How to Use NFTs to Build Brand Awareness
Brands are always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with their consumers and improve their current marketing tactics. These tactics often pursue different goals, one of which is raising brand awareness among the public. While there are several tried and true ways to get the word out about your brand, some companies are starting to do this by using NFTs.
Since keeping ahead of the game is essential to beating the competition, this post will discuss how you can use NFTs for brand awareness, some of the benefits NFTs offer, and the future of NFTs in marketing.
What Exactly Are NFTs?
NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens. They are a special kind of crypto asset similar in some ways to cryptocurrencies in the sense that they both run on a blockchain but different from them in other very important ways. The non-fungible in NFT is an economic term that means each token is unique and cannot be replaced with another token, much in the same way a work of art or an autographed baseball card is unique.
This quality makes NFTs ideal for representing digital assets, but it also makes them perfect for representing the ownership of any kind of asset, digital or not. This allows us to use NFTs to turn a simple gif image of a cat into a collector’s item that can sell for millions of dollars.
How Do They Work?
NFTs work by storing an asset’s ownership and utility information on a blockchain through a process called minting. The ownership and transferability of a token are defined by its uniqueID and metadata, and it’s managed through smart contracts, which are the pieces of code actually written on the blockchain when minting.
The blockchain itself is a decentralized digital ledger that is tamper-proof. This means that it cannot be changed or edited once recorded, making it a perfect storage medium for digital assets like NFTs.
Although the most popular blockchain used today is Ethereum, several other blockchains work with NFTs, including Flow, Tezos, Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Polygon, and more.
For those wanting to learn more about minting NFTs through blockchain, here’s a great article from Emily Taylor of AZ Big Media.
Why Are NFTs Becoming So Popular?
NFTs are indivisible, so they can only have one official owner at a time. Just as a good artist can copy the Mona Lisa but there will always be only one original, digital assets that are minted as NFTs can be copied and duplicated just like any other digital file or document, but there will only be one original NFT with one single owner, which is easily verifiable in the blockchain.
This scarcity, uniqueness, and proof of ownership are features that make digital assets minted as NFTs more similar to physical ones. This allows companies that embrace NFTs to create new forms of unique interactions with potential customers, especially considering that we will live more in virtual environments as the different metaverses come of age.
4 Ways Companies Can Use NFTs For Brand Awareness
NFTs are becoming vital to businesses because they can represent a wide range of creative products, including audio, video, images, 3D models, virtual real estate, fashion design, and any other type of creative work. This has given rise to new methods of brand storytelling and consumer engagement, which are two of the most important elements of an effective marketing strategy.
Here are some specific ways you can use NFTs to boost brand awareness:
#1: Create Digital Versions of your Physical Products and Mint Them as NFTs.
NFTs are on the rise, and so is anyone minting unique NFTs. Many major consumer brands and manufacturers like Nike and Coca-Cola have already taken notice and are actively minting virtual 3D models of their products or branded merchandise as NFTs and auctioning them on different sites. Users then pay for these NFTs with Ethereum or whatever the blockchain’s native crypto is and become the new owners of the digital assets.
The main benefit of creating these digital versions of your products is that you can then integrate these assets with the metaverse, where users will be able to use/wear/show off your products, exposing other metaverse users to your brand. This doesn’t only work for B2C companies but also for B2B brands, as more and more businesses dive into the metaverse.
While major players like Nike are attracting the most attention, the metaverse is still in its infancy, and there is plenty of space for small businesses to benefit from this trend, especially considering the current boom in popularity of NFTs.
One example of this is RTFKT Studios, a small-time digital fashion brand that became known worldwide for a series of virtual sneakers minted as NFTs that went viral. RTFKT’s NFTs were so effective in building hype and brand awareness that Nike bought the company in December 2021.
#2: Creating Unique Brand Experiences
As mentioned above, any digital asset can be minted as an NFT, including virtual real estate, entire virtual worlds, 3D computer models, audio, video, and much more. By combining these assets, you can create an entire virtual brand experience for your present and future customers to enjoy.
Additionally, NFTs can have added value in the form of utility. They don’t have to be a piece of digital art that’s just hanging on the wall of your virtual office; through an NFT, you can provide additional value for your customers in the form of unique perks and benefits, access to unique products, early access to upcoming products, and more.
Some brands even provide access to top company executives as a form of value for acquiring or earning an NFT.
Take Gary Vaynerchuk (better known as Gary Vee), the famous Belarusian-American entrepreneur who co-founded B2B brands like restaurant reservation software company Resy and Empathy Wines. Gary created a unique collection of hand-drawn NFTs, dubbed VeeFriends, with different features. Some of the tokens grant access to VeeCon, a multi-day conference that only token-holders can attend, while other tokens even grant the holder access to live, online meetings with Vee himself.
These unique experiences and the buzz generated around them create life-long partnerships between you and your customers, be they consumers or other businesses.
#3: Crafting Effective NFT Campaigns That Offer Value
As you can see by now, NFTs can help your brand provide value to your customers in a whole new way, the above being just one real-life example. Consequently, even though you can sell your NFTs for a profit and you may stand to gain plenty of revenue from them, companies today are using NFTs as marketing tools rather than as income-generating assets. Many are centering entire marketing campaigns around NFTs.
Besides new brand experiences, creating buzz around a new product launch using NFTs is one example of an NFT marketing campaign, and so is advertising NFTs with unique properties as loyalty rewards for new customers and clients. As long as you craft your campaign based on each NFT’s value for the holder (answering your customer’s question “what’s in it for me?”), you’re likely to attract the right crowd.
This happens to work both directly and indirectly to build brand awareness. Besides generating loyalty with your customers, the underlying value of your NFTs can be attractive to other members of your niche market, and the word can spread like wildfire. Also, the fact that the holder of an NFT can sell it and transfer ownership to someone else means that an NFT is an investment, and it’s in the holder’s best interest for your brand to grow. This turns loyal customers into brand ambassadors that’ll shoot awareness through the roof, but that will only happen if the NFT offers sufficient underlying value.
#4: Using Them to Partner With Other Brands
Guest blogging is a great way to get your brand in front of another blogger’s readers. This is another textbook method to build brand awareness. And you can do something similar with NFTs. You already have a customer base in your niche, and other brands have their customers in theirs. By partnering with each other, you’ll both benefit from increased exposure to each other’s audience.
This can work on many different levels. For example, you could partner with an established company launching a new product and bundle that product with access tokens to a related service your company offers. You could also create joint branded NFTs with relevant features valuable for both brands’ customers.
Let’s say your brand offers online cryptocurrency payment solutions for small brick & mortar businesses, and you know of a point-of-sale (POS) manufacturer that’s about to launch a new unit. You can partner with them and offer an NFT with each new unit that grants free access to your product for, say, three months or a lower-commission tier unique to NFT holders, etc.
This partnership would benefit both brands immensely since retailers that need a POS will not only get what they’re looking for by purchasing the new unit, but they’ll also be able to offer their customers more payment options besides cash and major credit cards, increasing the unit’s value and, potentially, its sales. On your side, you could promote the POS to your audience by highlighting the fact that the bundled NFT would save them thousands in commissions for your service. Your brand will benefit from increased exposure to the manufacturer’s clients, while the manufacturer will benefit from exposure to your audience as well as increased sales on both markets.
Finally, the new POS and NFT owners will also have an asset they can potentially sell for additional profit, further increasing the bundled product’s value and potentially brand awareness within that customer’s network. Everyone wins!
The Bottom Line: What The Future Holds For NFTs In Marketing
The future of NFTs in marketing looks very promising. Because they’re unique, collectible, and valuable, NFTs have a lot of potential to be used as promotional tools by companies of all sizes. Besides building brand awareness, companies can use NFTs to increase sales, improve conversions and even test out if there’s a real market for products that still don’t exist physically.
Furthermore, as the metaverse continues to grow in popularity, businesses will find more innovative ways to use NFTs to interact with their customers and connect with them like never before. It sure is a great time to be a marketer.
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