Enthusiasm around NFTs showed no signs of fading at last week’s NFT.NYC conference despite the ongoing crypto winter.
Much of the enthusiasm came from marketers eager to emblazon their brand in their corner of the metaverse, a digital world developed by companies like Decentraland and Sandbox where communities of people can congregate online around a brand or experience.
Non-fungible tokens, digital certificates of ownership residing on the blockchain containing the provenance of a digital or physical item were also a hot talking point at this year’s NFT.NYC blowout in the Big Apple. Marketers and enthusiasts attended talks and parties entertained by Madonna and the Chainsmokers while reveling in the potential of NFTs to rejuvenate brands by rewarding customer loyalty.
Samsung Electronics Co., the Sandbox, and Nickelodeon hosted parallel events to advertise the potential of Web 3, the metaverse, and Web3, the decentralized version of the internet upon which cryptocurrencies are built.
Earning consumer trust and loyalty is key for Web 3 initiatives to work
These companies aim to create multiple touchpoints for fan engagement through a game or a physical toy. To do this successfully, argued Samsung Electronics America’s chief marketing officer at the conference, Michelle Crossan-Matos, companies new to the space must consider ways to earn customers’ trust and loyalty through gamification techniques. U.K. Venture capitalist Frederic Court believes that brands native to Web 3 will attract a younger generation, most of whom spend time online through digital avatars. Especially during the ever-deepening crypto winter, where NFTs are not immune.
Established brands have an advantage
With trust and loyalty already established, other companies can capitalize on the nostalgia associated with brands already possessing an ardent fanbase.
Neopets, which started as a pet-collecting game in 2002, now has a new avenue for user engagement: the Neopets Metaverse. The company gave users a taste of the new virtual world at the conference, promoting it through stickers and stuffed animals giveaways. Nickelodeon jumped on the nostalgia bandwagon in July last year, selling profile picture NFTs of characters from “Rugrats” and others for $50.
Balmain, a French luxury brand, launched an NFT of the digital artwork for a new pair of sneakers, the Balmain Unicorn, at the NFT event, while British luxury fashion house Burberry is building out a presence in the metaverse in the form of a floating oasis.
Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana earlier this year launched an NFT collection on Polygon’s NFT marketplace UNXD, giving access to its luxury product line through an entry pass entitled “DGFamily Box.” The most expensive piece called “Doge Crown,” a digital design encrusted with sapphires and diamonds, sold for $1.2 million.
Community is a critical factor for any NFT or metaverse initiative to succeed, said Jeff McDonald of ad agency Mekanism.