What Adidas Got Right And Lamborghini Got Wrong: The Dos And Don'ts For Brands Wanting to Create NFTs

06 Jan, 2023

NFTs and the metaverse are enabling brands to engage with customers in a way that they have not been able to before. However, there are many potholes that brands need to avoid, as Ben Cowley, from web 3 strategy company, Canary Labs, explains.

NFTs represent a new frontier of customer-brand relationships. Each NFT is a touchpoint for brands and individuals to continually interact with each other. Now the world’s biggest brands are starting to explore this new, blockchain-based technology. Many have attempted and many have failed. Below is a high-level summary of elements that help create and sustain successful projects, as well as potholes to avoid damage to brand value or image.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, however…

Do:

Be consistent with your brand mission and identity. If this isn't the case, then you must question why you are experimenting with NFTs in the first place – because everybody else will! Consistency with your mission and identity ensures real meaning behind actions: it gives a project purpose and makes it genuine. For example, IWC’s NFT project embodies the brand image and mission perfectly and feels like a natural extension of their traditional business.

Create something that customers actually care about. This seems obvious but brands have made this mistake! If nobody cares about it, then it won’t have value. Without value there is no reason for anybody to engage with your NFTs. Liverpool Football Club produced animated characters as NFTs - football and anime presumably have low crossover! They flopped. 95% were unsold, the project was a disaster. It painted the club as amateur and uninformed, the exact opposite of what a professional sports club is.

Plan for the long term. NFTs are permanently stored on blockchain so are long term relationships! Many only plan for the first 6 months, get lost with no sense of direction and eventually flounder. The best projects are designed so that they can continue to deliver over many years. This is best achieved by focussing on something that is within existing business models and that teams can deliver day-in, day-out. NFTs are forever, mistakes are forever - so a full plan and support are recommended.

Building a community is key. NFT projects go beyond the transactional nature of selling to customers. Holders are stakeholders in projects, flag carriers, and brand ambassadors. To sustain this relationship, passionate and engaged community members are required. Communities have previously formed around brands, but are rarely stewarded and then sustained by the brands themselves.

Collaborate with other, already successful projects that are already established in the space can make the first steps easie. Adidas working with the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection rather than creating their own from scratch is a great example of this. It de-risks an initial collection and gives creators time to learn as much as possible before launching their own independent project.

Rimowa, the well-known suitcase company, made sure they added collectability to their NFT collection.

Don’t:

Low effort product - Brands should afford the same effort to an NFT collection that they would to a new product line or campaign. It embodies a brand’s mission and shows how you intend to continue that into the future - setting out your stall on the blockchain. Buyers are long term holders and projects are scrutinised in detail. This creates a very informed, very discerning buyer base who will uncover and shun low effort products.

Repeat an existing service. NFT technology offers the chance to create something unique. Aim to enhance and elevate your traditional customer experience rather than just recreate it in digital form. Rimowa added collectability and story to their NFT collection, something that is hard to deliver with a physical suitcase. Their NFT amplified their normal products, not just repeated it.

Overcomplicate the project or process. Reducing friction has been key for successful brands in traditional settings and the same is true here. Aim to make the purchase and ongoing interactions as smooth as possible. Simple projects with strong core missions have more impact than endless steps of complicated interactions. Lamborghini’s collection of multiple different NFTs that buyers had to put together in a puzzle, to then buy another NFT was too complex. And complexity often conceals a lack of real content or utility.

Canary Labs help brands navigate this new space and avoid errors that destroy value. We are NFT creators, collectors and investors. Get in touch to see how we can help

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