Organisations that are looking to take back control of their brands and grow their online communities embrace the golden opportunity that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent, according to Ali Sajwani, Chief Executive Officer of D-Labs and General Manager – Operations at UAE-headquartered DAMAC Properties.
The unique tokens, which enable digital denizens to invest via the blockchain, often take the form of unique artworks, providing undisputable ownership for buyers.
“I’m seeing a trend where savvy brands are thinking outside the box and realising that NFTs can help create digital communities,” he explained. “These tokens are making it easier for companies of all types and sizes to build loyal fanbases, which are eager to interact with the organisations and invest in limited edition items, such as product images and collectibles.”
In 2021, NFT trading hit $17.6 billion, with sellers making $5.4 billion in profits – a year-on-year increase of approximately 21,000 percent, according to analysis conducted by Nonfungible.com.
Sajwani cited success stories such as the CryptoBear Watch Club, VeeFriends by Gary Vaynerchuk and Nike’s CryptoKicks, which the company launched in collaboration with RTFKT Studios. These companies, according to him, have made significant headways in leveraging NFTs.
“NFTs create investor excitement through rarity,” said Sajwani. “Linking the physical and digital realms is still seen as a cutting-edge move for a company, and those that have already embraced these digital tokens are succeeding in creating stronger brand loyalty among communities in the metaverse.
“But an NFT’s value doesn’t just lie in the asset itself; it also relates to the additional benefits that buyers gain through ownership of the tokens, such as exclusive access to products, events, forums and services. This is where companies are really starting to build brand loyalty, generating a sense of community and exclusivity all at once.”
On the home turf, Sajwani will lead DAMAC’s D-Labs, a $100 million investment that will place the Group in the world of metaverse. The move is part of the DAMAC’s organisation-wide digitisation ambitions through which it hopes to branch out its services to cater to the needs of the entire Group when it comes to digital assets – ranging from virtual homes, digital property, as well as digital wearables, and digital jewellery.
According to Sajwani, as Web3 continues to expand, it’s vital for brands to inculcate a presence online beyond a conventional static website. “We’ve seen forward-thinking companies do some amazing things on social media platforms, but it’s now time for them to step into the metaverse and interact with a new generation of consumers.
“In my opinion, NFTs represent an unprecedented opportunity for companies looking to develop loyalty, community and exclusivity. Brand culture will prove essential for business that wish to remain relevant over the longer term, and this is now intrinsically linked with life online,” he said.