In partnership with Eidgensi.
2021 saw the meteoric rise of NFTs into mainstream culture. As the NFT industry went from strength to strength and filled the front pages of major news publications, a new cohort of NFT brands emerged that interacted and thought about their customers a little differently.
Some of these brands, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have quickly become globally recognisable brands with highly engaged communities. The question is, how much of this was ‘right place right time’? And how much was innovative marketing, great execution and knowing how to tap into the mind of the new Web3 consumer?
In this blog, we are going to explore what values and principles these NFT projects have leveraged in order to build prominent and loyal brands in a very short period of time.
A core principle of Web3 is about users taking ownership back of the internet, as NFTs are a sub-sector of Web3 the same principle applies. Having ownership over your digital assets is a defining trait in Web3 and one of the key distinctions from Web2. You can think of Web2 as companies like Instagram, TikTok or Spotify where you don’t ‘own’ your content or the product, the company behind the creation of the platform does.
At face value, Web3 seems like a bad deal for many companies and brands. After all, you are essentially relinquishing some control and ownership of your products and putting them into the hands of your customers. However, by giving ownership to your customers you allow them to buy into your ideas and you align them more strongly with your project or brand.
The most successful NFT projects have used this opportunity to align their customers, otherwise known as ‘holders’, to their advantage and unite them around their brand. The customers are now the ones promoting how amazing or in vogue your NFT project is, because, at the end of the day, they’re invested in the project’s success. No one wants their NFT to be worthless.
Some projects such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (by Yuga Labs) have given full ownership of the intellectual property (IP) rights to the NFT holders. This allows the NFT holders to use their apes as they see fit, they can licence them out to brands, create fast-food companies with them, use them in music videos or, if you’re Snoop Dogg and Eminem, perform at the MTV VMA’s as them.
Yes, giving the IP rights to the NFT holders gives them more control over what they choose to do with their NFTs but, it also serves a second purpose for the project creators. It enables the holders to grow and export their brand in ways that wouldn’t have been possible if they had more control over the NFTs themselves. They essentially ‘open source’ their brand and allow others to innovate with their ideas, and in doing so they open up a world of possibilities.
These early winners in the NFT race have used ownership to their advantage and turned it into a marketing strategy. They’ve seen the potential of using their customers as their front-line marketers.
In Web3 the community makes the decisions, they are the bedrock of any successful NFT project. They are the voice, the bullshit radar and your best marketers. An engaged community is crucial to the success of an NFT project.
An active community member in Web3 basically acts as a free ambassador for your project. They are the driving force in your project’s organic growth, anyone they engage with will become exposed to your NFT project by default. They are your best recruiters and a representation of your project. It’s essential that your community is excited by your project, engaged in the decision-making processes and pointed in the right direction.
If you can provide value to your community they will pay you back tenfold with free marketing, they will champion your project and generate a buzz that pushes up the price of your NFT project and turn it into a ‘blue-chip’.
Airdrops are one of the most popular ways that project creators give back to their community. An airdrop is a free NFT or token that is given to NFT holders or engaged members of the NFT project’s community. Sometimes these airdrops can be worth a lot, as seen with the Mutant Apes or Kennel Club NFTs from Yuga Labs. As there is no cost to the community for owning these they are essentially a free gift, a token of appreciation.
Airdrops can be an amazing promotional activity, if a project is rumoured to be doing an airdrop there is always a spike in interest. This increased interest often drives up the price of the project’s NFT as people speculate and purchase the original NFTs in anticipation of a potentially lucrative freebie. Airdrops also give more people a chance to join an NFT community who were otherwise unable to. They can give you more active community members which in turn drive more interest towards your project.
Exclusivity is baked into successful NFT projects. An NFT is unique by design and cannot be replicated, so if a project has a limited number of NFTs and demand for them massively outstrips supply then you create the aura of exclusivity. The price that someone is willing to pay for an NFT goes up exponentially when it’s deemed to be exclusive.
If you hold a CryptoPunk NFT you are part of an exclusive group of people. CryptoPunks are seen as a pop-culture phenomenon, they are partly responsible for the digital art industry that exists today. If you are a CryptoPunk holder it shows that you were early to this movement, you’re an OG, which is cool. Being a CryptoPunk holder gives you validation from the broader NFT community. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that community of tech pioneers and early adopters?
The same goes for Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) which literally has ‘yacht club’ in the name. Yacht clubs are notoriously exclusive.
In 2021 the blue-chip NFT projects like BAYC or CryptoPunks were thrust into the mainstream and it didn’t take long before A-list celebrities were ‘apeing’ into these projects and paying six-figure sums to be a part of these exclusive new communities.
When esteemed auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s began auctioning off rare CryptoPunks it added validity to the entire industry, drove up the price of the NFT project and added further fuel to the exclusivity fire.
Exclusivity is alluring, it’s amazing what people will pay to be associated with or feel a sense of belonging to a specific movement.
There is a lot we can learn from the new brands on the block leading this cultural and technological shift in the internet to Web3. Ownership, community and exclusivity are front and centre in this new era of the Internet. Use them effectively and you can build a distinguished brand, with a loyal customer base, in a short period of time.
If you want to deploy Web3 marketing strategies into your brand or business but don’t know how to get started then you need to reach out to Eidgensi, the leading Web3 creative agency.
Ignite interest in your brand through Web3 community initiatives and drive sales with innovative and engaging strategies. Join other leading brands and seize the Web3 opportunity.
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