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How NFTs Play a Role in Corporate Brands

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Hannah Scherwatzky / ONE37pm

Many corporate brands are starting to utilize NFTs in their business strategy, and we are beginning to see how NFTs either positively affect a brand's reputation or negatively impact the brand. So, how do NFTs play a role in the corporate world?

“Just Do It.” “I’m Lovin’ It.” “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

You know who I’m talking about without naming the organization. A simple slogan is powerful enough to convey a clear connection to a corporation and communicates with us information about this brand.

“Just Do It” is more than a fitness encouragement from Nike; it is a trigger in our minds that Nike sells clothing and equipment engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes. 

“The Happiest Place on Earth” calls Disneyland to mind, but more than that, it makes us want to go experience Disneyland because we trust and believe going there will make us happy.

The words “I’m Lovin’ It” motivate me to drive to the golden arches because I know a tasty burger and fries are waiting for me (especially late-night).

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It is not just the mental bridge between slogan and company that matters. It is the belief that the company can deliver on its word.

If executed well, a simple phrase and a jingle can spark belief and spring us to action for buying a burger or booking a trip. This is the power of a positive brand. Brand is communicated to us through many avenues. 

Why do I trust and believe that Nike, Disney, and Mcdonald's will deliver a quality service? The following is an inexhaustive list of ways we shape our thoughts about a company and its brand:

  • Atmosphere and perceived culture of the store or website
  • Quality of the product or service
  • Credible opinions of others
  • News about the company
  • Personal interactions with company representatives
  • Company advertisements
  • Comparisons with other companies we’ve experienced

Our trust is built through many factors, and it is also built over time. My grandma used to say to me, “Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets.”

We may require several positive promptings before we’re willing to give a company a try, and then several more before we’re won over by a brand. However, it usually only takes one bad experience or story for us to cut a brand cold turkey.

Building a strong positive brand is one of the most important things a company can do and should be a priority for any company. But, how do NFTs play a role in the corporate world?

How do NFTs affect corporate brands?

Corporate brand and NFTs
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In 2022, NFTs are following a similar meteoric rise as the network effect seems to show a familiar adoption rate as social media. NFTs have become a new way for corporations to engage their supporters, form defined groups, and create new revenue streams.

NFT ownership and engagement has skyrocketed in the last year, and there are no signs of slowing down as more and more prominent corporations and retail investors begin collecting and launching their own genesis NFT projects. Many have compared this boom to the social media spike in the 2010s.

Over the course of that decade, we saw Twitter become a nascent idea where people questioned “Who wants to read my personal thoughts,” to becoming the matured melting pot for thought leaders and everyday folks to exchange ideas (and memes), while also mounting into the central hub for the geopolitical landscape and corporate communications.

Twitter, and other social media platforms, have become a conduit for non-stop, highly strategic branding. And now something similar is happening with NFTs.

How corporate brands are utilizing NFTs

NFT corporate branding
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NFTs are a way for thoughtful brands to rapidly make a splash in their respective sector and cultivate a mass following in a short period of time, and allow corporations to reward their most attentive supporters through limited-edition access and utility.

Furthermore, NFTs might also affect brands negatively because of their short-term focus, extractive behavior, greed, and a lack of understanding of the technology and use cases that prevents a successful project execution.

Some companies will use NFTs to create communities within their supporters, defined by the advantages of holding a certain token. If an NFT allows for discounts, meetings with executives, additional physical products shipped, or digital products airdropped, the token will be more highly coveted and, as a result, may increase in price.

The ability to effectively deliver value through the streams of communication that NFTs offer will grow a brand’s reputation and prominence. The inability to effectively deliver value to customers and believers who buy tokens and invest in the community will hurt corporate brands.

If done effectively, the brand is spread and strengthened. If executed ineffectively, the brand is spread and harmed. NFTs currently have an outsized (and growing) level of attention that there is certainly the spotlight will shine bright on corporations who enter the space – for better or worse.

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Many see NFTs today and doubt their longevity, believe they have no place or compare them to a pyramid scheme. Simply put, NFTs are the newest in a long line of tools to be utilized by companies for the positive advancement of their corporate brand and reputation.

As corporations begin to launch NFT projects, it will become clear which companies do so in an intentional way that brings real value to their customers, and which companies squander the opportunity by releasing an NFT project that offers little to no actual value.

The organizations that release a quality project will further their brand using the contextual technology of our day, and the companies who poorly execute their NFT project will be forced to spend time rebuilding their brand and reengaging their disgruntled customer base.

It may be hard to believe, but I am certain we will see several blue-chip or Fortune 500 organizations severely botch their first NFT project by chasing the short-term dollar signs.

More than NFTs are a way to create cash, they are a vessel through which to distribute a trustworthy brand. And trust is lost in buckets.

- Mark Osis, Blockchain and Digital Assets Consultant, Deloitte

This will have negative ramifications and ripple effects throughout their whole business. For your sake and mine, reader, I hope we avoid purchasing those NFTs, and I really hope we avoid creating those NFTs.

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