5 NFT Trends for Brands in the New Year

From partnerships to virtual real estate, NFTs holds massive potential for brands

Did you know brand recall increases when viewers see an ad on TV AND streaming? Download "A Practical Playbook for Multiscreen TV" to learn more. Sponsored by EffecTV.

NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are one of the biggest trends in the marketing industry right now and set to be a major player in the trillion-dollar marketing industry by 2022. While some might believe the rise of NFTs are just the current shiny new object, I’m letting you know they are here to stay and will evolve into so much more in the new year.

Many businesses have already taken notice of the massive potential behind NFTs and can expect more opportunities ahead. Here are 5 trends brands can expect with NFTs in 2022.

Think multipurpose use and partnerships

Many experts agree that NFTs are still in their infancy, but they have huge potential to reshape the way brands interact with consumers. The pandemic accelerated people’s interest in the digital space and NFT collectibles have been popping up all over.

Coca-Cola, Campbell’s Dolce & Gabbana and Charmin released NFT collectibles in 2021. The success and learnings from brands getting in earlier will only help them in the future. Beyond creating the NFT collectible, there are many more potential uses which brands are recognizing, as I explain below.

NFTs will change the ticketing and payment business

The idea of using NFTs and cryptocurrencies for live event ticketing and acceptance for payments like subscriptions are not new but will be an even bigger factor in 2022. As technology evolves and adoption increases, we will see more brands looking to use blockchain technology to solve problems, redefine what a brand experience really looks like and expand how ticketing works beyond entry to an event and a singular payment source.

In 2022, we’ll see more businesses use NFTs to build brand loyalty by giving fans access to special offers and promotions outside of their traditional distribution channels. NFTs could increase global revenue in areas including:

  • Retail – retail accepting NFTs as payment in stores and online.
  • Apparel – NFTs will be used during the shopping process from ordering and buying to delivery and exhibition.
  • Food – ordering and paying for food with NFTs with an app or wearable device.
  • Experiences – Entry to special events whether in real life or virtual as well as earning loyalty points and receiving special promotions and offers.

Brands will experiment with virtual branded real estate as NFTs

In 2022, we might even see fully branded real estate being sold via NFT or cryptocurrency. We are already hearing and seeing early signs with investors snatching up metaverse real estate. Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry and more have already entered the metaverse via NFTs. You’ve seen the branded sweepstakes where they give away houses—it could easily be replaced with for a virtual house NFT-style instead.

While virtual real estate sounds fun and exciting, I am having flashbacks of Second Life. Marketers who experimented with this during the height of popularity of the virtual world remember the hype and the decline. Second Life launched in 2003 and only hit one million regular users 10 years later in 2013 when the decline began.

A big difference between virtual real estate then and now is timing. In 2003, we didn’t have the robust availability of the technology and digital services we have today. The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation and innovation. We already know people are using VR and AR more and brands will have even better opportunities going forward.

NFTs will play crucial role as new source of revenue for businesses

Industries that suffered revenue losses from the pandemic (and some still are) will depend on digital opportunities like NFTs to bring in new revenue and brand awareness. Brands like Nike have already shown great interest in investing in this space by acquiring a startup that creates NFTs of sneakers and other collectibles.

Physical products will start being replaced by NFTs as people become comfortable with the technology and begin to use it more frequently. Just as we saw physical product brands utilize NFTs and blockchain to solve an abundance of supply chain issues, we will also see more brands looking to do the same for their own business models.

Brands will be hiring more NFT, metaverse and cryptocurrency experts

For brands to get more involved in the NFT space, businesses will need to do more than slap a logo on a digital asset. By hiring the right experts in the field, brands can pave the way by driving more awareness of NFTs, what they are and how to use them in a way their customers can easily understand. If brands want to be taken seriously in this space, they’ll need to step up their game and figure out how to make blockchain accessible to everyone—not just crypto enthusiasts.

While I’m very excited about the future of how brands use NFTs, I also believe in being prepared for the good, the bad and the super ugly. Some questions brands should ask themselves before getting involved in the NFT space:

  1. Are NFTs something our customers want or need?
  2. How do we build the knowledge base and grow the community needed for a successful ongoing NFT experience?
  3. How will we handle the environmental implications of NFTs and cryptocurrency?
  4. What about the legal and financial implications?

We shouldn’t forget that the NFT space is also changing rapidly along with regulatory rules. Brands will need to decide how to interact with the new digital asset class in a way that makes sense for their business as well as how it suits their customer needs in this evolving space.