I was recently working on a virtual event aimed at building community and strategic alignment among senior leaders at my company. Often these types of events are accompanied by some type of swag as a way of solidifying (literally) the bonds build and messages conveyed. Being a virtual event, I thought it was an opportunity to explore whether a virtual artifact might be able to fulfill the same function that physical objects usually do.
I was introduced to a contact at Wildfire, a creative design agency that my company works with. I explained the idea, answered some questions, and got a (very reasonable) proposal back. Ultimately the project team decided against this experiment with this audience in this context. A big part of the decision was based on public discussions about the legitimacy of NFTs as a concept.
When I let my Wildfire contact know that we wouldn’t be proceeding with the project and why, I asked what they thought about NFTs. Here is what they told me.
NFTs are still relatively new. And with anything new, there are misconceptions and hesitations to adopt. Behind the sensationalized headlines about million dollar sales, NFTs present an opportunity to engage with your brand’s community and encourage collaboration by sharing ownership of something unique.
NFTs allow brands to forge a direct connection with their audience and grant them authenticated, unique brand status emblems. We can’t help but think of employees who proudly show off their company tattoos. We equate NFTs to that sort of brand pride for the meta verse…minus the needles and pain.
“NFTs are being used by artists and decentralized organizations to collaborate within their communities. Yet, brands are underutilizing the power of NFTs as a tool for collaboration and community building.” – AdAge
As this is a new tool, brands are still experimenting with how best to use them. They are typically used to either drive publicity or generate revenue. However, we think there is an opportunity to use them to help build an authentic community and foster open collaboration as a realization of your company’s values.
A good case study for how NFTs can be used to engage and foster community through minted characters is the One-Per-Day Nouns NFTs.
The main barriers for NFTs are the volatility of the marketplace and that the technology is not widely accessible to the general public.
Volatility: As this isn’t intended to be a revenue driving initiative, we wouldn’t consider this an impediment.
Accessibility: Given that you are operating in the tech space, there is actually an incentive to embrace emerging tech and use it in innovative ways.
Bottom line for your company and any brand: having a direct connection to your consumer is a good thing.
They said it better than me, and made me more confident that unique digital assets will find a place within communities building sustainable identity (over revenue) online.