NFTs, Design and Marketing

NFTs, Design, and Marketing

You might be groaning right now at the prospect of reading another article about NFTs. The new trend and obsession sweeping the world. This fad is going to die off at some point, right? Wrong. 

Social media will fade away at some point right? Wrong.

Streaming will never win (Blockbuster). Wrong.

A watch connected to your phone, that’s ridiculous and will never work. Wrong.

Cryptocurrency ain’t gonna last. Wrong.

Do you know when Bitcoin started? 2009. It’s 2021 at the time of writing this so that means the fad has existed for 12 years. Yes, it has grown and crashed repeatedly over that period of time. These various technologies, currencies, and trends are here to stay and at the very least evolve. They’ll exist through volatility, restructure, and big sell-offs. 

When stuff crashes and gets cheap we buy it up. We hold it. We invest. We sell it and the cycle continues.

What did you collect?

When I was a kid (and still to this day) I collected comic books, trading cards, Star Wars toys, Transformers, and Legos. I have the Death of Superman comic sealed. Multiple classic comics signed and graded etc. However, most of the things I’ve collected aren’t worth a whole lot but they coooould be one day and so I’ve held on to some of these things. And, boy do we like doing this don’t we? 

I suppose it’s a form of gambling right? You buy something as an investment and place a long-term bet on its value. Sometimes we win, but we mostly lose. I’m sure you got a bobblehead, coffee mug, or some other random stuff you’re keeping for a reason. Tucked away and sealed off from the world. You’re doing two things 1) you’re keeping it around to look at 2) you’re waiting for just the right time to give it up. That time doesn’t always come.

And, people, this is okay! What are we doin out here judging people who collect things? I’m not talking about hoarding piles of stuff 🙂 unless you think Star Wars is just “junk”…then you and I are gonna have to chat more!?

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When I was a kid at Alki Middle School I had a Star Wars card that was worth over $200. Naturally, it was stolen by a fellow student. Out of the hundreds or thousands, I guess, that I’ve spent I’ve seen zero return. For now…and that’s kind of the whole game. Buy, wait, buy, invest, sell.

Sometimes though, you don’t really care about something’s monetary value. Instead, you cherish what the object is. It’s design, size, color, or it’s a deeper story. I fall into this category for the most part.

NFTs are different from your physical objects because they represent the minting of digital pieces. That’s right, a digital asset can be minted as a 1:1, but it’s really so much more than that.

Now, things get really interesting.

Enter the next era of collecting with NFTs!

I knooooooooooooow! This is that new thing that people won’t stop talking about. NFT stands for non-fungible token. These tokens are linked to the blockchain. Bitcoin and Ethereum are examples of fungible tokens meaning they can be replaced or exchanged for other currencies. NFTs aren’t new, in fact, CryptoKitties was one of the first forms of digital products to sell big. One particular kitty sold for over $110,000 in 2017. 

NFT’s can be bought and sold on websites like Nifty Gateway, OpenSea, Rarible, and other marketplaces. Before we get too much further let’s talk about the value surrounding digital works. The beautiful part about this new world is that digital artists/creators can now “mint” anything they own the IP to. So if you wanna draw a picture of a stick figure dancing, you can mint that on OpenSea and establish that work as a 1:1. This means that while you can copy an image 1,000,000 times across the Web, whoever buys the piece from OpenSea will actually own it.

Buying and selling on the NFT marketplace take cash. New artists will need to pay a one-time gas/energy fee as part of reserving space on the blockchain (where your materials will live). Artists will also need to pay a percentage-based fee when work sells and those pieces can be posted at an auction or for a flat fee. Setups vary by platform.

Yes, you can make some serious coin selling NFTs but this is mostly true for the top-most artists in the world. *Beeple is an artist who sold an NFT at Christies auction for $69,000,000*. And, the piece that was sold isn’t a simple sketch. It’s a digital composite of the artist’s first 5,000 days of his Everday’s project which he started 14 years ago. That’s right. Fourteen.

Beeple came into the space having already had success selling other art in the marketplace. He also had a strong social media following at the time which has now grown substantially in the last 2 years. These two elements and the rise of cryptocurrency led to a perfect storm of high risk and high reward. These opportunities don’t come often and most won’t ever see a penny earned from this environment.

Regular people don’t make money off NFTs, yet.

Unfortunately while many hope to make a profit by selling their digital art, the reality is that it just doesn’t happen. That’s because uploading and minting your work is somewhat meaningless without a story. More on that later.

*53% of NFTs sold in March of 2021 on OpenSea were purchased for under $200*. The top performers are generally well-known brands and artists. In November 2021, the Macy’s Day Parade unveiled its limited-run NFTs to its 25 million viewers. Companies aren’t spending resources on these things for their health. They know this is a good time to capitalize on a trend. And this my friends, is much more than just a trend.

Just recently Square Enix, one of the most powerful video game developers in the world, *announced that they’re embracing NFT’s and a token-based economy*. They will be integrating these features and technologies into their video games in the future. Why not? In so many ways we’re watching the birth and development of a new type of economy. An economy that relies on brand and IP to generate revenue. That revenue will be earned through the ebb and flow of asset growth.

Essentially raving fans and highly engaged communities will dictate some of the ways products and services are delivered to customers.

NFTs are being uploaded in the millions, but only strong projects are winning.

Here’s the thing, to be successful in the NFT world you need two things, 1) a strong community/brand 2) really meaningful projects. Neither is easy and neither happens fast. The example of Beeple stated earlier is an ongoing project. The artist creates a new piece every single day. It’s referred to as “Everdays”. He’s been doing this for 14 years. Every. Single. Day.

We’re used to the “have it now” world we live in and in almost all cases, success comes from doing the work, spending the time, and ultimately committing to the goals you set for yourself.

It’s not surprising that Beeple’s 5,000 Everydays sold for $69,000,000. That single piece of a larger project took FIVE THOUSAND DAYS. 

In 2021Gary Vaynerchuk shut down for a week and drew a number of characters and animals using sharpies. He then converted these into digital pieces. He named them Vee Friends. Vee Friends became NFTs and following the typical trading card model, there were rare cards, holographic cards, and everything else in between. Many of the cards carry additional value. Meaning, that some cards provide you access to VeeCon for life. Others give you access to the man himself via small group dinners and more.

…and, they sold instantly. You can still purchase VeeFriends in the market at the low price of 14th or $52,685 at the time of writing this. These numbers will rise and fall.

This example is a flip of Beeple. Gary spent a few weeks…let’s say 1-3 months. He had an auction with Christies too. This effort has so far resulted in $3 million of trading volume across 71 NFTs at an average price of $39,000 per NFT. This project succeeded because of Gary’s brand and his commitment to his community. Period. People trust Gary because there’s no reason not to. He has and will always be about helping people thrive. At project launch, he committed to delivering goods and services associated with the NFTs sold.

Community is really everything.

How to make moves in 2022 and beyond.

Start planning your projects. If you’re a well-established brand, think about how NFTs can work into your business. If you’re a school, how can you connect success and achievement with NFT distribution? Can you create an environment where NFTs are earned? 

Can you connect with other influencers, artists, or industry professionals to create a collectible people can’t live without? What if a piece of art was digitally signed by Tom Holland or Michael Jackson? That piece can be minted as a 1:1 and auctioned, sold, or given away.

At this point, you can probably see that the only limits that exist are the ones you create. In the end, we’re talking about art and creativity. Those are your only barriers. The future design, assets, and marketing will shift to align with these new avenues. Just like anything though it may not be a good fit for you right now, exploring your options and opportunity should never be ignored.

Interested in getting started in the NFT space? I recommend these resources:

We’re starting to generate NFT strategies here at Webfor for clients and we’re diving into the Metaverse and its impacts on marketing. Contact us if you’d like to learn more.

You can check out a couple of my NFTs here. As always, thank you for reading and I’ll see you again soon.