‘Customer loyalty’ is not just a buzzy brand phrase better relegated to board presentations. Driving customer loyalty is a big factor in a business’ success, from increasing revenue to creating a secondary base of brand ambassadors who will recommend your brand to other potential customers. At a time when every brand manager and strategist is racing to find the next big way to make their brand an intrinsic part of a customer’s life, NFTs have been largely ignored.
Read on for examples of how you can use NFTs to increase customer loyalty, retention, and create an online brand community.
One of the most effective ways to drive customer loyalty with NFTs is by offering exclusive experiences. This can be in the form of rewards for customers who engage with the brand or use its service enough times to qualify for exclusive content. It could also mean offering invitations to closed special events, or creating immersive online experiences using virtual reality or augmented reality, micro-sites with previously unseen story-telling or world-building, and so much more. Imagine you work for a popular movie franchise trying to stay relevant and keep fans interested: using NFTs can reward them with access to behind-the-scenes content or cut-scenes that make them feel special.
In 2021, Coca-Cola launched a 'Coca-Cola Friendship Box' NFT collection, inspired by vending machines. Inside the box there were 3 unique NFTs: a branded bubble jacket, a sound visualizer (such as the sound of a bottle opening or a beverage being poured over ice), and friendship card inspired by the collectible trading cards launched by Coca-Cola in the 1940s. The boxes included additional prizes to be unveiled when opened. These assets could be worn within the virtual world Decentraland—a 3D browser-based virtual world—where Coca-Cola was also going to be hosting a 'Rooftop Party'. By tying their first-ever launch of NFTs to International Friendship Day, the company found a way to forge a deeper connection innovatively with its community. Then, to further take this forward, they ensured that proceeds from the auction would go towards the Special Olympics, the world's largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities.
Customers are used to branded contests, interactive apps, even filter-based mini-games on social media. Where there is gamification, there is increased time spent and higher brand recall and preference. With NFTs, you can upgrade the experience by providing incentives for the completion of certain tasks or meeting milestones. You can create exclusive avatars to represent higher levels or tiers, add in-game rewards or even simulate an online digital treasure hunt where every successive clue is unlocked only by verifying ownership through NFTs.
In 2021, Louis Vuitton launched ‘Louis: The Game’. It featured a virtual character named Vivienne and players had to help her navigate through a virtual world to collect exclusive NFT postcards. The primary quest of the game was to find a sixteen-page manuscript in the first level, then to collect up to 200 candles in the second level to celebrate the brand's 200th anniversary. The candles represented the founding and history of the iconic fashion house. For added incentive, players who reached a certain level in the game could enter a raffle. The game was released with seven fantasy locations inspired by real-life fashion cities like London, Paris, and Munich and was eventually expanded to include two new locations, challenges, and 10 new NFTs featuring Vivienne in different looks, created in collaboration with famous NFT designers Mike Winkelmann, Wenew Labs, and Beeple.
When everything is digital and rapidly changing, it’s hard for customers to feel connected in today’s world with other members of the community. As every brand clamours for their attention, it helps when there are brands that offer personalised experiences which can be more memorable and connect to each customer beyond what ‘everyone else’ gets. For example, personalised menus for loyal customers of chains or personalised offers for customers who have a membership at a specific store.
In 2022, Nike CryptoKicks launched through digital fashion brand RTFKT Studios (which Nike owns). CryptoKicks was basically a collection of customisable NFT sneakers. They followed this up with the launch of CryptoKicks iRL, which was a customisable sneaker collection that could be converted to physical custom sneakers for people to buy. Only 19,000 pairs were available to be sold as digital collectives with physical counterparts, making the ownership of one of these pairs extremely difficult… and therefore more valuable.
Give customers something everyone’s chasing: clout. The best way to make a customer feel special is to give them the ability to show off that they are. This can be done by giving them access: for tech companies, it could mean testing new products, games or software earlier than everyone else. For fashion labels, it could mean tickets to fashion shows or events. All of this is unlocked with the specialised NFTs your brand provides, of course.
Gucci launched virtual luxury footwear in 2021 with exclusive sneakers called 'The Gucci Virtual 25', which could be worn in AR or used in partnered apps like Roblox or VRChat. They were designed by Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele and featured a chunky, neon green and pink look. Most importantly, like all Gucci clothing, the shoes bore the iconic 'GG' logo on the sole of the shoe and its tongue. The 'Gucci Sneaker Garage', Gucci's section of its digital app, also granted gamers the chance to customise their shoes, tweaking, hybridising and combining elements of the existing design to create their own personal style. By partnering with Roblox and VRChat, they gave people the ability to show off character, style and ownership.
What's Our Conclusion?
NFTs can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to drive customer loyalty. For small businesses, harnessing the power of NFTs is a chance to strengthen a customer base without spreading themselves too thin to compete with the marketing budgets of big brands. For enterprises, it means using next-generation technology to create scalable and seamless systems that give a competitive edge. With services like The Blue Marble, it’s easy to create these deeper connections to take your brand to the next level.
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