Brands have been quick to jump on NFTs as a way to engage with their customers, but with every NFT launch that is considered a success there are headlines about NFT failures, such as Porsche’s NFT launch, which failed to see many of its tokens minted and resulted in the brand cutting the project short. While in 2021–2022 governments and brands jumped onto the NFT bandwagon, by spring 2023 they had started rolling back on this.
‘The biggest mistake we see in brand NFT strategies today is creating a pay-to-play experience that becomes centred around speculation,’ says Basri. ‘When was the last time you paid to be part of a loyalty programme in Web2? This sort of strategy only tends to alienate a brand’s most loyal customers, who end up feeling like they are being asked to pay over and above what they already spend at the brand to put them on an equal footing with the speculators who decide to purchase the NFT.’
He sees the potential in NFTs because they essentially act as ‘digital property rights’. This means they can act as a blank slate for whatever value a brand wants to give them. He argues that the strongest NFT loyalty programmes won’t be focused on paid digital assets, but will be ‘centred around earned assets that unlock deserved benefits for power customers’. Think of Starbucks’ Odyssey programme, where users collect journey stamps (which are NFTs) through various activities, such as purchasing a new drink. As they collect stamps, more rewards are unlocked.
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