As we step into a new era of the internet, brands are seeking innovative ways to engage with their audiences. The emergence of Web3 has provided a fresh perspective for businesses, and many traditional brands are now looking to launch Web3 projects. These projects leverage the power of blockchain technology, smart contracts, and NFTs to create a unique and immersive experience for their customers.
In this blog post, we draw on our research into 266 brands to outline the most ten compelling reasons why brands launched web3 projects in 2022. Whether you're a Web3 native or part of a brand marketing team, this post will provide valuable insights into this exciting new space.
In 2022, 133 brands launched web3 projects to deliver unique experiences for their customers. From immersive virtual metaverse experiences to rewarding loyal customers who hold NFTs with unique physical experiences like exclusive tours or one-in-a-lifetime brand experiences, brands are using web3 technology to create personalized and unforgettable moments for their customers. By embracing the blockchain and other web3 technologies, brands can connect with customers on a deeper level and offer them experiences that are not available anywhere else.
Barcelona: Barcelona’s ‘In a Way, Immortal’ NFT depicting Johan Cruyff’s iconic 1973 goal against Atlético Madrid sold for $693,000. The winner got exclusive Club-based benefits and experiences that money can’t buy, including visits to La Masia (Barcelona’s renowned Youth Academy), hospitality rights for five years, rights to play at Spotify Camp Nou (Barça’s stadium), and an official ball handover.
126 of the brands that launched web3 projects did so to engage their existing customer base. Interestingly, web3 has been used more heavily as a tool to engage existing customers rather than onboard new ones. This is especially true for NFTs, which are often used by brands in a loyalty setting. Sports brands, in particular, have been quick to adopt web3 for customer (or fan) engagement, with 90% using it for this purpose.
Hublot: Hublot used NFTs to identify superfans and offer them exclusive access to products and rewards. The brand released 12 NFTs which were each redeemable for a limited-edition luxury watch. Only purchasers of previous Hublot collections were able to buy one of the 12 NFTs. Hublot also released a 12th NFT, which could only be purchased if an individual collected all 12 of the other NFTs.
English Premier League: The EPL partnered with digital collectibles platform, Sorare, to release licensed digital collectibles which can be used by football fans in Sorare’s fantasy-style trading game.
Repurposing archived intellectual property (IP) is the third most common reason why brands are launching web3 projects. 73 brands have already done so, particularly among sports and media/entertainment brands with rich IP. This approach allows brands to resurrect and monetize old assets by releasing licensed collectible NFTs for customers and fans. It's no surprise that 56% of sports brands and 49% of media/entertainment brands have embraced this strategy.
Nickelodeon: Nickelodeon upcycled their previously popular, but now discontinued Rugrats and Hey Arnold! TV shows to create a unique collectible trading experience. Fans could collect NFTs and combine the characters from the two shows into a single mashup NFT. IP that Nickelodeon had sitting in a drawer has now been leveraged to create revenue for the brand, and the nineties live on. Win-win.
Web3 has become a popular choice for brands looking to advertise, with 64 brands utilizing the technology for this purpose. Retail brands lead the pack, accounting for 29% of these projects. The metaverse has emerged as the preferred technology for brands interested in promotion or advertisement, as it allows them to connect with a broader audience and new demographics at a low cost. While NFTs are often targeted at existing loyal customers with a high price tag, brand metaverse attractions are open for everyone to visit for free.
Prada: Prada recently launched it’s 38th physical Timecapsule collection, alongside an NFT drop. Purchasers of physical items received NFTs with the same traits. The NFTs also act as a membership pass to the exclusive Prada Crypted NFT community.
NFTs have emerged as a popular e-commerce tool for brands, with 64 of them experimenting with this technology. Retail brands lead the pack, with 26% of them launching NFT projects for this purpose. Many of these brands have gamified the purchasing experience, creating an immersive and playful journey for customers. This trend is not limited to web3, as gamification has become popular in various industries. However, it has extended to web3, where many brands are leveraging it to enhance the commerce experience.
Puma: Puma released “Nitropass” NFTs which were redeemable for physical Puma Fastroid or NFRNO shoes. Nitropass NFT owners entered Puma’s own Black Station metaverse to burn (destroy) their NFT for a separate “Materializer” NFT, which had their shoe size and style choice in its metadata. They also got a “Nitro Collection” NFT, which acted as an access ticket and utility for “Project Nitro.”
Rimowa: LVMH’s Rimowa partnered with RTFKT to release 888 NFTs which were redeemable for limited-edition suitcases. Individuals had to embark on a quest to the RIMOWA x RTFKT Space Station on OnCyber to uncover the limited-edition collection of NFTs and a physical suitcase.
45 brands launched web3 projects in celebration of events. A variety of different sectors did this, usually for marketing purposes.
Reddit: Reddit released free NFL-themed digital avatars to celebrate the Super Bowl and provide fans another way to support their favorite teams. Reddit just released its latest GEN3 Avatar collection, which has been a big success so far.
Warner Bros: Warner Bros celebrated its 100-year anniversary with NFTs. Warner Bros remastered 4K versions of its most iconic films in 5-film bundles. Purchasers of bundles also received NFT collectibles for certain movies.
The 7th most popular reason why brands launched web3 projects was to roll out a web3 business. In 2022, 40 brands launched web3 businesses, with technology, sports, and retail brands being the most active in this area. This is an encouraging sign that brands are taking web3 seriously and committing to it for the long term. By launching web3 business arms, releasing products to service the industry, or launching web3 infrastructure, brands are signaling their belief in the potential of web3 and their commitment to being a part of its growth.
Atari: Atari launched Atari X, an initiative that consolidates all of its blockchain interests into a unified operation. The fundamental goal of Atari X is to create a robust blockchain ecosystem that seamlessly integrates community, gaming, and utility.
GameStop: Gamestop launched its NFT marketplace to allow gamers, creators, collectors, and other community members to buy and sell NFTs. The marketplace was launched in partnership with layer-2 scaling solution Immutable X.
25 brands released NFT membership clubs in 2022. Retail brands, in particular, have taken a liking to this trend, with 14% of retail brands launching their own NFT membership programs. Tokenizing membership as an NFT and enabling trading on secondary markets creates an additional revenue stream for the brand via royalty fees. Customers can also benefit from this new system, as they have the opportunity to recoup a portion of or even profit from the resale of their membership NFT, rather than paying expensive membership fees with no chance of remuneration.
Liquid Death: The NFT holders in Liquid Death's Murder Heads Death Club get exclusive perks such as lifetime discounts, exclusive merchandise, and VIP access to events. The club is aimed at building a community of Liquid Death fans and rewarding their loyalty with unique experiences and benefits.
GQ: GQ released NFT access passes for its GQ3 Members Club. NFT holders can access members-only events, and alpha in the Discord, exclusive content from GQ only visible to token holders, first-in-line access to future drops, and more.
22 brands used NFTs to reward physical purchasing. Brands can incentivize or reward loyalty by providing purchasers of physical products or services with NFT collectibles, or NFTs that recognize and reward their loyalty to the brand. This can help to drive sales & further engagement.
Alo Yoga: Alo Yoga recently launched digital twin NFTs to reward purchasers the brand’s Aspen line, released last autumn, with free NFTs that unlock exclusive real-world benefits. The move is part of the brand’s strategy to digitize its loyalty program.
Asics: Purchasers of the Asics x Solana UI sneakers were rewarded with NFTs which acted as raffle tickets, qualifying purchasers for an airdrop of up to 1,001 ASICS x STEPN NFTs to a random selection of NFT holders. The ASICS x STEPN NFTs have utility in the STEPN move-to-earn game and were valued at hundreds of dollars at the time.
The 10th most popular reason for brands to launch web3 projects was to experiment with metaverse e-commerce.18 brands, mostly in the retail sector, sold physical products in the metaverse in 2022. With AR/VR technology, the metaverse aims to combine the benefits of in-store commerce with the convenience of e-commerce. It will take some time before metaverse e-commerce can truly combine the best of both worlds. Nonetheless, it is positive to see brands experimenting with more immersive shopping experiences.
Clinique: Clinique launched a metaverse e-commerce platform, Clinique Lab, which acts as a digital environment in which customers can learn about the brand, speak with Clinique consultants, and browse and purchase products.
Lacoste: Lacoste launched a virtual store in partnership with Emperia, a platform that designs virtual reality (VR) experiences for retail and fashion brands. The store included a showroom featuring five seasonal products. A second room includes games centered around Christmas products from Lacoste. Lacoste’s virtual store included a VIP room only accessible to UNDW3 NFT holders.
In conclusion, brands are increasingly launching web3 projects to leverage blockchain technology and NFTs to deliver unique experiences for their customers, engage their existing customer base, repurpose archived IP, advertise, and sell physical products. By embracing web3 technologies, brands can connect with customers on a deeper level and offer them experiences that are not available anywhere else. If you're interested in learning more about brands' web3 projects, check out our full report covering 315 brands' web3 projects since the beginning of 2022 to Q1 2023 via this link: link.nfttech.com/web3-report
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