Calling the internet the “most trendy and oversold community” in 1995, Clifford Stoll wrote about how there was no way cyberspace would replace the basic features of human contact. This is how most people feel about ‘fads’ - they’re nifty, can create a bit of a niche “community”, and run on hype, but they have the lifespan of a blip. Long-term connection, communication, and commerce - how could you possibly replace the physicalities that controlled this stuff?
According to Stoll, you needed salespeople, you needed physical classrooms with teachers, and you needed to hold a book in your hand, not read off a screen for hours.
26 years later, and many online businesses, many virtual lectures and many, many e-books and news-sites later, Stoll’s miscalculated skepticism is proof that you just can’t write fads off.
Guess what else was considered a fad by 50% of Americans in 2012? Facebook.
Needless to say, there's a major advantage in being tech-savvy if you’re a consumer: you get more products from across the planet, the news of the world at your fingertips, and millions of games and entertainment at the tap of a button. Likewise, there’s major advantages for the business that jumps right in with technological innovation. Put away your skeptical spectacles, and look for your next opportunity in the internet’s newest fad: the world of NFTs.
Let’s break it down before moving forward - from sneakers, to pieces of art, to Jack Dorsey’s first tweet ever, there is a limitless pool of items you can now officially own...online. They exist on the web as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), which are unique little digital representations, crafted by individuals, groups, or companies, to sell to buyers who would be interested in owning them. These one-of-a-kind tokens provide a sticker of authenticity, personal value, and a connection between the buyer and the seller, all-the-while remaining a digital transaction for a digital, intangible item. It acts like a collector’s item, and you gain all the fulfilment and perks that go with that kind of purchase.
And who doesn’t like bragging rights over something they paid for against a sea of competing bids? There’s something to be said about revenue when it comes to NFTs, but to really make an impact with consumer engagement, you need to leverage what is outside the money-making possibility.
NFTs prove a general truth about consumers - they will commit to a brand and pay and partake in its activities online out of sheer loyalty. By centering a tactic around an NFT, you nurture that sense of loyalty, create presence on a new digital platform, increase the awareness of your brand to a newer sect of consumers, and are even in the position to collect consumer data. So exactly how do you do that?
- Auctions! If you are a brand that needs a new way to market its sales, consider holding an auction for a brand-created and owned NFT. Providing a discount, or sale agreement of x% for all who participate in bidding, can push even the eager, novice-techie in your consumer base to take part.
- Embedding privileges, memberships and more access for consumers within an NFT. They’re called tokens for a reason; think of a carnival. Playing games well earns you some tokens, and those tokens can then be used to buy any toy, any deal, anything you can get your hands on. In the same way, NFTs can attract your tech-savvy consumers into an upper hand advantage - passes for your events, early-notice on discounts, and access to deals and giveaways.
- Raising funds for a social cause through an NFT. It’s straightforward and yields you the opportunity to engage your consumers while making a conscious contribution. Sell an NFT to the highest bidder for an undertaking that needs everyone’s attention, and donate its proceeds.
There’s a youthfulness to the reputation of NFTs, but don’t let that prevent you from jumping right into it. Nothing to lose, but a business opportunity to experiment, with greater online exposure, new audiences and totally-novel customer experiences to gain. As we mentioned earlier, you just can’t write a fad off, and NFTs are no exception.
So, allow your business to be a product of the forward-thinking that has powered much of the development of the internet, which will be onto its next trend any day now. Leave behind hesitant nay-sayers who refuse themselves new possibilities; they’re no match for the tech-thirsty consumer, and the fresh, adaptable consumer brand.