Company, an agency network combining digital and creative services from across the globe has launched the first-of-its-kind NFT employee engagement platform – Plus Connect. PlusConnect NFT Collection and Innovation DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) provide its employees with a gamified experience aimed to foster employee connections as well as expand Web 3.0 capabilities. The initiative aims at driving engagement across the 25 agencies and among the 3,000+ employees that together make up the Plus Company network.
To get an in-depth understanding of this platform, Communicate sat down with Akanksha Goel, Vice President and Regional Lead for Middle East India at We Are Social. Here’s what she had to say:
In the image above: Akanksha Goel, Vice President and Regional Lead for Middle East India at We Are Social.
What was the insight behind this initiative? How does the technology of NFTs fit into your efforts into instilling a healthy employee culture?
As a goal ever since the group restructured, the fundamental insight was to be able to connect with each other and to work as a group, while working with different entities this should become a part of our DNA. For instance, someone working for We Are Social in Dubai might not be in touch with the people working in their roles in Canada. Personally, I believe that we have a real shot at exclusivity if we work collaboratively.
While on one hand, the goal was collaboration and connection, on the other, it was learning. Over the last two years, we’ve seen huge adoption of blockchain and crypto and a large part of the same has been dominated by the NFTs. Even though it’s too early, we all know Web 3.0 is the next frontier of marketing. As a creative agency, we’re advising brands on taking their first steps into Web 3.0, but how do we do that meaningfully? How do we get our people to build experiences for them when they haven’t even experienced it themselves?
In a shifting advertising landscape, there is a need to do things that have an impact, but it is also crucial to participate in the communities that are directly involved in making that impact. So, the reason we decided to do this with NFTs is because we wanted to create this opportunity for all of our people around the world in a safe environment without any commercial cryptocurrency trading, to get hands-on with the technology. We wanted to help them set up their wallet and get closer to understanding this new consumer segment.
How does the platform work and how does it educate your employees across the network?
The way the journey unfolds is that every employee within the group can go on to the designated campaign website, where they can log in with their work e-mail address. Once identified as an employee under the network, they can access explainer videos on what an NFT is, and on how they can set up their digital wallet. The platform caters to both categories of people – those who are crypto legions, and those who don't know anything about the technology.
With that setup, the users can then access their NFT. This NFT is basically customized based on the agency that the person works at. So, every NFT is unique, and once they've got it, the next step for them is to find someone within the network, preferably from another agency, and send them a connection request. The NFT uses generative art, so every time a new connection is made, the NFT evolves. This brought in a lot of excitement among our people as each NFT evolves differently from another. The mission is to instill connectivity across all our agency extensions through gamification and as a result, users familiarize themselves with the process of creating NFTs. The competition is based on the number of connections you build by unlocking prizes and bonuses.
How does this initiative differentiate Plus Company from all the other brands jumping on the bandwagon of NFTs?
All businesses want to foster innovation and creativity. But what sets us apart from the rest is that we’re putting the time, effort, and money into it. And I think it's when businesses truly invest in projects like this when you know that this is a network that's putting their money where their mouth is, hence proving our zeal to foster innovation.
Moreover, the fact that we've worked with different agencies within the network to bring this to life also shows that while we haven't collaborated in the past, we have the spirit of collaboration, and we work as partners. A small gesture can make a huge difference. Plus Connect was curated with a collaborative effort between We Are Social, Socialize, Fuseproject, and notable computational artist, who goes by the name - radarboy3000 along with NFT art advisor Valuart.
Does the team plan on converting this project into a revenue stream in the near future?
While the project is intense, the learning is not. This project is like an R&D investment into our clients' future Web 3.0 campaigns. So, everything that we've learned from this project, we will absolutely take into our client projects. I can't tell you exactly what we're planning. But we do plan on taking this experience to a large event, in a few months, where we're replicating this experience for a conference of 90,000+ people. This is while driving that same connection for the people who are attending the conference because part of what we've done with this technology is reinventing networking. While it started internally, we’re ready to take the same experience out and help others drive the same level of success we were able to internally.