As NFTs creep into social media, how safe is your marketing plan?

As NFTs creep into social media, how safe is your marketing plan?

What exactly are NFTs, and what impact could they have on your marketing strategy?

LLPR’s PR & Digital Marketing Executive, Max Dobson, demystifies the latest digital buzzword and explains why social media platforms are about to take the NFT leap.

NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are the modern day, digital equivalent of trading cards, finding their boom in mid-late 2021 with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s original first tweet being sold for $2.9 million.  

NFTs are simple PNGs which can be bought and sold using crypto currency and stored in carbon reliant, power-hungry computer systems. They’ve also gained a reputation as an expensive way to boast to your friends – with some being rare, limited editions like the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, a limited series of colourfully designed monkeys which can command tens of thousands for a single piece.

As with any online mega trend, things got out of hand. Now, social media monopoly, Meta, wants in.

According to a memo shared to the Financial Times last week, Facebook and Instagram owner, Meta, is developing a scheme to allow users to integrate their NFT collections with its social networking platforms. This would open the opportunity for users to show off their collections to followers and create exclusive groups and pages with the expensive PNGs as the key to entry. Following this news, big brands are scratching their heads to figure out how to navigate the marketing landscape when hurdles such as this are in place. Surprisingly, there is some hopeful forecasting for smaller businesses in such a future.

Facebook has already tried its hand at digital currency with its launch of ‘Facebook Credits’ in 2009 as a way for users to buy in-game benefits for programmes like Farmville. An NFT / Meta integration, however, would be a further development in the age of crypto where users will be able to buy and sell natively within Meta’s platforms. According to sources, Meta is also considering introducing a scheme where users are rewarded with ‘Zuck Bucks’ (as Meta employees are apparently calling them) for positive online behaviour or for interacting with championed brands.

This is where the foot in the door of Web-3 begins to step on some big brand’s toes. Introducing the potential of financial gains for interacting with your brand allows companies the chance to buy their customer’s loyalty. Starbucks, for example, announced recently they are introducing a line of NFTs which, when purchased, gives access to an exclusive club with various benefits, extra content, and new ways to interact with the coffee giant.

Should other companies wake up and smell the coffee, following Starbucks into the NFT game, customers showing off their exclusive access to swanky clubs and cool collectables could be the easiest marketing strategy imaginable – and customers will be paying to do it.

 

 

But is the NFT bubble beginning to burst?

Total spending in blockchains has globally begun to show signs of wanning in 2022, almost halving from January ($12bn) to April ($7bn). There is also a factor of oversaturation, with 9.2 million NFTs sold to a total of 1.8 million people.

One can gather from the data that the explosive introduction of the trend is past its initial peak, with the dust settling on a landscape regulated by those who are already invested and brands looking for a late inclusion into the crypto market. With Meta’s plans to welcome NFTs onto platforms like Instagram and Facebook via NFT hosting sites like Ethereum and Polygon, there could be a resurgence of popularity as access for more casual users becomes easier.

Launching an aggressively exclusive, paid-for membership to extra content and deals might be a progressive step into Web-3 for global corporations who want to benefit off the Bored Ape success. However, for smaller businesses, it could be nothing short of guerrilla marketing, scaring loyal customers away.

The fact that Meta is rushing to bring NFTs into its platforms is proof that users are actively demanding and searching for more ways to interact with their favourite brands, with those with more money to burn happy to use it on flashy gimmicks. Smaller companies (smaller than the omnipotent giants like Meta and Starbucks) have the benefit of being able to offer this interaction in a transparent, human approach.

Being true to your reputation both online and offline is a tried and tested way to ensure that loyal customers feel valued and appreciated – as a PR agency we are aware how far relatability and human connection can go. So, don’t worry, we won’t be selling our staff pictures as NFTs anytime soon, unless anyone out there wants to make an offer?

 

Time to Get Real

Time to Get Real

PR & Digital Marketing Executive, Max Dobson, shares his thoughts on the fast-emerging platform BeReal and what it could mean for the future of social networking.

Scrolling through your usual plethora of social feeds can be overwhelming; pressuring you to present an idealised version of yourself. Luckily, a new contender in the sharing game seems to hold an antidote.

Launched in 2020 by Kévin Perreau and Alexis Barreyat, BeReal is a unique platform where users are invited to post an impromptu picture with both front and back facing cameras within a 2 minute time slot. There are no likes, no celebrities, no ads and, most importantly, no filters.

A refreshing and authentic take on sharing a snapshot of your day, users are only allowed to view their friend’s posts when they have shared a picture themselves, minimising endless scrolling and ensuring you only interact with the app when you feel involved. In their terms and conditions, users are strictly banned from using the application for “advertising or commercial purposes to publish or facilitate the transmission of advertising, commercial solicitations, spam, “chain letters”, “pyramid schemes” or to collect information, data or Content about other Users without their permission”. Essentially, it gives you the chance to see realistic daily updates of your friend’s lives, beautiful imperfections and all.

The app has already raised over $30 million of initial funding after seeing a 315% increase of downloads in 2022 so far, becoming one of the App Store’s most popular Social Media apps.

BeReal also calls out users for posting late, even showing how many times they attempted to take the picture before publishing the selfie. Though somewhat pressurising this feature pushes for total authenticity in the way that people share moments from their day; whether you’re enjoying an ice cream in front of a glorious sunset or your television after a long day. The app even opts for “RealMojis”, selfies of you reacting to the post, rather than the usual text-based responses (which are still available for those posts that just deserve a conversation).

For myself, BeReal has become an essential tool for staying in touch with friends who I don’t get to see very often, getting daily snaps of them at work or relaxing around the house creates a relatable, shared experience that allows us to feel closer. With no space for influencers or ads on the feed, the app’s interface also seems comfortable and intimate; a space for friends to stay in touch without pretence or expectation.

BeReal social platform screenshot
BeReal social platform screenshot

So what does this mean for us as a PR agency? And what does it mean for brands?

Even though BeReal remains a strictly no-ads-allowed platform, it suggests that users are actively searching for transparency, that they find authenticity more attractive than mountains of adverts surrounding and confusing them. Whether big or small, businesses can take refuge in the fact that their audiences appreciate honesty and humanity in the way they interact online, just as they would expect them to behave offline!

Many platforms have quenched this desire for users to experience intimate interaction online with huge results before. The free multi room video call hosting app House Party, for example, scored over 50 million downloads during the first wave of COVID, allowing young people to connect in a distraction free interface. The app has, however, dipped in popularity and has become a thing of the past, a flash in the digital pan which faded when it became overcrowded.  

The appetite for BeReal, however, seems to be a trend that will be sticking around as downloads continue to climb and its sharing restrictions remain parentally firm.

With BeReal creating an informal safe space for users to be their true selves for the eyes of their select friends only, advertising space on conventional social media platforms can reflect their behaviour and take on a stripped down, human approach. At LLPR we know how to recognise the true personality of our clients and present them in a trustworthy, relatable way to their audience.

If BeReal is anything to go by, the web is becoming a more self-aware network with users seeking commerce that speaks to them as unique people; something which can be achieved through engaging, personal and hand-crafted digital marketing.

We might not be asking our clients to share #NoFilter selfies (yet), but we are excited to let them tell their stories in a welcoming, passionate way.

Episode Twenty Five: Trewithen Dairy

Episode Twenty Five: Trewithen Dairy

Cornwall is a county brimming with character & pride, and it’s also home to the 250-strong team behind Trewithen Dairy.

Part of the pride in the business from Owner Bill Clarke and 2nd generation MD Francis, comes down to their focus on bringing customers and the wider farming community together on their ambitious, exciting journey.

Bill & Francis join Liz & Leila on “It Runs In The Family” this week where we hear about the incredible team that Francis has assembled with brother and fellow MD George, Trewithen’s push for more sustainable practices, and how they make everyone feel valued, right from supplier to consumer.

This episode covers:

  • The single order that convinced Bill to continue growing the dairy business
  • Trewithen’s focus on inviting customers, farmers & the community on their journey
  • How Trewithen have taken pride in their Cornish branding
  • Bill’s pride in Francis & George’s ability to assemble their incredible team
  • Sustainability coming to the forefront of the dairy industry

Episode Highlights

“At the end of the first summer, we were selling very little and I thought, ‘This is a waste of time’. So I thought I’d tell customers it’s going to finish. As soon as they had a new supplier I’d stop. But the biggest one immediately said, ‘Oh no, you can’t stop. I was going to triple my order!’. I remember so clearly thinking, ‘Oh no, that means I’ve got to keep going’. Sure enough, we did, and I’m glad I did.” – 5:20 – Bill Clarke

“You must think about it from the point of view of employees, and you have to help them really feel part of something valuable. It’s something I’ve tried to get across to Francis and George, that how you make people feel within the business is critical to the success.” – 9:30 – Bill Clarke

“If you were to grow grass anywhere, you would choose to grow it in Cornwall. So from a dairy perspective it’s good. But then from a position of brand Cornwall, and Cornwall becoming quite famous over the last 10-20 years, that’s been really important. And a lot of it is about people visiting Cornwall, having fabulous memories here, and then wanting to remind themselves of that when they’re doing a weekly shop.” – 15:25 – Francis Clarke

“As a leadership team, they’ve been able to explain to all the staff precisely where the business is, what its strengths and weaknesses are, where it’s going, and invite people to join us on that journey. It comes back to the same thing I said before; the strategy is explained to the farmers and we invite them to come on board with it, and we explain it to our customers and invite them, because it won’t work without those key stakeholders.” – 25:00 – Bill Clarke

“I consider it a massive privilege for me to be in the position I am; a spectator with the family business. What could be better from my point of view?” – 27:15 – Bill Clarke

“Every so often there’s a food scare isn’t there. When that happens, people will say, ‘Well, what about Trewithen, what did they do?’, and they investigate and find that we do it correctly and appropriately. When they say ‘Oh I knew Trewithen would do it right’ – That’s real gold. ” – 32:20 – Bill Clarke

“To actually notice that the recycling bin is less full once you’re having your milk in this sustainable way, there’s nothing more tangible and real than that. Our job is to take that forward, make it convenient for people every day, and make it so that a shopkeeper can make good money out of it, we as a dairy can supply it cost-effectively, and the consumer gets all of those benefits.” – 37:45 – Francis Clarke

“However much you want family to come into the business, it’s really important to communicate that it’s entirely up to them what they do and create as many opportunities in all directions as possible. If, after that process, they come back to the business, you know that it’s for all the right reasons.” – 49:00 – Bill Clarke

“If we rewound 3 years and said that in 3 years time, we’d be where we’re standing today, we’d be delighted with that. But we’re stood here, 3 years on, actually thinking ‘I wish we’d achieved more’. There’s a real feeling of always wanting to do better and being your own worst critic, so the trick is to try and enjoy the journey.” – 54:20 – Francis Clarke

“Francis and George have, over the years, put together a staggeringly good team of brilliant people who work so well. The ability to pull together a good team requires a very diverse number of important skills, and then the world is your oyster.” – 1:01:05 – Bill Clarke

 

Listen to this podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, Google or Amazon

Episode Twenty Four: Yard & Parish

Episode Twenty Four: Yard & Parish

Welcome back to It Runs In The Family, returning in 2022 with a series first: a dynamic duo of cousins behind discovery platform Yard & Parish!

While Co-Founders Samantha Newell & Alesha Bailey may be cousins, their bond is so close that their complementary skills are akin to what we’ve seen from siblings.

Samantha & Alesha join us on episode 24 for a dive into their endearing sense of community for the independent, black-owned businesses they share with their users, how they’ve gained so much organic traction, and finding the right sources of finance to achieve their ambitious, culturally poignant dreams.

This episode covers:

  • The confluence of complementary skill sets between Samantha & Alesha
  • Growing a sense of community with customers and vendors alike
  • Finding the right investment that aligns with business values
  • Building a brand upon a sibling-like relationship between cousins

Episode Highlights

“Being creative together was something that we’ve always done. We wanted to start a band or a dance group, cute little things like that. Then we started creating, learning how to design fashion. We started blogging together, even selling graphic t-shirts. I think we always had a very creative and entrepreneurial link, that kind of kept us really strong.” – 3:45 – Samantha Newell

“I think that our space is very specific in that it’s a curated space. It’s not everything that’s out there on the market. It’s the things that we really believe in, and really love ourselves, and things that really tell our story and share that story with similar people – our real family and community.” – 10:20 – Alesha Bailey

“I think that because we are quite different in our skills, we’re able to really spread ourselves around in terms of the different departments of our business, which is really, really helpful. So we’re very well rounded as a team, I would say.” – 16:20 – Alesha Bailey

“Alesha, who’s been working from Toronto, actually came to London for the pop-up. It was overwhelming because, for the past couple of years, we’ve all been so isolated. That sense of community has really become quite a digital thing, and to be able to really connect with people in person just made everything a little bit more real. It was nice to feel like Yard & Parish is a real, physical entity.” – 21:05 – Samantha Newell & Alesha Bailey

“We just tapped into a demographic that understood us, and relied quite a lot on word of mouth, and people just sharing their discoveries. That was a major part of our growth in the last few years, and it’s still one of the best forms of marketing, because it creates stronger brand awareness than any picture or copy can really generate for you.” – 26:40 – Alesha Bailey

“It isn’t easy to navigate the funding space. But if I was to pinpoint one of the biggest challenges, it would be around trying to see who the right people to get into business with are, and to be confident enough to know that we deserve it, and that we can do something amazing.” – 36:25 – Samantha Newell 

“I would love for Yard & Parish to be remembered as a space in which the black shopping experience was elevated, and set the tone for other consumer experiences to rise to the occasion. It’s always been function over form – when a black person goes shopping for hair products, it’s a very practical experience, and not not a fun one. Being able to really elevate that experience for people is one of our main missions.” – 46:55 – Alesha Bailey

“Put family first; As much as business is business, family is forever. So being respectful and considerate of your family partner is a really big aspect of ensuring that the business continues and moves forward and grows.” – 53:00 – Samantha Newell 

 

Listen to this podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, Google or Amazon

Episode Twenty Three: Moo & Yoo

Episode Twenty Three: Moo & Yoo

Moo & Yoo’s journey stems from a frustration around a lack of sustainable hair care in the industry. Since then, they’ve led the charge towards green beauty, having been featured in salons across the UK, online marketplaces, and only a few weeks ago an exciting, high profile department store…

Their founders, Suzie & Olivia Gillespie, are a mother-daughter duo who have found the perfect balance between their complementary skill sets. They join us on this week’s It Runs In The Family, where we discuss the almost-cataclysmic challenges they faced so early in their journey, the tricky art of keeping work talk away from home life, and their ambitions to head up a more sustainable approach to body care.

 

This episode covers:

  • Overcoming monumental hurdles in the first months of the business
  • Managing the difficulty of separating home and work life
  • Pairing complementary skills & sharing decision-making
  • How the beauty industry is heading towards more sustainable practices
  • Setting up branding ready for future product ranges

Episode Highlights

“Olivia and I have skills that complement each other. I do drive her a little bit crazy, because I am full of ideas and enthusiasm. I’ve got loads of passion for things, but sometimes the follow through isn’t quite so solid. I have great people skills with a lot of passion, but not always the organisational skills to go beside it, and I think Olivia definitely has that side of it.” – 3:45 – Suzie Gillespie

“Once we were on Plastic Freedom – all the other ethical marketplaces and ethical websites obviously watch what they’re doing – suddenly, we were being inundated with requests. Combine that with people wanting to keep shopping locally, and it turned a disaster into an amazing opportunity.” – 7:05 – Suzie Gillespie 

“We got an email from someone on the Harrods team saying they love the look of our brands & products, would we be able to send them some samples. They were really interested in stocking us in the store. We did a bit of a double take to make sure it was real, and then once we realised it was genuinely from the Harrods team, we obviously sent our products off and they loved them!” – 9:20 – Olivia Gillespie

“We do try very hard as a family, especially when we’re with my son as well, not to talk shop because he’s not got as much interest. When we’re with him and we’re all together, we don’t, but for Olivia and I together, it is a bit of a struggle not veering into that..” – 21:00 – Suzie Gillespie 

“It’s important to surround yourself with people that you can go to and will give you honest advice, and not try and fluff it up for you. You need to surround yourself with someone who’s a bit more realistic.” – 30:50 – Olivia Gillespie

“It’s a bit naive to think there’s nobody out there who can bring this farther than me, there’s nobody that can have more speciality. So you’ve got to surround yourself with people with different skill sets that complement each other. That’s how we’ve managed to grow it so far. ” – 36:45 – Olivia Gillespie

“I know it sounds really corny, but when the lab we used went into liquidation in our first few months, it was a really big learning curve for us and a really important lesson for us to learn. Actually it also cemented the relationship that we have with our chemist, which we hopefully will continue.” – 40:30 – Suzie Gillespie 

“It’s important to have separation and not bring work home. If we’ve had a disagreement with work, we’re not seeing eye to eye or something’s not going as planned, you do need that separation where you can come back and spend time with your family, and not think that it’s going to get brought up again, or that it’s going to revert back to a disagreement.” – 53:35 – Olivia Gillespie

 

Listen to this podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, Google or Amazon