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The WTF of NFTs for Brands & Marketers

June 6, 2022

Hothouse recently had the pleasure of hosting the AMA Atlanta’s Innovation Marketing event, entitled “The WTF of NFTs for Brands & Marketers”. In addition to the discussion around a relevant and evolving topic, it was our first in-person event in over 2 years! The opportunity to network in our new office space and see people in-person was energizing.  

Technologist Aaron Neal, Founder x CEO of Colony XIII moderated the event, which included panelists Matt McElroy, Sr. Director, Growth & Innovation (Blockchain/NFT) and Digital League Streaming at Turner Sports and JD Doughney, Global Director at Meta. Here are our top takeaways from the lively conversation: 

The NFT ecosystem is still very much in its infancy. 

We’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be done with NFTs. While they are being used in Art, Sports, Gaming, Collectibles and the Metaverse, over 80% of people are still not aware or interested in them. We are just starting to understand and imagine the ways they will be used by brands in the future. 

It’s all about Community. 

Web3 is all about decentralization, and with NFTs, it’s communities that create and power experiences. “As brands consider entering this space, how do we create community, how do we foster community and how do we empower the community?” asks McElroy. Ask yourself what types of experiences are right for your brand. How can you enable communities engaged with your brand to have ownership and say in the things that happen? 

Barriers to entry are still strong, but surmountable. 

While the back-end technology is emerging that will allow marketers to scale, one of the biggest barriers to entry is the consumer experience – the average consumer does not have the knowledge or understanding they need to go in and get an NFT, and the user interface isn’t where it needs to be to make it easy for them. As such, education will go a long way. “People do like to learn” says Doughney. “If you hold their hand and show them, in a trusted way, how to engage in this space, they will remember that.” 

Don’t be afraid to try it. 

Many of the bigger brands using NFTs today have authority, credibility and have been able to spend money to figure it out on blockchain. But that doesn’t mean that these brands are experts at it or that your brand shouldn’t try it. “You’ve got to get into the game. You cannot win at it if you don’t try” says Doughney. He also suggests that if you don’t experiment with things like opening a wallet, buying Etherium, or minting an NFT personally, you won’t fully learn it. As a business, you need someone who is knowledgeable.   

According to McElroy, “we already spend so much time on digital devices. There’s no reason the things that bring us value in the physical world can’t bring us value in the digital world.” Doughney adds, “ultimately, people are still people, business is still business and marketing is still marketing. If you understand your customers, understand your products and services, and know what value you have to offer, then you can learn the technology, adapt to the consumer behavior and create added value in the new world in new ways.”  

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