Communities are an excellent way to build customer loyalty and increase engagement. In this post, we explore, what an NFT community is, where they meet, and why people join them.
NFT collections don't get noticed by chance. Behind most successful NFT projects lies an engaged NFT community.
An NFT community is a group of people who share a common interest in an NFT project or brand. Typically, individuals within the NFT community either hold NFTs from your brand’s collection or eagerly anticipate an NFT collection you’re about to launch.
A few notable projects with dedicated communities include:
- Dolce & Gabbana - The brand’s debut NFT collection, Collezione Genesi, was quickly followed by the launch of the #DGFamily community – a community of people who are “united by shared passion and values.”
- Starbucks - The Starbucks Odyssey program was created in 2022 to “transcend the foundational benefits” of its original customer loyalty program. The Odyssey program offers its members the ability to earn, buy, and trade journey stamps (NFTs) that unlock rewards and immersive coffee experiences. With over 30 million members, the Odyssey program is regarded as one of the most successful loyalty programs in the world.
- Adidas - The Into the Metaverse NFT collection was launched to help evolve Adidas’ original customer loyalty program. The initial drop of 30,000 NFTs generated around US$22 million in sales, thanks to the brand’s partnership with OG NFT communities like Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Why should brands prioritize community building?
Community complements customer loyalty like popcorn does movies.
Brand communities inspire customers to actively engage with their frequently purchased brands, addressing many of the challenges that traditional marketing struggles to overcome.
In the digital age, social isolation and disconnection are rife, making it increasingly hard to form meaningful connections. But brands have a unique opportunity to bridge this gap by creating online spaces that prioritize digital interactions, enabling customers to connect and feel a sense of belonging.
Studies suggest that above fame and fortune, humans desire belonging and connection with one another. Fostering a positive community space related to your brand helps customers associate connectivity and belonging with you.
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: For a brand community to work, it’s got to be a supportive, helpful, friendly space. Gatekeeping, bullying, and other negative behavior have no place in a community.
Where do NFT community members meet?
Typically, NFT communities collaborate on a social platform like Twitter, Discord, LinkedIn, or Slack. The right platform for your community will depend on who your audience is. You’ll want to meet them where they are.
Why do people join NFT communities?
With communities being so beneficial to you and your marketing, it begs the question: what is the incentive for a person to join? What’s in it for them?
An incentive typically takes the form of a loyalty program where community members get exclusive benefits like brand-specific merchandise or early access to events. These rewards don’t replace your brand’s product or service. Instead, they enhance one of your brand advocate’s experiences in a unique way. (Here are 12 ways to reward your customer without discounts and points.)
Think of it as a mutually beneficial relationship. Rewarding customer loyalty maintains their interest and active engagement with your brand. Everyone is happy. NFTs are an excellent medium for gating access to exclusive community spaces and distributing rewards to token holders.
Here are a few examples of what a rewards program can achieve:
- Improve customer retention
- Fastrack customer acquisition
- Collect better customer data for future marketing efforts
- Create emotional loyalty among community members
- Improve brand awareness across the broader NFT landscape
- Create more sales and revenue for the NFT collection
The possibilities of NFTs
NFT communities don’t always stem from established brands. For instance, the Ethereum-based NFT, Legendary Racers, offers its members a variety of reward benefits for buying in. This includes access to the Legendary Racers' Club, special raffles, exclusive discounts, the NFT Gallery, VIP Sandbox Events, and an online shop for physical wearables.
Charity-based NFT communities, like Blazed Cats, were created in response to other cash-grab projects. While Blazed Cats is, at face value, an NFT collection themed around silly cartoon cat avatars, it’s also a charitable powerhouse that donated over $215,000 to Mental Health America within its first two weeks of launch. The group has committed to donating 25% of its minting proceeds and 100% of secondary royalties to mental health charities.
Even brands that are skeptical of NFTs can leverage the underlying technology of NFTs (Web3) without delving into the specifics.
Take Dior, for instance, which recently introduced an NFT collection without explicitly referencing NFTs. Alongside each pair of shoes, they provide an "encrypted key" that unlocks access to a secure platform and exclusive services. In their limited edition men's sneaker line, 470 pairs include a digital twin in the form of an NFT.
The question now is: How could NFTs benefit your brand?