The ascent of Web3 as the next frontier in internet development has become a consensus, and the question now arises: how will these traditional Web2 giants play with NFTs, the cornerstone of Web3?
Web3 has seen an influx of new players, with many brands that once battled in the Web2 arena now strategically positioning themselves in Web3. These seasoned Web2 brands, with their extensive experience, bring forth innovative marketing strategies upon entering Web3.
The increasing trend of Web2 brands entering Web3 can be attributed to several factors:
Rising Consumer Expectations for Personalization
Modern consumers are no longer satisfied with traditional goods and services; they seek personalized and unique experiences. NFTs, as representatives of digital assets, offer brands an excellent tool to achieve this level of personalization.
Building Genuine, Multidimensional Business Experiences through Ownership
Web3, built on blockchain technology, provides users with true ownership. This decentralized characteristic fosters diverse and highly interactive business experiences, deeply engaging users in a multidimensional manner.
Acknowledging Web3 as the upcoming trend in internet development, Web2 brands understand the necessity of seizing this opportunity. Web3 presents a unique chance for these brands to evolve and stay relevant in the ever-changing digital landscape.
Entering Web3 often starts with taking the first step, and for many, the preferred choice is through NFTs.
Web3 Gateway: NFT
NFT, as a crucial component of Web3 development, is considered the primary channel and vehicle for the future of the Web3 world. Several renowned brands have chosen NFT as the gateway to enter Web3, demonstrating its significance in this domain:
- Disney: Disney Pinnacle
In November 2023, Disney announced a collaboration with NFT IP development company Dapper Labs to launch the NFT platform "Disney Pinnacle." Iconic characters from Star Wars and Pixar studios will be presented in the form of NFTs.
- Starbucks: Odyssey Program
Starbucks launched the "Odyssey" initiative, utilizing NFTs to reshape its membership system and strengthen brand influence.
- Trip: Trekki NFT Project
Backed by Trip, the NFT project Trekki signifies not only owning a digital travel companion but also enjoying Trip coins, premium memberships, travel AI assistants, and other benefits.
From the current entry of Web2 brands into the news, it is evident that companies in the fast-moving consumer goods, content culture, and service sectors are actively embracing Web3 with a rapid response. Brands with native philosophies and audience alignment with Web3 culture, particularly those using NFT as an entry point, are more readily accepted.
- Ownership & Membership System Establishment
Granting users true ownership of digital assets, brands leverage NFTs to authenticate and safeguard their digital content or offer exclusive services to users. The tangible form of NFTs makes it easy for brands to construct user identity and loyalty systems.
- Uniqueness and Scarcity
The uniqueness and limited quantity of NFTs make users more receptive to and appreciative of these digital assets. This underscores and signifies the identity and status of each NFT holder, elevating user trust and a sense of belonging to the brand.
- Weak Financial Attributes of NFTs
Compared to other cryptographic assets, NFTs primarily function as digital collectibles with relatively weak financial attributes. This characteristic avoids compliance issues, making NFTs more widely accepted by a diverse user base.
- Brand Innovation and Trend Embrace
Introducing NFTs is not merely a business strategy but also a way for brands to demonstrate innovation and embrace new technologies and trends, showcasing their commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry.
NFT Marketing Strategies
Many industry giants have embraced Web3, starting with NFTs. How do they execute NFT marketing strategies?
- NFT & Philanthropy
Integrating NFTs with philanthropy not only showcases a brand's social responsibility but also establishes a positive image, resonating with core values tied to charitable causes. Associating NFT projects with specific social issues helps attract target audiences, and philanthropic actions often gain widespread media attention. Importantly, philanthropic NFT projects tend to navigate regulatory scrutiny more compliantly, providing brands with a safer marketing space.
Luxury skincare brand La Prairie collaborates with digital artist Carla Chan for its inaugural NFT art series, "Space Beyond." The NFTs, with 365+1 versions generated in real-time based on weather and population data, will be exhibited at FRIEZE in New York on May 18, with proceeds dedicated to glacier conservation worldwide.
- NFT & Metaverse
The application of NFTs in the metaverse is a common strategy in NFT marketing. The metaverse offers a virtual world that provides brands with a broader display space, making NFT presentations more vivid. Social interactivity creates additional avenues for NFT sharing and promotion among users. Furthermore, the metaverse opens up innovative possibilities for brands, allowing them to expand NFT applications through virtual events, exhibitions, and other formats, bringing more creativity and imaginative space to digital marketing.
Louis Vuitton introduces the commemorative game "Louis: The Game," featuring 30 NFT rewards, including 10 designs by digital artist Beeple.
- Cooperating with Native Web3 Entities
From the above examples of NFT marketing, it can be observed that many major players prefer to collaborate with native Web3 entities when designing NFTs. These entities can be individual digital artists or projects.
Trekki NFT, in order to expand its audience, launched a joint campaign with a Web3 growth platform. The benefits of collaborating with such platforms include:
Specialized Channels: The channels are highly vertical, providing access to the Web3 market.
Large User Base: Growth platforms have a substantial user base with a high level of awareness, reducing the need for extensive user education.
Diverse Gameplay Across User Lifecycle: Various gameplay options cover different stages of the user lifecycle, from acquiring users during the initial phase of the NFT project to user conversion and retention, accelerating the project's operational pace.
Trekki NFT, a project supported by a leading Web2 brand, has achieved tremendous success in the Web3 space, with a total issuance of 10,000 NFTs and a community subscription rate reaching 100%.
Collaborating with Web3 projects in marketing strategies facilitates convenient user participation in the NFT market, fostering broader dissemination of NFTs. Brands can leverage the technological innovations of Web3 projects to enhance NFTs with unique features and gameplay, ultimately enriching the user experience.
Challenges and Prospects
While major players entering Web3 through NFTs have achieved initial success, deeper marketing efforts have exposed some issues:
The NFT market is still in its early stages, lacking mature standards and regulations. Brands issuing NFTs often fail to implement long-term maintenance and empowerment plans, leading to the difficulty of sustaining the value and significance of NFTs. User interest and demand for NFTs may fluctuate over time, posing challenges to their circulation and usage.
Brands emphasize the identity and cultural aspects of NFTs over their financial attributes, causing users to perceive NFTs as symbolic and virtual rather than practical. This perception diminishes the social value and influence of NFTs.
While acknowledging the challenges in NFT marketing, it's undeniable that the strategies employed by Web2 brands entering Web3 have shown initial effectiveness. The integration of traditional brand marketing from the internet era with Web3 technology is gradually taking shape. Looking ahead, as more projects and users enter the space, the application scope of NFTs will expand, and initial marketing challenges will be addressed.
In this evolving marketing battleground that combines Web3, brands, and projects deeply immersed in the field are actively exploring alternative marketing approaches to enhance market share. For projects outside this landscape, leveraging the marketing methods discussed earlier could be a strategic move, seizing opportunities before the marketing battlefield expands and securing a position.