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The next wave in marketing is already upon us, unsettling the flow of traditional distribution, and raising all brands to the surface of the new digital economy where they can connect directly to new digital consumers. Brands using NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, can take advantage of the ocean of digital products and services that have already flooded into every consumer’s life. After Coca-Cola and Nike were amongst the first to dip their feet in the crypto well, more brands are quickly discovering that this technology is the key to the digital marketing kingdom.
What are NFTs?
The simple yet seemingly alien technology behind NFTs will surely be a staple in future generations’ discourse, but currently, it’s still an enigma to brands that are not well versed in the tech world. Brands using NFTs have the option to auction off all kinds of digital assets, whether they are songs, films, art pieces, games, or anything in between, that accrue value with every next bid for ownership.
They can control their supply by setting an initial limit when they deploy them on the blockchain, which also allows each owner to be cryptographically verified, and to permanently store NFT transactional metadata for the public to track. Each NFT is completely unique and non-interchangeable, and therefore will always be associated with its creator no matter where it winds up on the digital market.
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Why are brands using NFTs?
Fully understanding the influence of NFTs on brand marketing begins with understanding the brand-consumer relationship. With the virtual world at everyone’s fingertips, there are lots of opportunities to discover the newest brands that can provide content or services suiting your every need or want. Usually, the content or services are served by distribution platforms, which riddle them with ads and obfuscate certain percentages of profit from the creators. However, the advent of NFTs can cut out the middleman and allow the consumer to buy directly from the manufacturer. NFTs give consumers the power of ownership while simultaneously allowing the brands to enjoy more liberalized profits.
Everything that a brand sells is meant to be an exclusive provision for each of its valued customers. Brands using NFTs can ramp up their exclusivity by selling personalized items such as TikToks or Tweets, crafting a one-of-a-kind digital connection with their consumers. Items like early access tokens, collectibles, or even rewards, as well as any other piece of brand content, can continue to generate profit if consumers choose to distribute them throughout the internet afterward. This opens an entirely new revenue stream driven by high demand from exclusivity. The value of these provisions would be directly proportional to how far it travels within the marketplace, which is measured very accurately thanks to the blockchain.
This new media-ownership model heavily optimizes the growth of brand identity. With this new avenue directly into the consumer base, the brand can continue to live indirectly through new people forever. At the same time, their brand name becomes more exclusive, roping in fresh customers that want to invest in future offerings. NFTs offer a whole new world of creative ways to engage consumers, as well as compete with other brands. Musicians can sell exclusive tickets to concerts or popular clothing brands can provide exclusive tokens for access to merchandise. Each NFT can even be programmed to relay a percentage of its sale to a specific charity, bolstering the brand’s good faith with the community. The transparency and customizability of NFTs give all the power to the relationship between the brand and the consumer.
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How brands use NFTs in their marketing
You’ve probably heard about NFTs from a celebrity purchasing one for an exuberant amount of money or from a crypto enthusiast raving about the future of the market. In the meantime, some of your favorite brands have already partnered with NFT marketplaces to pave their own way through the space. Here are a few brands that have recently been connecting with their consumers through NFTs.
The brand with three stripes is racing into the metaverse with their new line of NFTs titled “Into the Metaverse,” which will provide customers with both virtual and physical Adidas tracksuits, hoodies, and signature beanies. This means that these items would also be available to them if they were to choose to create their own avatar inside the metaverse. You can save these NFTs for any special merch drop in the future as well. The NFTs start out at 0.2 ETH, or about $800, and have been available for purchase since December 17, 2021.
The way Adidas uses NFTs is just one example of generating enthusiasm for their signature products while also exploring a different revenue stream. Bringing their physical products to the digital metaverse looks to be just the first steps into a wider market.
adiVerse anyone? 🤔
— adidas Originals (@adidasoriginals) November 22, 2021
2. Taco Bell
Yes, the famous fast food restaurant is selling NFTs, and no, the Cheesy Gordita Crunch will not be sold as a digital asset. Instead, the brand partnered with NFT marketplace Rarible on March 7, 2021, to mint 25 digital art pieces each labeled as a “Transformative Taco”. The NFTs were so popular that they sold out in just half an hour, however, the nature of NFTs still allows them to navigate the market through bids.
The owner of the original NFT receives a $500 Taco Bell gift card to spend at any location. Taco Bell plans to use these NFTs to continue a trend of attaching digital assets to their food items, and will further donate all proceeds to the Live Más Scholarship.
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) March 8, 2021
The King of Beers is making their way into the NFT kingdom with their own slew of rare collectibles, having announced the drop of 11,000 NFTs on the 21st just yesterday on Twitter. The goal of the “Budweiser Royalty” collection is to support 22 emerging musicians who have partnered with this release. Each NFT will be worth $499, however, you won’t know which NFT you are buying as they are each randomly generated once you purchase one.
Out of these 11,000 NFTs, there are 400 collectible tokens, 99 “rare” tokens that grant the owner access to a virtual listening party with their artist through Discord, and 1 “ultra-rare” token that will grant the owner an additional opportunity to video call with their artist. This is an example of using NFTs as rewards and accumulating hype for new creators using their brand identity.
Meet the #BudweiserRoyalty!
11,000 NFTs allowing you to directly support and back emerging future kings & queens of the music industry. pic.twitter.com/J7ad1ulvVK
— Budweiser (@Budweiser) January 14, 2022
Another Rarible NFT token comes from the toilet paper brand Charmin. They officially launched their way into the crypto market with the announcement of their collection of digital toilet paper on March 17, 2021, via Twitter. Dubbed “NFTP,” standing for “Non-fungible Toilet Paper,” the new collection aims to support the Direct Relief charity, available in just 5 designs with one version of each. This is another example of how brands use NFTs to creatively market their product as well as support a good cause.
Introducing NFT(P) by Charmin.🎨
Sometimes a better bathroom experience goes beyond the seat, that’s why were rolling out the first-ever NFT art by a toilet paper brand!
— Charmin (@Charmin) March 17, 2021
Coca-Cola also announced their NFTs as a collaboration of digital and physical products. They bundled together 4 exclusive NFT art pieces into 1 “loot box,” inspired by International Friendship Day (July 30th), each offering a unique surprise item of Coca-Cola merch upon purchase.
Like several other brands using NFTs, the proceeds will go to help a partner organization, in this case, Special Olympics International. However, the bidding has since closed on August 2nd just 3 days after its launch on NFT marketplaces Tafi and OpenSea. The brand used International Friendship Day to build anticipation for their NFTs as well as donate to a valued organization; all conducive to an effective NFT brand marketing campaign.
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With the NFT market on the rise, you can look through the dozens of brands that have already hopped on the trend for examples of how they can be used to benefit your own brand. The technology has been around for a few years, but with this recent surge into the mainstream, more and more creative ways to expand your business and distribute your products will surely emerge.