The Power of POAP: Tokenised Cultural Communities

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The Power of POAP: Tokenised Cultural Communities

Brand loyalty programmes are famously built around an outmoded transactional model, rather than actual brand loyalty and affinity. The current architecture rewards social interaction and financial transactions with rebate programmes and cash-back points.

Today, brands focus on transnational collaborations with misaligned influencers, focused on disingenuous partnerships. Instead, brands should be thinking about building communities; communities that are sustainable and will foster genuine brand evangelism for the future.

With web 2.5 platforms such as Discord and NFT, communities have more opportunities to tighten their lines and close their doors to brands, making it increasingly difficult for brands to engage in this space with any kind of meaning.

With technological shifts comes an opportunity to update outmoded ways of generating cultural visibility. I believe brands need to focus on a cultural community strategy over everything else.

Why? Consumers seek cultural commune, belonging, like minds, and shared cultural beliefs and interests. 

Culture-first communities speak to that need, and membership in these brand insider networks is what drives loyalty and helps drive perceived brand aspiration and cultural relevance.

Starting micro, brands need to focus on the most culturally-engaged customers – those who patch their identity with their brand.

The objective is to onboard these customers into a token-gated community that’s always on and provides frequent value-add, product, interactions and experiences.

The brand should aim to amplify cultural cache through these insider networks that offer pinnacle customers exclusivity, prestige, perks, early access, unique content, custom or bespoke products and aspirational experiences.

As my pal Dan Lewis (Flux, media Monks) says, “The future of brand community will play out offline, online and on-chain”

Brands must provide their evangelists with a space to congregate both online – through channels such as Discord – and in person, facilitating meet-ups that foster peer unity and further strengthen connections around brands.

Humans desperately seek and take pleasure from collectivism and cultural commonality that provide badges for identity projection.

Emergent Web3 technologies (powered by NFTs on the blockchain), such as POAPs, are introducing new ways to connect and interact with communities on an unprecedented level.

In technical terms, POAP (pronounced poh-ap) is an acronym for Proof of Attendance Protocol. All POAPs are created with the ERC-721 standard used for NFTs and can provide  decentralised identities, unlocking infinite possibilities for their use.

Brands can create gated communities using POAP access to help further perpetuate the myth of esteemed brand insider networks. BUT brands will have to stop thinking about extraction and start investing more than they get back. The benefit, however, is that once a loyal community is charged, it will pay off tenfold.

For the first time, blockchain enables…

  • A truly direct relationship with your customer
  • A genuine relationship of equals
  • Connection across every conceivable touchpoint

What's cool is that no crypto or Web3 knowledge is required.

POAPs are unique NFT badges given out to consumers as a reward for: attending virtual and real-world events, buying products, in-store check-ins, social media engagements, and training completion.

POAP provides the architecture for a future-facing loyalty program. Where brands create a direct line of sight with brand patrons, removing the need for agency, social media platforms, emails, numbers etc. Blockchain is the impending, decentralised platform for connection.

Brands will be able to airdrop value at will by introducing layers of blockchain, building a foundation for loyalty which they can iterate for the wider customer base. So, the blockchain is simply an amplification and tightening of your CRM, consumer research and loyalty programs.