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How brands use NFTs for marketing?

How brands use NFTs for marketing?

As the Web is shifting towards a market and community based Web 3.0, and the physical and digital worlds are intertwining in metaverse, marketing professionals are once again called upon duty to discover the new tools and ways of using them. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are one of those tools that became a hype and thus caught the attention of marketers. Although the NFT technology is relatively new, it has already been employed in many successful marketing campaigns with different goals varying from raising brand awareness to taking part in the metaverse and promoting charitable causes. And, with the global NFT market size expected to grow from USD 3.0 billion in 2022 to USD 13.6 billion by 2027, it is definitely a trend that brands should explore. Not just as a marketing but also as a PR tool. Companies that send out press releases about their NFT campaigns, get their news featured on many portals. Here is an example from Online PR Service B2Press.

From newspaper ads to special tokens

Marketing is a practice evolving with the development of society, media and technologies. Every invention from newspaper and radio to television as well as the internet has also introduced new marketing strategies and kept the marketing toolbox growing with newspaper ads, billboards, telemarketing, database marketing, e-mail marketing and social media. 

Marketing experts should constantly keep an eye on these emerging trends, tools and social movements to discover new marketing opportunities for better lead attraction and lead conversion. Keeping up with the new trends and technologies is also an important part of brand culture cultivation. Brand culture should be nurtured and developed in a way to maintain brand loyalty, which is the ultimate business asset. 

As the world is heading towards Web 3.0 and metaverse, which is an idea for a decentralized and public blockchain based version of the Internet, brands and marketers are exploring new ways to engage their audiences in shaping and sharing their brand culture and enhancing brand loyalty. Some of these new ways include the use of cutting-edge technologies and tools such as VR-enabled realities and Non-Fungible Tokens.    

NFT, the latest buzzword 
NFTs are uniquely signed digital assets that are created and traded on blockchains - mainly Ethereum. Their distinct identification codes and metadata distinguish them from each other and they differ from other crypto assets with their ‘digital smart contract’ and ‘mutually not interchangeable’ features. They can represent anything from artwork, images, music, videos or collectibles, avatars and even tickets. 

Minting or not minting, that is the question!

The creation of an NFT is expressed as “minting”. NFT’s exclusive ownership rights recorded on the blockchain which can be transferred, makes it tradable. In fact, the growing interest in owning and trading NFTs is one of the primary reasons why it piqued the interest of marketers. More than 2.5 million crypto wallets were holding or trading NFTs in 2021 up from just 89,000 a year earlier. 

Hence, not minting is not an option for the marketers any more and they are already experimenting with this new technology to capitalize on many goals from driving brand awareness to increasing customer loyalty and generating revenue by monetizing their user bases to charitable causes. According to Hubspot Blog Research on content and media planning, 14% of media planners currently leverage non-fungible tokens.

How to leverage NFTs?

The smart contract technologies embedded in these special tokens which enables to confer certain rights and benefits to its owner, together with their exclusivity, uniqueness and traceability features, presents various creative ways to use NFTs in marketing and PR campaigns. Here are some examples of marketing campaigns involving NFTs sorted by their purposes:    

  • Driving brand awareness

The most common ways of driving brand awareness using NFTs are organizing contests or events which offer unique experiences, collectibles or exclusive rights. 

Boohoo, an online fashion brand is a good example of a brand using NFTs in a mutually beneficial way both to drive awareness for its brand and for the female artists it’s supporting. To celebrate March | Women’s History Month, the brand minted NFTs in collaboration with female artists and promoted them on Boohoo’s Instagram account. In return, artists promoted the project and boosted the brand’s Twitter following.

McDonald’s minted McRib NFTs in 2021 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the fast food chain’s favorite hamburger. 10 McRib NFTs were won by the customers who followed the company on Twitter and retweeted an invitation. McDonald’s has significantly boosted its follower base in social media with the campaign. 

  • Boosting brand loyalty

NFTs also hold an important place in the future of brand loyalty and Customer Relations Management (CRM) strategies since encouraging the customers to engage in loyalty programs and rewarding loyal customers can be done with NFTs. Creating a sense of exclusivity and ownership of your brand or building a tangible bond is possible with NFTs and it holds more value for the customer.

For example, Clinique is the first Estée Lauder brand to offer an NFT in a bid to drive loyalty and add marketing weight to its top products as a sign of more purposeful brand uses of non-fungible tokens. The brand launched an online contest encouraging its customers to share “stories of optimism” through Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Three contest winners were rewarded with an NFT artwork called “Meta Optimist” that provided access to an assortment of brand products once every year over the next decade whilst claiming a piece of brand heritage. An important condition for participation was that consumers had to join Clinique’s Smart Rewards members program (a novel approach to encourage membership). By allowing only the members to join the contest, the brand was both rewarding members and motivating others to join membership.

NFTs are also widely used to drive brand loyalty especially among the devoted fans in the form of collector items of their favorite athletes or special rights to get involved in non-strategic decisions like the team’s walk-up music. Quarterback Tom Brady's NFT startup, Autograph, recently raised $170 million in Series B funding, according to Fortune. And that’s apparently the tip of the iceberg cause Deloitte Global predicts that NFTs for sports media will generate more than US$2 billion in transactions in 2022, about double the figure for 2021. According to a study by PWC, teams and ticket vendors are also getting in on the action, turning ticket stubs into NFTs. The digital ticket may replace the seasonal tickets and may include highlight reels from the games or giveaways from sponsors.

  • Building Communities and taking part in the Metaverse

The Metaverse market size is expected to grow by $678 billion from 2021 to 2016 according to Technavio.The brands which cannot ignore a market size of this magnitude have already started taking their places in the metaverse. NFTs are one of the commonly used tools for community building in the metaverse and they create a gateway to this world.

For example, Adidas Originals in collaboration with the Bored Ape Yacht Club has minted its first NFTs to enter into the metaverse. The NFTs are granting exclusive rights to both physical and digital products and experiences, including virtual wearables for blockchain-based gaming world The Sandbox and other platforms. With the project Adidas laid its foundations built on Web3 that can lead to new opportunities for partnerships. Erika Wykes-Sneyd, VP of marketing for Adidas Originals, told The Verge that intent of the NFT was to create a metaverse community, and the next goal is to add value to their NFT over time by delivering new experiences. She added: “(its value) is gonna also evolve with what we’re learning about the community and how they’re changing and evolving.”

Nike, which already opened its headquarters NIKELAND on Roblox, announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios—a digital design studio specializing in the creation of digital sneakers. Nike has started selling digital sneakers that people can buy for their digital avatars. 

  • Creating unique experiences and exclusive products

The uniqueness and exclusivity of NFTs introduces a sort of “scarcity” in the digital world and these features create other marketing opportunities where NFTs can be used to better incentivize audiences through exclusive experiences and products. 

Luxury brands and brands launching limited edition products are also increasingly using NFTs to authenticate and promote their products. For example, Nike secured a patent for blockchain-compatible sneakers, CryptoKicks. With this platform the brand can provide an NFT accompanying the pair of physical shoes that are sold. Nike’s platform can also track the ownership, and verify the authenticity of sneakers using the NFTs. Dolce & Gabbana also created a limited edition collection of NFTs. In addition to owning the purchased NFT, the owner would also get a physical suit tailored to their specifications. Similarly, the NFL, in collaboration with Ticketmaster, gave out virtual NFT tickets that could be traded or sold. 

These are all examples of brands offering a limited access experience to their fans through NFTs. 

  • Philanthropy and promoting charitable causes

You wouldn’t be surprised to hear that NFTs are also being used by nonprofits. The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) started the sale of a collection of 1000 NFTs to raise funds for the promotion of internet access for students in schools around the world. Hope for Haiti in partnership with FXG announced the launch of NFTs to raise money for victims of an earthquake in Haiti.

These examples have already inspired many brands to incorporate NFTs in their philanthropic public relations projects, and raise money or awareness for the causes they support. 

MAC Cosmetics, for example, sells collectible NFTs to raise funds to support organizations in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Taco Bell has minted NFTs to support its Live Más Scholarship program. Selected students nationwide were awarded with scholarships worth $8 million in total. What’s more, Taco Bell announced that the revenue generated from resales (since the brand receives a small royalty), will continue to support the project.

Procter & Gamble’s toilet paper brand Charmin released a series of NFT’s called NFTP (Non-Fungible Toilet Paper). The NFTs were auctioned and the bids were as high as 0.15 ETH ($264.72), with proceeds going to the humanitarian aid charity Direct Relief.

Coca-Cola Friendship Box, was the company’s first debut in the NFT area. Inspired by video-game loot boxes, the Friendship Box was packed full of four dynamic and rare 1-of-1 NFTs with hidden surprises for their collectors. They were auctioned on the International Friendship Day to reflect the brand’s core values tied to friendship. The project was also supporting a good cause as all the proceeds from the auction went to the Special Olympics International Organization. Hence, Coca-Cola successfully realized a multi-purpose campaign highlighting the brand values, and delivering an exclusive brand experience which fortified the loyalty of its customers.

Use it or not, NFTs have already taken their place in the marketing toolbox
There might still be some time for the NFTs to become a trailblazer in the digital marketing of the future. And it is quite safe to argue that user-generated content, SEO or digital ads will keep playing crucial roles in the same future. However, NFTs lay a new ground to explore interactions with consumers and they can be used for many purposes. 

According to a HubSpot Blog Research, among those who already used NFTs, 39% say they have the best ROI within any channel in their media mix. How to employ NFTs in a marketing campaign can vary according to the goal of the brand or marketing strategy. But regardless of the goal and scale, NFT is a hype that none of the marketers can ignore.

Get more out of your NFT campaigns

NFTs are very popular not only among investors but also among journalists. A good NFT story can always be the subject of a press release. You can distribute your press release in any country and reach a large group of potential buyers. If you want to do this, please contact the Online PR service B2Press.

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