McDonalds, TacoBell, H&M, Mercedes-Benz, Coca Cola… We all know these brands. And they have all been trending this past year, because they have all launched their collections of NFTs. But why exactly have these prestigious and globally recognized brands decided to bet on creating their digital collectibles?
The reason, or rather the reasons, are very simple. The first and most obvious reason is to take advantage of the hype and create a marketing campaign. Pure and simple marketing.
Why is it important for brands to create an NFT?
In recent years cryptocurrencies and especially NFTs have been trending and on everyone’s lips. This is what has led these brands to want to jump on the crypto train. And many have achieved their main goal. Gain exposure. Getting them on social networks and their millions of consumers around the world to talk about them. In this way, they manage to position themselves as an innovative, digital brand that is on-trend, with a super-reduced cost campaign that can even generate revenue for them. That said, in recent months, due to the bad image that the crypto world has had, some of the campaigns have been counterproductive, and have caused some rejection by the most skeptical consumers with the crypto world, especially the less elaborate ones without a defined proposal or storyline (for example, McDonalds took a picture of a hamburger as NFT).
And although this may have been a compelling reason, at least in the short term, for brands to launch their NFT campaigns, there is a much more relevant reason that leads brands to adopt this technology. But the reason why they have launched these initiatives is to have a new customer relationship model with which to create greater loyalty and engagement with their consumers. In other words, to reconnect and build loyalty with their community. And if they have achieved this by launching a simple photo of a product, what can they do with an elaborate campaign?
Potential use of NFTs as a promotional tool
This is where we see the enormous potential use of NFTs. Not only do they allow us to certify ownership of a digital asset. But because they allow us to do so, we can create new experiences based on transferring ownership in a digital channel, which was not possible before. And these new experiences open up a great channel for us to connect with our audience.
Let’s think about it for a moment. Brands have been using the concept of ownership, i.e. giving “gifts” or items that have an associated value to their consumers as engagement and loyalty tools for years. From QRs on product packaging to access sweepstakes and giveaways, stickers, toys, discounts, unique experiences and countless other promotional elements that have served to encourage consumers to continue buying the brand’s products.
Well, the NFT is the digital equivalent of all these promotional elements. It is the digital support where the QR, the chrome, the sticker … But, thanks to the associated digital experience, we can create new models of promotion and customer relationship, more elaborate, more innovative, more attractive and especially within the new digital channels where the consumer moves today (RRSS, Web …).
Brands can add a QR or unique promotional code that allows access to a contest or prize, or create a promotional model where the user is rewarded for their participation and interaction with the brand. For example, we can give discount NFTs applicable in one of our stores or establishments to those fans who have the most interaction with the brand in networks, such as those who comment the most or “like” the brand’s posts. In the same way that they can be given for the purchase of products, by raffle with some of the products, by participation in events or activities organized by the brand…
These promotions delivered by the consumer can be simple prizes, such as a toy, a trip, an exclusive experience or a discount on brand products, but they can even give the possibility to participate actively in some of the brand’s decisions.
For example, let’s say I’m a big fan of a soft drink brand, and because I’m always actively supporting them on their social networks, I’m recognized as a golden fan of the brand with a NFT. Owning this NFT can give me the possibility to decide / vote the design of the new bottle, decide or test in advance the new range of flavors, even create the new soft drink flavor myself and get a small part of the benefits of its sale.
Benefits of NFTs for the brand
NFTs are a way to connect with your audience by letting them participate in the story of your brand and what it stands for. Having this NFT gives a sense of belonging among your community. NFTs are a great way to help people feel part of a community. It’s not just the game itself that you’re building, but the community around it. They allow you to relate to your audience in a new and creative way.
Also, another very key point is that brands don’t operate alone. They have partners. Collaborators with whom they establish synergies. And sometimes, these synergies become cross-promotions or joint promotions (especially in the case of companies within the retail and FMCG world). And the NFT can be used as an interoperable promotional element between different companies, and therefore can be redeemed in all those companies that create this collaborative promotional ecosystem. That is, we can deliver and redeem the same NFTs from several brands / companies at the same time.
Let’s imagine the following example. A fast food brand can create a new menu with a gift (like a children’s menu) but focused on a teenage audience. This menu can include a gift NFT that can be used to play a play-to-earn game. Or it can be delivered with the purchase of an adult menu with a free one-month subscription to a streaming platform. When the user accesses the game or the platform, he/she can redeem the NFT and obtain the prize, i.e. this new element within the video game (avatar, skin, skill…) or the month of free subscription to the platform.
In the same way, this platform can give a free NFT to people who watch the first chapter and give feedback of a new series they have launched. And that this NFT could be redeemable for a free menu or a NFT of the game. And likewise, if you win an online game of the video game you could receive an NFT redeemable for an in-game NFT or a free menu. The possibilities are endless.
NFTs open the door for all brands to create new digital experiences, where they can reconnect and regain consumer engagement and loyalty with their brand. Not because we give them a sticker. But because we offer new and more current promotional models where the consumer has more voice and decision-making power.