NFTs as Badges

updated on 21 June 2022

Say it with us: NFTs aren’t just quick get-rich-quick bits of the metaverse that exist within a bubble of hype! Go with us beyond the hype as we look at the most innovative and creative ways brands can use NFTs to benefit consumers loyal and new. This week – have a badge!

What’s a badge?

One of my earliest memories of kindergarten involved badges and building healthy habits. See, I remember one morning, my best friend Siobhan didn’t come for the start of the day. She was at the dentist’s, the teacher explained. And sure enough, later in the day, she turned up. 

But there was something different about her. See, she was wearing her customary dungarees as usual, but she had this massive shiny badge. It was green and red, extremely sparkly, and had a giant grinning tooth. And I was seething with jealousy. In fact, I went home and brushed my teeth right away, and demanded that we go to the dentist the next day. 

A recreation of that magnificent sticker which may or may not be accurate…
A recreation of that magnificent sticker which may or may not be accurate…

Obviously for children then, we know a badge can be a prominent and visual reward for good behavior. However, badges can be just as powerful for adults too. Maybe not so much for encouraging us to brush our teeth (having your first cavity is generally a more effective avoidant motivator for that than a badge), and that raises the question for us: why not use NFTs as a kind of totally unique badge?

Let’s look a little more into how that could work…

NFTs as rewards

Gamification isn’t just a buzzword – it’s a set of principles and techniques that employ behavioral science theories to encourage a specific behavior. 

Badges are traditionally used as a way of signposting specific achievements. For example, let’s imagine we are in fact creating an app to encourage good oral hygiene in kids. The goal is to get them to brush after every meal, but that’s a pretty big and non-tangible goal to go right in with.

We can split it up then, and reward behaviors that signal that the child is on their way to reaching that goal. For example, have they just downloaded the app and created their own character? That shows they have intent to do better – have a badge. Log in the next 3 days to record that you’ve brushed your teeth? Amazing, they’re on their way to building a habit – have a badge. 10 days? Stunning, have a badge.

Badges can help build a longer-term and more meaningful relationship with users and consumers. Take Pokemon Go, for example. Yes, it may be rare nowadays to have someone with their face glued to their phone bump into you on the sidewalk because they were too busy catching Pikachu to notice, but there’s still a sizable user base playing – as many as 80 million monthly users, in fact.

A screen from the Pokemon Go app, showing some of the different kinds of badges players can achieve.
A screen from the Pokemon Go app, showing some of the different kinds of badges players can achieve.

Say it with us: NFTs aren’t just quick get-rich-quick bits of the metaverse that exist within a bubble of hype! Go with us beyond the hype as we look at the most innovative and creative ways brands can use NFTs to benefit consumers loyal and new. This week – have a badge!

There are badges for catching pokemon of each type, and badges for total number caught, total battles, and total number of Pikachu. There’s badges for just about every action in the game. And the badges have levels – bronze, silver and gold, with a platinum level released more recently to keep even the most dedicated players aiming to catch ‘em all.

And in case you’re thinking badges are just for games – Pokemon Go often plays host to premium ticketed events, for which players are rewarded with a unique badge for taking part, thereby using badges as a reward for effectively making a purchase.

Now, what if instead of some little icon, badges were given as NFTs? What if you rewarded a loyal customer with a totally unique NFT for making their 10th purchase with you? Or even if you’re a dentist and reward a patient with an NFT for their 3rd consecutive visit with no cavities? 

Badges on their own are powerful enough motivators, but if NFTs were used, they would take on even more meaning as a reward, representing something totally unique representing the engagement or relationship between your brand or consumer.

Show off your achievement more prominently

A lot of the time with apps, you’re invited to share your achievements and badges on social media. I don’t know about you though, but it’s not exactly a common behavior anymore, as it looks spammy, or at least, it hasn’t been so common since the early days of Facebook when my aunt would continuously post her Farmville badges boasting about her carrots or whatever it was.

With a visual NFT, you are rewarding a user or customer with something more unique, and with platforms increasingly allowing the use of NFTs as avatars, e.g. on Twitter, users may be more likely to actually display their NFT achievements more prominently in places such as display pictures than traditional non-NFT badges. 

This in turn could lead to more discovery opportunities for businesses using NFT rewards, representing another possible discovery channel. And besides, maybe your NFTs will be so sparkling and cool that others will be jealous and simply have to get their own somehow.

And if you’re wondering – I never did get that dentist sticker. I’d settle for a tooth-themed NFT instead now.

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