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Non-fungible tokens as a measure for brand awareness
May 10, 2021
The NFT craze is rolling through the world like no one's business. Right now, it looks like a costly gimmick, a passing trend that is generating a lot of buzz. The general consensus says that NFTs will soon die off and leave some people richer and others poorer, with useless digital art in their non-disposal. But just like with the Dot Com bubble, after it burst, companies like Microsoft rose from the ashes, capitalizing on actually useful aspects of the digital market. Perhaps the same fate awaits the NFTs? Maybe. And marketing can be one of these useful aspects.
At a glance: NFT - or non-fungible token - is a secure, blockchain-based record of a piece of digital media. The word "non-fungible" is doing the heavy lifting here. Used in economics, "fungible" means the value of the item in question is completely interchangeable. For example, if you receive $40 in two $20 bills or four $10 bills - you won't care. The bill doesn't matter - only its value. The opposite of that are the NFTs. The tokens purchased are non-fungible, meaning that they cannot be replaced and are unique. Once you purchase an NFT, you own that unique token and cannot replace it, even with one of the same value.
Taking what we know about NFTs, let's dive into how brands are embracing this craze and capitalizing on it.
NBA Top Shots - a blockchain-based platform, allowing fans to purchase NFTs of video highlights, recording the best moments in basketball. Like trading cards, NFTs are unique and can be collected, selling for as much as $100,000 apiece. For example, a highlight of LeBron James dunking has sold for $71,000. NBA Top Shots are what I would call a classic brand getting with the times.
Taco Bell - the restaurant chain has issued a five-piece collection of digital taco art, up for grabs as NFTs. They sold out within half an hour. But Taco Bell took this marketing campaign a step further and donated the proceeds from NFT purchases to the Taco Bell Foundation, supporting children's education. Modern trend plus an altruistic step - a brilliant marketing move.
Charmin - after every taco, toilet paper becomes indispensible. Yes, you read that right. Charmin, the toilet paper brand, has launched the NFTP campaign - a set of digital toilet paper art, otherwise known as the Non-Fungible Toilet Paper. Yet another five-piece NFT collection and yet another donation campaign. Is this a start of a trend?
Brand awareness has been notoriously difficult to measure in concrete metrics. Instead of tracking brand impressions, website traffic, engagement or share of voice, brands could opt for evaluating the brand awareness by the value of NFTs sold.
For example, a brand would release an expensive, one-of-the-kind video ad and put it up for auction in pieces as an NFT. The value of the NFTs sold would contribute to the total brand awareness, growing with each new ad release and auction. This type of auctioning can also measure direct customer interaction and engagement - yet another metric, contributing to brand awareness.
NFTs are showing clear signs of a bubble, but they're also here to stay and evolve. Insider shows a clear indication that company executives think blockchain technology is here to stay. In 2020, 88% of worldwide execs expect blockchain to be in mainstream adoption. And 86% of them think there are compelling reasons to use this tech in their business. I'm not exactly sure NFTs were what they had in mind.
However, marketing efforts have notoriously been difficult to measure. This is true in every field that requires equal amounts of data analysis and creativity. Now with NFTs, there's a way to measure the brand value in monetary terms and direct consumer engagement. While a radical thought, I wonder how many companies will actually go down this route.