How NFTs Build Community Ecosystems and Create Engagement
From Token… to Token-Enabled Experiences
The crypto bell has been rung. Its soundwaves are rippling and expanding, impacting modern transacting quickly. A 2021 survey conducted by Mastercard found that 40% of consumers in the Americas, Asia, Middle East, and Africa plan to use digital assets to make purchases in the next 12 months. Coinbase brought the concept of web3 to its largest singular audience when it broke Super Bowl LVI. Even the government, itself, is scrambling to find the best ways to account for crypto taxes as the public becomes more familiar with the technology.
NFTs are a more specific technology within crypto that have exploded in awareness in the past year — toward almost $45 billion in transactions. Brands have been eager to work with them to innovate and excite consumers. Even within 2021, CNBC reported an increase in trading volume of 704% between Q2 and Q3.
This innovation boils down to two points. First, brand marketers would be wise to reconsider their digital marketing playbook to unlock the tech’s opportunities. And second, on a more granular level, the abilities unlocked by blockchains themselves change how brands can interact with their audience via the creation of large, interactive community ecosystems. Each different blockchain technology carries its own functionalities — from money lending to insurance to entire virtual worlds.
And it’s within these community ecosystems and experiences where NFTs come into play. Read on to learn why NFTs are changing how you interact with your audience.
Revisiting the NFT
Still wondering what, exactly, an NFT is or does? You can read our crash course. Here’s a quick recap: NFTs are non-fungible tokens, or unique pieces of code, that people own. These are digital assets that are distinct from any other and are kept in a wallet, or a digital holder that is connected directly to one individual. Much like the painting on your wall, or the concert ticket with your name and seat on it, NFTs are yours — until you sell them, that is.
And that’s the thing — people most commonly associate NFTs with the collectible. A celebrity’s signature, or a piece of digital art. After all, artists were the early innovators of NFTs, making huge profits from a space that’s still relatively unique and uncrowded.
We’re here to tell you that NFTs are that… and so much more. They’re a means to finding, connecting, and holding onto an engaged audience.
How NFTs Build Community Ecosystems
Ask any brand marketer, and they’ll likely tell you that creating loyal audiences has always been one of the toughest challenges for any company. NFTs are the next stage in solving that equation. They provide brands with an even more profound way to connect people via shared interests. For the first time, via platforms like Mint, brands can create community. People can share unique experiences within a branded digital space that uses NFTs as the currency for interactions, transactions, and communication.
This brings your audience into a community ecosystem where they can engage, trade, purchase, and speak with other people — all under your brand’s banner. An ecosystem means that your audience will be able to perform multiple functions, like selling and buying, communicating directly with other members, and consuming content that might not exist outside the ecosystem.
Here are a few ways that NFTs can foster this sort of environment:
1. NFTs as Points of Access To Join Communities
One of the greatest effects of NFT technology is the ability to serve as access points to communities. Brands who understand go deeper than simply releasing NFTs to provide buzz from exclusive drops and large amounts of money. They utilize NFTs to turn consumers into insiders. As an example, celebrity shout-out app Cameo recently announced Cameo Pass, which gives its NFT owners exclusive access to art, events (virtual and real-life), and merchandise. As long as the owner holds the NFT in their wallet, the access is there.
In another example that features more widely-distributed benefits, horror television network Crypt TV recently announced a series of monster NFT cards for sale. Ownership of these cards enables access to exclusive content and a 3D model of the specific card’s monster to be used across virtual realities like the Metaverse. Crypt TV CEO Jack Davis was enthusiastic about the concept, stating — “I truly believe NFTs and Web3 could set off a new era of IP creation, community development and restack the deck in favor of creators.”
Cameo and Davis see the big picture: there is immense value in generating engagement and loyalty by using NFTs to grant people exclusive access to materials and groups. Doing so automatically adds value to the actual NFT aside from being just another collectible and rallies the audience to become part of the exclusive holder community.
What special treasures can you unlock for people who join your community? That’s a question that’s sure to expand your footprint and entice your audience to leap with you into web3.
2. NFTs as Gamification Tools To Encourage Participation
With their ties to virtual environments like the metaverse and video games themselves, NFTs are excellent options to act as tools and currency for gamifying the customer experience. McDonald’s explored this route when it released a collection of McRib NFTs only to those that retweeted news about the return of the famed sandwich. In other words, the offer of NFTs as a reward for participation is attractive — particularly while it’s still relatively expensive to get NFTs otherwise.
Brands can also take cues from actual video games that use NFTs in their mechanics. Axie Infinity is the most well-known, where the objective is to collect monsters to interact with. These monsters belong to the player as NFTs, and they can trade or sell them to other players. In this case, NFTs actually serve a purpose for the game, and then they can be exchanged for use by other players in a marketplace. Brands can do the same thing by creating NFTs that can be used in a way that goes beyond the item simply sitting in a wallet. This type of activity is possible through marketplaces like the ones provided by Mint.
Through gamification, an NFT acts as a vehicle for action and a reward.
3. NFTs as Markers of Consumer Identity
It’s no coincidence that so many NFTs are characters, monsters in video games, or other figures. With a community ecosystem that uses NFTs for access and tools of engagement with your brand, they truly are the virtual avatar for your audience. Even more to the point — they’re a crucial piece of your consumers’ identity while interacting with your brand.
Some brands have leveraged this concept by creating NFTs that help tell a person’s story. Verizon hosted a contest asking people to share their worst-ever V-Day gift for Valentine’s Day. The winners’ gifts were made into NFTs. These types of activations are more than stunts — they’re exploring the way that people can share themselves. The contest winners will have unique pieces of content that are tied to their interaction with Verizon forever. In the picture book of their digital identity, those NFT stories will play a large part.
So, when you’re thinking about how to leverage NFTs for marketing, consider how they’ll be able to hold a place of pride or importance for the owner.
Coming Together To Form an Ecosystem
Through providing exclusive access, encouraging participation through gamification, and becoming a large part of a consumer’s digital identity, brands can utilize NFTs to usher in a new age of audience interaction.
Next time you’re evaluating your marketing strategy, consider the impact that blockchain technology, NFTs, and web3 can have. Want more info and education on how best to leverage the power of NFTs?
Read more on the Mint blog or get in touch directly.
Written by Rob Simakovsky