NFTs are taking the digital world by storm. They have already revolutionized the art and design landscape, and they are covering more and more ground with each passing day.
Now, NFTs seem to have a new target in mind: digital marketing.
In this increasingly competitive and disruptive market, no brand wants to fall behind. So, many major players are already incorporating NFTs into their marketing strategies to drive engagement and brand awareness.
But are NFTs really the new frontier of digital marketing? And how can businesses harness the power of these digital assets to boost their marketing efforts? In this article, we’ll dig a bit deeper into the concept of NFTs and how companies are using them to market their products and services in an innovative way.
What’s an NFT?
First things first: what’s an NFT?
Simply put, NFTs or non-fungible tokens are one-of-a-kind digital assets —therefore, they are unique and can’t be replaced with something else. However, this doesn’t mean they are not transferable.
Just like any other asset, NFTs can be bought and sold, and for each transaction, a certificate of ownership with unique ID codes and metadata is registered on the blockchain. This process is known as “tokenization,” and it’s what makes an NFT unique.
This essentially means that you can become the sole owner of any piece of digital content you want, as long as it has been transformed into an NFT or tokenized. Now, you may be wondering why you’d pay to become the owner of something that is readily available to everyone online. Well, it’s a bit trickier than that.
Let’s say, for instance, that you buy the NFT of your favorite meme. Yes, everyone else will be able to access, download, use and share that meme, but you’ll own the original. It’s like art —you may own a print of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” but the original will always remain in the permanent collection of the MoMA.
Is NFT marketing really a thing?
Well, here’s where things get interesting. The NFT craze began in 2017 with CryptoKitties —a blockchain video game on Ethereum where players could purchase, collect and sell virtual cats.
Since then, the interest in this new type of digital assets has only increased. You now hear people talking about NFTs all the time, and they are slowly entering the mainstream.
But regardless of all the hype, the truth is NFTs have a lot of potential for brands. Although they are relatively new, they are versatile and offer exciting new possibilities in terms of marketing, so companies are looking into different ways to leverage them to boost brand awareness and create engaging experiences for customers.
In fact, many major players have already started harnessing the power of NFTs to drive their marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at some examples of how brands can use NFT marketing to their advantage.
1. Building brand awareness
Experts understand that the traditional marketing landscape is disappearing. With Web3 coming our way and the different technologies that are currently being developed, brands need to start tweaking their strategies to adapt to the new ways in which their customers connect with them.
NFTs can be a powerful tool to help them do that. An NFT-based marketing strategy can drive brand awareness and build excitement around the experiences you have to offer.
Take Taco Bell, for example. The company launched a collection of 25 taco-themed NFTs that sold out in under 30 minutes on the platform Rarible. The proceeds were later donated to the Live Más Scholarship through the Taco Bell Foundation.
With this initiative, the company killed two birds with one stone: it was able to bring attention to its brand and it supported a good cause, showing its customers that it is aligned with their personal values.
2. Expanding your audience
If you’re looking to expand your audience and reach new markets, NFTs may be the answer.
By incorporating NFTs into your marketing strategy, you will be able to reach a younger, tech-savvy audience. This is particularly promising for more traditional brands seeking to expand.
For instance, Original Penguin, the American sportswear brand, partnered with TikTok influencers to organize its first NFT auction, which included five augmented reality NFTs designed by the influencers and three designed by the brand itself. And as part of the company’s commitment to support young creators, all proceeds went to Free Arts NYC, a nonprofit organization that helps youth through art and mentoring programs.
This is the perfect example of how incorporating NFTs into your marketing efforts can serve many purposes. In this particular case, it helped Original Penguin reach a younger audience and expand its reach while showing its commitment to a good cause.
3. Driving anticipation
Sometimes you need to build a little bit of hype around a new line of products. So, why not try using NFTs?
As a relatively new tool, NFTs can ignite people’s curiosity and excitement, and that’s perfect if you want to bring attention to your brand and give a little boost to your sales —or even pre-sales.
McDonald’s, for example, created its first-ever NFT giveaway last November to celebrate the return of the McRib to its menu. The company issued a limited number of NFTs —or “McNFTs,” as they called them— featuring the McRib. This helped them build hype around the product’s temporary return.
Combine that with its limited availability and its delicious taste, and you get the perfect recipe for success.
And the best part is that to get a chance to win an NFT, people had to retweet the brand’s invitation. The tweet received more than 90K retweets and over 57.4K likes. Talk about good marketing! With just one move, the company managed to build excitement and anticipation around its product and it increased its Twitter reach.
4. Promoting events
With the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events took a massive hit. But NFTs can help bring them back to life. By offering NFTs to attendees, brands can promote their in-person events and bring customers back to the in-person scene.
You can even use NFTs as innovative access tickets if you want to add a more high-end and exclusive flair to your brand’s events.
For this year’s Superbowl, the NFL partnered with Ticketmaster to offer all attendees virtual commemorative tickets in the form of NFTs. These limited edition tickets featured the owner’s unique section, row, and seat, and provided them with a one-of-a-kind experience.
Last year, ACM Theatres also took the NFT route to promote the new SpiderMan movie and bring fans back to the theaters after the pandemic. They offered the first attendees exclusive NFTs, marking the first-ever NFT promotion from a movie theater.
5. Generating unique customer experiences
Your brand’s customer experience is what sets you apart from your competition. Thanks to NFTs, you can now create unique, engaging experiences that could potentially transform the way your customers connect with your brand.
This is particularly relevant now that we’re gearing towards Web3 —the decentralized new iteration of the internet based on blockchain technology. This new step in the evolution of the internet offers interesting opportunities to brands in terms of marketing. Combine that with NFTs and you’re setting your business up for success.
For example, Prada recently partnered with Adidas to launch its first NFT: a crowd-sourced digital piece of art. Anyone can submit a photo to the initiative’s database, and then 3000 images will be selected and combined into one NFT design.
That NFT will be auctioned online. But the interesting thing is that the selected images will be minted by Adidas, and the people who submitted them will remain the owners of those NFTs.
This engaging, disruptive experience will help both brands forge a stronger bond with their customers. It’s an unprecedented initiative that combines co-creation with users and co-ownership. And that’s all Web3 is about.
NFT marketing seems to be here to stay, so brands should be quick to embrace it, learn how to correctly implement it, and harness its full potential.
As we mentioned, NFTs can bring significant value to your marketing strategy. They can help you boost brand awareness, reach new audiences, drive anticipation and hype around your products, promote your in-person events, and even offer unique experiences to your customers.
And there are probably a lot of more options to make the best of this new technology that companies will need to discover along the way.
In this increasingly competitive market, only those brands that are quick to adapt and are willing to take risks will reap the rewards of new, disrupting solutions. So, take a step forward and enter the new era of digital marketing. There are plenty of opportunities waiting for you.