Leveraging NFT Roadmaps To Maximize Fan Experience
The continually emerging NFT marketplace provides an opportunity for anyone to monetize digital content and offers brands a way to create one-of-a-kind experiences for their fans. As is the case with most (if not all) emerging markets, this space presents its own set of unique challenges. One of the main challenges is tied directly to what users expect from a web3 experience, which is where non-fungible tokens (NFTs) came into existence. These expectations drive the manner in which users interact with brands and therefore shift the way brands need to go to market. Because the web3 world is rooted in decentralization where users have provable and immutable ownership of their digital content on a blockchain, transparency and community involvement in key decisions are vital to any brand’s success. In past years, the way brands planned on entering the marketplace was often seen as something that did not need to be made public. Rather than sharing their marketing strategy, brands might keep this information confidential in the hopes of gaining a competitive advantage. This approach has been turned on its head within the NFT space, where fans expect to know the details on how and when a brand plans on releasing their NFT experiences. An effective method for brands to communicate this information and keep their audience in the proverbial loop is to utilize: NFT roadmaps.
This of course begs the question, “What the heck is an NFT roadmap?” Simply put, it is a living document that is updated on a regular basis to provide specific details about a brand’s upcoming NFT experiences. This approach keeps fans informed with relevant timelines for NFT releases, and also lets them know of any future plans that are still under consideration within the community. In this way, supporters of a brand have a voice as to what their NFT experiences will feel and look like. It is not at all surprising that an inclusive approach such as this can drive significant brand loyalty due to the genuine connection it creates.
NFT roadmaps also create accountability for the commitments that a brand makes to its fans because they make those commitments public. This approach has the added benefit of managing fan expectations. The community is made aware of new information each time the NFT roadmap is updated. Due to this transparency, fans can avoid being blindsided and disappointed when obstacles do present themselves, which may delay or otherwise complicate the release of an NFT experience. It is true that this type of openness gives rise to a few concerns, especially for people who are new to the NFT space. Some may feel that giving out too much information could weaponize expectations against a brand when things don’t go as planned. While this may be a valid concern, the trust that is built within a community of fans by the inclusivity of an effective NFT roadmap often has the complete opposite effect. When the community sees that a brand is trying to do right by them, even when it fails to deliver an NFT experience despite its best efforts, it can actually build supreme user empathy amongst the supporters of that brand. This type of connection, developed over a sustained period of time through trials and tribulations, can create powerful advocates for a brand.
In working with different brands, Sweet’s mission is to help them craft captivating NFT experiences for their fans, while simultaneously providing a marketplace where NFTs can be bought, traded, and sold. As we support brands that enter this emerging NFT space, Sweet is always mindful about incorporating a brand’s existing audience by delivering NFT experiences that are tailored-made towards something they find captivating and interesting. In many cases, this audience has not yet been introduced to a web3 experience, and primarily interacts within a web2 world. A big part of Sweet’s task is to bridge the gap between these two versions of the internet and help provide easy access for fans to enjoy fun and unique NFT experiences. This can be a delicate dance, since Sweet works with many world-renowned brands that have built their reputation and audience over many decades of hard work. As a result, risk must always be taken into account when building an NFT program for these brands. We also want to incorporate new audiences into a brand’s NFT experience, which may already be interacting within the web3 world and are discovering the brand for the first time through their NFTs. Keeping all these factors in mind, it is easy to see how an NFT roadmap can become a valuable tool in managing expectations while providing an opportunity for a multitude of different fans to actively participate in crafting their experience.
Sweet continues to work with many sports teams, which in a way perfectly encapsulates some of the challenges that exist in creating an effective NFT roadmap. Sports leagues have their own season, which is what drives each team’s schedule. When an NFT roadmap is created for any sports team, it must obviously be built around their season. In fact, NFT releases that are timed with a team’s games as they unfold in real-time can significantly enhance the overall fan experience. A great example of this was when Sweet worked with the New York Knicks to help create their NFT program. Knicks fans were rewarded for attending games by gaining access to unique NFTs, which could only be acquired on game day when the doors to Madison Square Garden opened. In addition to the fun, gamified experience that was tied to each NFT release, the NFTs served to commemorate the overall fan experience of that day. They became a representation for a moment in time and helped to create long-lasting memories. The key to success for this NFT program was to work closely with the New York Knicks and align the NFT roadmap with the team’s timelines. This can require quite a bit of flexibility, especially when an NFT experience is tied to the outcome of a game.
The concept of NFT roadmaps is largely centered around building communities of fans that gain genuine enjoyment from engaging with a brand and each other. NFTs are a huge opportunity for companies to add value to their brand. An effective use of a well-thought-out NFT roadmap can help ensure that this value is indeed maximized and that the bond between the brand and its fans is only strengthened.