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4 key strategies for NFT brand launches

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4 key strategies for NFT brand launches


Marketers understand the value in implementing new technology like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to launch campaigns, especially to pull in younger audiences. But there are also risks to venturing out in uncharted waters. They have to know what they’re doing, and with NFTs the game plan isn’t well-known.

NFTs using blockchain technology have caught fire in the last year, inspiring big brands like Taco Bell and Burger King.

Read more: How marketers will use blockchain technology and NFTs in 2022

Luxury brand Balmain recently teamed up with Mattel’s iconic Barbie to promote a new clothing line and to auction off Balmain x Barbie NFTs.

The tech partner behind these NFTs is L.A.-based studio MintNFT, and their founder and CEO James Sun recently shared his playbook for marketers looking to get in on these digital collectibles.

Sun has experience in software engineering, CRM implementation and data-driven marketing at such companies as Intel and Deloitte. He outlined four strategies that every marketer should develop when they put together an NFT brand initiative.

According to Sun, marketers need to firm up their goals, develop the right creative look and decide on the right technology for their NFT drop. They also need to think about any longer-term plans for the life of their NFTs, and shore those up ahead of time.

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Determine goals for your brand’s NFT campaign

“Marketers have to think about goals first,” said Sun. “Do they expect the NFT to drive revenue? Are they bringing market awareness to a new audience?”

The goals for the NFT initiative also have to be tied to what the brand knows about their customers. Marketers have to be precise about the audience they intend to reach and make sure the technology fits the customers they intend to serve.


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For instance, if the campaign is tied to a gaming environment like Roblox, will their customers follow them there, or will they lose some or most of their audience?

Marketers need to weigh this audience engagement and experience against goals they think will be a benefit from their NFT, like impressing consumers with the “cool factor” of using new technology.

Create a message around the NFT and make it visual

“Next, what is that creative branding and messaging for the campaign going to look like?” Sun asked. “Because NFTs are visual by nature, what kind of campaign will it be?”

NFTs can help introduce a new logo, or a new product launch, said Sun.

In the case of the Balmain x Barbie Limited Edition, the NFTs incorporated visual elements from high fashion and the iconic toy line. This made the NFT campaign playful, especially in its use of pink clothing items, both in the characters depicted in the NFTs, and modeled in the clothing line for actual items that customers could buy.

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Partnerships are an important element in the campaign message, and it doesn’t just have to be two brands like Balmain and Mattel. Marketers can also consider teaming up with nonprofits or individual artists to add another dimension to the campaign. Last year, San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay launched NFTs that attracted bidders interested in supporting sea life and the environment, for instance.

Select the right technology partner

Marketers need to select a blockchain partner that is easy for customers to use, especially since adoption of NFTs is still gaining.

“What I saw when NFTs were gaining popularity in the art community and cryptocurrencies was an interesting use case for large brands,” Sun explained. “They had the ability to get to the masses, and NFTs had a very interesting property called ownership. However you define ownership, your name and wallet are attached to that piece of blockchain forever.”

He added, “Most of the Internet doesn’t provide that today. This makes NFTs a cool tool for brands.”

With this in mind, marketers need to select a brand-friendly partner.

“You have to find a platform that is very brand-friendly and also is easy for the brand’s customers to use and engage with,” Sun said.

Decide what happens after the NFT debuts

Make sure you decide what happens after the NFT, but make up your mind ahead of time through careful planning.

“Decide what happens in terms of customers using the NFT,” said Sun. “Is this for a loyalty program? Is it a metaverse play?”

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The next engagement could be another NFT, or it could live on in a virtual environment.

“You could use the technology by adding an interesting utility when it goes into Fortnite,” Sun suggested. For instance, the owner of the NFT could show it off with an extra power in the game. It could make a player fly, as an example.

“The NFT scene is so nascent – some brands dipped their toes in, and some succeeded and some didn’t,” Sun said. “I believe that a holistic way is looking at the NFT, and, before creative is finalized, consider what the NFT and the brand will do after the launch.”

He added, “Launching NFT campaigns through collaborations with artists and other brands has the potential to engage consumers in a deeper, stickier way. It gives them a sense of ownership of the brand and can turn all these fans into more mature customers of the brand.”


About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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MARKETING

How marketers are preparing for the future of in-game ads

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Gen Z metaverse users are more trusting and willing to spend

As the IAB rolls out new ad standards for gaming, marketers at brands and agencies are preparing for the future of in-game ads. That’s because more consumers than ever identify as gamers (up to three billion globally), and with new technology and gaming experiences, they’re more reachable by brands.

One sign of how the landscape is changing, adtech companies like Anzu are partnering with publishers to provide dynamic ad placements in-game. This allows brands who don’t have a comprehensive gaming strategy to test and learn, and also to incorporate gaming into a broader omnichannel media strategy.

But the sheer size of the gaming audience – over 200 million gamers in the US alone – means marketers who get more involved can produce greater returns by tapping into this engaged population.

Lead with brand strategy. Partnerships between game publishers and adtech companies are making it easier for brands to find their audiences in-game. Brands don’t have to speculate as much about if their customers are playing specific games. And if a brand’s customers are already playing the game, marketers should dive in, too.

“We don’t necessarily have a gaming strategy,” said Paul Mascali, head of games and esports for PepsiCo. “We have a brand strategy that gaming can help. We do this by leveraging data with third parties or internal data to reach those consumers who are consuming the content.”

Read next: PepsiCo’s strategies for marketing via online games and esports

Understanding the community. Also, brands should be consistent and show that they’re invested in the gaming community, Mascali said.

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That’s because the gaming community – or, more specifically, the communities built around specific games – are multi-faceted.

For instance, gamers aren’t just plugged into the gameplay. They soak in the culture around the games on streaming platforms like Twitch. But just because videogame fans are passively watching another expert player on a streaming video doesn’t mean they’re not engaged and listening attentively.

“Twitch streamers are a great example of modern day gamers,” said Sarah Ioos, head of sales for the Americas at Twitch. “Non-gaming content has erupted — it doubled during the pandemic in year one. Gamers are not a monolith, they’re multifaceted. We see Twitch streamers bringing more of their whole self into their streaming.”

More lifestyle categories. As PepsiCo has demonstrated, there is a natural crossover between gaming and sports, which leads to traditional sports categories like beverages and snacks.

During the pandemic, when everybody, including gamers, were shut in, gaming content expanded. Gamers were sharing more about their lifestyles, including exercise routines, cooking, fashion and other interests.

This holistic perspective on gamers opens up more opportunities for brands that want to connect with Gen Z and Millennial consumers.


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Many touchpoints. Another interesting aspect about Twitch is that desktop is still the preferred device for their audience, according to Ioos.

Consumers are engaging with gaming content on many different devices and in different contexts, and this allows marketers to finetune their mix. If hardcore gamers and Twitch watchers are on desktops at the home, other more liesure gamers might be playing on mobile while commuting or shopping.

Why we care. All of this means that the strategy has flipped for marketers. Instead of finding a subset of gamers within their audience, they can now look across the billions of gamers and find their audience and subsegments.

Addressability for in-game advertising is still in the early stages, but now there are more opportunities, according to Keith Soljacich, head of innovation at agency Publicis Media.

“More data means more actionable places to find our audiences,” said Soljacich. “[Publishers and tech partners] are building that intelligence for audiences at the same time that opportunities are becoming available to us as marketers.”

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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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