Hot take | 5 Free Ways to Grow Your Brand Audience with Web3

February 11, 2023

What's the trend?

Why are global brand giants like Nike and Starbucks getting into web3?

Sure, it might be because younger consumers show an appetite to buy digital products, but the true answer is more fundamental. Global brands are building in web3 for one major reason: data.


Interacting with consumers in web3 introduces a whole new kind of CRM with a richness of data not available to brands in web2. Marketers can see a connected wallet’s complete web3 activity, including interactions with other brands, interactions with other consumers, spending levels, and more.


As a result, the latest trend among global brands in web3 is not to sell NFTs, but to give them away for free – with a focus on building a large tokenized community rather than immediate revenue. When you sell NFTs, naturally you’ll convert fewer than if they are free. The more NFTs you distribute, the more wallets you connect. The most wallets, the bigger your addressable audience and the more you know about them.


Building your web3 audience with free NFTs is a low-cost, low-risk way to develop an engaged and incentivized community. You do not need to deliver as much value on Day One as you would with a high-price NFTs, but instead build up the value proposition over time as you learn more about your consumer.


The most common way to do this is with a free ‘membership’ token distributed to existing users, allowlisted communities, or even the general public. Nike is minting free .SWOOSH ID (~300k so far in beta) for users to co-create and engage in its emerging web3 ecosystem, while Starbucks minted free ‘earnable’ Stamps to users who complete brand engagement ‘journeys’. In both cases, these global brands are onboarding their existing users to web3 and/or attracting web3 native users into their ecosystems, and enriching their consumer datasets at the same time.

This is the next evolution of consumer web3. No more quick and dirty cashgrabs. Instead, brands will focus on building their web3 dataset, seeding their web3 community, and growing consumer value over time in order to increase lifetime value and evangelism.

Build your web3 audience with free NFTs


Here are proven ways you can capitalize on this growing trend:

So what questions can you ask the data?

🤔 What percentage of existing customers converted to our free NFT? How many of those wallets have any prior web3 activity? How many are brand new to crypto? What’s different about these customers compared to those who did not convert?

🤔 Of the new users to your brand, what’s their prior web3 activity? How do these users differ from your existing customers who converted?

🤔 Of those with prior web3 activity, what third-party collections and platforms have they interacted with, how often, how recently, and how much was spent? What are the other most popular NFTs your community owns?

What happens next? Ok, your free NFT strategy worked, and you now have a large and active web3 community clamoring for more. This is when it gets exciting:

🎁 Token-gated experiences: Brands can offer value to web3 audiences by gating content, merchandise, events, and more behind ‘token-gates’. These are webpages or mobile apps that require a user to prove ownership of a specific NFT in order to access or interact. This is an immediate way to make a free NFT valuable to the owner.

🎁 Token-based personalization: More than just an access token, where all NFTs within a collection carry effectively the same value, brands can also detect that someone owns a certain trait, number, or set of tokens, and then deliver a personalized experience around that.

🎁 Token-based collaborations: Web3 interoperability makes brand collaborations and community cross-pollinating extremely easy and effective. Brands can offer token-gated value not only to their own NFT audience, but others as well. This is an effective way to reward holders, create buzz and grow community.

How can Mojito help?


Web3 is moving past its experimental phase into its early adopter phase, and innovative brands are already staking out their territory and setting the bar high. This means the time to start building your own web3 community was yesterday.

Mojito has powered free NFT drops for the Milwaukee Bucks, Liverpool FC, Sotheby’s, CAA, Lyrical Lemonade and more. Get caught up quick and build a foundation for future campaigns with low-risk, low-cost free NFT activations powered by Mojito.

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Learn how we helped the museum tell an essential cultural story through the power of digital art and community.

Mojito's technology breathes life into dynamic web3 experiences for brands. We simplify the complex backend, allowing the front end to effortlessly focus on the fun stuff – including sticky consumer engagement.

Our recent collaboration with the forward-thinking museum turned this vision into reality. Mojito worked with Toledo's team to orchestrate a digital art experience by Osinachi & Yusuf Lateef. Our community engagement portal enabled Toledo to provide a smooth minting process, hassle-free claims, turnkey community management and reporting for the museum. The result? A powerful drop of 10,000 NFTs.

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The Web3-ification of Credit Card Loyalty Programs

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Visa's new web3 loyalty program is no accident.

Swipe (or nowadays, tap) your credit card, and earn points. A process that’s now commonplace has a lengthy history that can teach us more than a few things about customer loyalty — and its journey through technology. Let’s start at the beginning. 


From paper to plastic 💳


While the history of credit cards dates back thousands of years, things turned from stone to metal — and later paper and plastic — about halfway through the 20th century with the arrival of the modern credit card in 1950. Reportedly invented following a case of a forgotten wallet, The Diner’s Club Card (initially owned by Discover Financial Services before its acquisition by BMO in 2009) was the first multipurpose charge card credit card intended primarily for dining and travel expenses. 

The Diner’s Club was also the first to pair the concept of charging credit with fueling consumer loyalty through the inception of points. Through partnering with dining, entertainment, and later, travel entities (i.e., airlines, rental cars, and hotels), Diners Club cardholders paid a tiered annual fee to gain special perks based on how much money they spent. The greater the yearly fee, the greater the perks. 

About eight years following Diner’s Club in 1958, American Express entered the credit card industry with the world’s first international charge card, which initially had an annual fee of $6 (one dollar more than Diner’s Club). Shortly after, Bank of America and Mastercard followed suit. During this initial period, most credit cards focused on offering customers just that — credit — with loyalty and reward yet to take off. 

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The 10 brands that won web3 in 2023 🏆

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Our fingernails are officially onchain.

2023 was a year of building in web3 — and no shortage of brands got in on the action. 

Across luxury fashion, institutions like Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Maison Margiela reimagined the roadmap for retaining customers through captivating yet accessible content that turned buying products into something more: an enduring digital connection. Others, like beauty platform KIKI World, pushed the limits of blockchain — and fingernails — via web3 communities focused on co-creation and customization. Across the sports field, Manchester United, Red Bull Racing, and the Tampa Bay Rays-owned Rowdies, won through fan programs and sticky experiences that incentivized fan engagement and boosted sales. The list goes on.  

Below are 10 brands who did it right in 2023 — and, in the process, won web3.