Case Study: How a Women’s Fashion Brand Used NFTs to Foster Ambassador Loyalty
“How will it make them feel?”
This was the question we were asked by Meghan Herman, Founder and CEO of HarperSage, during the early stages of discussing adding NFTs to their brand ambassador program.
As a direct-to-consumer fashion brand in today’s crowded market, building a community of loyal advocates who not only love your products but align with your mission is critical to growth and sustainability. HarperSage’s ambassador program is arguably their most successful marketing channel, and they have done the hard work required to curate and foster true community among this group of women.
But, as we learned, keeping ambassadors engaged is hard. Meghan and her team were looking for ways to continue innovating with this program. And that’s where the idea came to include an exclusive NFT as part of the perks of the ambassador program.
- Giving ambassadors brand perks that persist beyond a six-month cohort would be unique. Typically, HarperSage’s ambassador discount codes expire when the cohort ends, but a variety of perks enabled by NFT ownership would enable a lasting relationship between the brand and these women.
- NFTs - unlike most memberships or rewards programs - are truly owned by a particular person. This level of ownership would give ambassadors the agency to sell or trade their perks if they chose to do so. And flexibility creates a better ownership experience.
- There would only ever be a limited number of this collection of NFTs minted. As a result, HarperSage would have the opportunity to leverage scarcity as a strategy and increase the incentive to own this NFT. As the brand grows and accumulates more super fans, they can create more demand for these assets, which means financial benefit for the ambassadors (secondary market value) and the brand (royalties on any resales).
- As a brand focused on empowering women, NFTs would be an opportunity to challenge existing stereotypes and norms. At the time of writing this, men are 4x more likely to own an NFT vs. women, so unlocking this new space for dozens of women would support HarperSage’s mission and values.
These points seemed compelling, but Meghan and her team wanted to make sure this would be well-received before signing on. And with that, we were given the opportunity to interview several brand ambassadors - all Millennial women ranging from 25-35.
- Find out what they were really looking for from the brand
- Understand any predispositions they had toward web3 and NFTs
For what it’s worth, we had no idea what to expect from these conversations. NFTs tend to be a polarizing topic at present. But what we learned surprised us (and may surprise you)...
They wanted a voice.
As part of a relatively small community of women who signed up to participate in this program, their ideal relationship with HarperSage goes beyond a one-way conversation and a discount code. They marveled at the thought of participating in product feedback sessions, sharing their thoughts on future designs, and feeling like they are helping contribute to and shape brand decisions.
They loved the idea of having a stake.
Beyond natural incentives to share something you love with your friends and network, real (or perceived) ownership fundamentally changes incentive structures. It was clear from our conversations that these women loved HarperSage, but they would love it even more if they had the opportunity to feel a sense of ownership in the community and benefit from the brand’s success they were helping create.
They were crypto-curious.
In each and every case, they were highly intrigued by crypto and web3, but were feeling left out of the conversation. If the process was made easier and the jargon was removed, they were 100% all in on exploring the space further and even getting their first NFT.
These insights and the realization that NFTs could enable this type of relationship (if made easy) encouraged HarperSage to introduce NFTs as part of their upcoming brand ambassador cohort.
The early results?
- A 68% increase in the rate of returning ambassadors vs. prior cohorts
- A 20% increase in the percentage of of new ambassadors
- A bustling new brand ambassador cohort more engaged than ever (according to our client), primed and ready to drive the highest new customer referral total in brand history
So what can you take away from this?
Depending who you ask, NFTs may conjure up negative connotations and emotions. But looking underneath the surface, it’s evident that ownable, digital assets have the capacity to unlock more engaging relationships between brands and consumers in ways that have not been possible before.
And when made more accessible, people are quite open-minded to learning about and engaging with innovative technology.