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A Winning Formula: Big Brands and NFTs

There’s no denying that Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have taken the digital realm by storm, unlocking mind-boggling opportunities for creators to cash in on their work. Sure, countless startups have eagerly hopped on the NFT bandwagon, but did you know that big brands hold the secret sauce for smashing success in the NFT arena? Read on as I unveil five perks that give these established players an edge over startups.


As human beings, we tend to thrive on security. We are more likely to invest where trust and familiarity pre-exist. And there’s no doubt that established brands have a major advantage here. With a long legacy, they have carefully built a dedicated fanbase over time (Starbucks Odessy NFTs sold out in just 18 minutes!). And even when large brands release something mediocre, it’s likely to sell out simply because of the brand name. Startups, on the other hand, have to work tirelessly to build their brand from scratch. But that doesn’t mean they can’t experience the same success. By demonstrating value and trust in their offering, a big impact can be made. This can be as simple as doxing the founders behind the project or providing utility to collections.

Community is at the center of most successful projects. And to reiterate, big brands are lucky to have a pre-existing loyal customer base to rely on. Fans are likely to invest in and help promote projects, generating buzz and smashing sales out of the park. As a startup, don’t be disheartened; you too can build a strong community. Begin by engaging with your network, no matter how small. Open up lines of communication and be quick to respond. You will need allies. And remember, when it comes to NFTs, bigger is not always better. With the right community and killer offerings, startups can stand out in the competitive world of NFTs.


Established brands have an abundance of resources. Big budgets, top talent, and infrastructure mean they can create and promote NFT projects with little constraint. Meanwhile, startups tend to have a lot less to work with. So, how can they compete? Agility. With a lot fewer stakeholders, they have the ability to be quick, flexible, and open to change. As a startup, leverage shorter processes and quick decision-making to outperform the big guys.


When it comes to partnerships, established brands have a clear advantage. With pre-existing relationships with other big players, partnership opportunities can lead to exciting collaborations, cross-promotional opportunities, and exposure to different communities. Last year, Puma kicked off their Web 3 collaboration with 10KTF, a leading store in the Metaverse known for its streetwear offerings and passionate community. Web 2 and Web 3 companies can create mutual benefits by leveraging each other's strengths.

However, for startups, it can be difficult to break into these elite circles. But that doesn’t mean they can't create their own. Reaching out to other startups in the space or collaborating with up-and-coming artists and creators can be of huge advantage. By building strategic partners and working together, startups can gain exposure and credibility in the NFT world. So don’t be disheartened. Put yourself out there and make some friends in the space. You never know where it might lead.


Existing brands and organizations often possess a goldmine of IP that can be used to make desirable NFTs. We’re talking branded content, trademarked characters, and other unique assets that fans go wild for. NFTs allow brands to involve their consumers in this IP, delivering a level of ownership. For example, NBA Top Shot offers fans the chance to own some of the most iconic moments from basketball games, providing a unique and exciting way to engage with the brand. For startups, creating IP from scratch can be daunting. It requires a substantial investment of time, effort, and resources. But, it’s not impossible. Over time, startups can build powerful IPs that resonate with their audiences. Just remember to keep your eyes on the prize and focus on the long game. Who knows, maybe your IP will be the next BoredApe.


Launching a successful project requires serious project management skills and the ability to scale as demand grows. Established brands have experience in both arenas, while startups may need to learn these skills on the fly. Luckily, there are plenty of free resources out there, like online courses and videos, to help you level up your management game. Alternatively, bring on an experienced advisor to guide you through the process. Just be sure to compensate them fairly. With the right skills and support, you’ll be in a good position to take your project to the next level.


So there you have it—the NFT game is still hot, and big brands are generating a lot of success. With an advantage in trust, consumer base, resources, IP, and experience, established entities are strategically positioned to succeed in the competitive NFT market. But that doesn’t mean startups can’t prosper. With fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking, their agility is what can lead to victory. Know your limits and leverage what others are doing well for a chance to play among the big guys. With some hustle and a little bit of luck, your project could be the next big thing.


Want to continue the conversation? Connect with Lewis on Linkedin.