“I’m a fan.”
Those three simple words seem to tell it all when describing your level of interest in a particular thing. It could span from a reaction to a new latte at your local coffee shop, interest in a sneaker brand or your affiliation to a sports team.
Before the blockchain boom that we’ve seen in the last few years, passion-based fan achievement would result in superficial benefits, such as likes on social media, rewards that were siloed and lacked utility or, for the most part, bragging rights.
Now, however, with the rise of Web3 and blockchain technology, people are able to leverage their passions so much more because of nonfungible and uniquely-IDed items. They’re able to assign ownership and economic incentive to passion through items, status, engagement, creation, collections and more, all on the blockchain where that ownership is viewable to the masses and can’t be disputed.
As we move from the “early days” of crypto to having these technologies seamlessly incorporated into our everyday lives, it’s important to hyperfocus at times on specific tactics that work well so that they can be deployed, evolved and utilized. When it comes to fandom in crypto, one thing that stands out to me is fan achievement.
Some quick background: Fan achievement can mean many things, but its essence is that fans can move up in the community by participating or adding unique value. Sometimes these achievements have financial incentives, sometimes they’re just to keep things organized through roles and other times, they create coveted exclusivity that is reserved for those who were either lucky enough to randomly mint an amazingly rare digital asset or who’ve spent time grinding their way to the top of the group.
Fan achievements are not exclusionary.
To somebody outside of crypto, it may seem that fan achievement in a community creates boundaries. This couldn’t be further from the truth and is the beauty of decentralization. Anybody can move up in a community and add value; in most cases, they just have to put in the time.
In addition, the level of involvement by fans changes according to their level of passion, and roles or achievements allow each individual to create their fan journey and experience the community in their own unique way.
Take my favorite NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, for example. Maybe, in the future, if you’re the most active commenter on the Steelers’ social media accounts, or you comment a certain number of times per week, those efforts and achievements can be rewarded with swag, a FaceTime with a player or tickets. The possibilities are endless.
Fan achievements educate users.
If achievements exist in a community, then there will, of course, be directions on how to unlock those achievements. Within these directions, brands have an incredible opportunity to educate their audience on different ways to have their fans interact with their service or product, which is highly beneficial from a strategic business development standpoint.
If you know a specific piece of your product should be getting more attention and your team is proud of it, but maybe your community hasn’t caught it yet, you can create achievements and roles to point people toward it.
Fan achievements propel value for the community.
As a fan who is part of a decentralized community, it will be extremely transparent, so you’ll be able to see who else has unlocked what you’ve unlocked as well. This allows like-minded individuals to band together and create subgroups within communities that further build trust, credibility, networking and other compelling community engagement results for the brand and the fans alike. It’s mutually beneficial for brands and fans when fans get maximum value from other community members. Achievements make this possible.
Fan achievements can be an untapped revenue stream for brands.
Brands are always looking for new revenue streams, and enabling fan achievement allows for passive recurring revenue because they want and crave these features. A look at a thriving community with achievements, such as Fortnite, demonstrates how these achievements can be used.
So, how can brands start to implement fan achievements to unlock the benefits of this model?
First, start by getting your most loyal and engaged fans together. Maybe that involves a simple video call or a messaging server, but it’s essential to get these dedicated users in the same place and have them be part of this effort to create a fan achievement model. What do they want out of the experience with your product or service? How can you best reward them for their efforts? What do they feel is providing value? The answers to those questions will guide you to build your entire fan achievement model.
Suppose you don’t yet have a community to tap into, and you’re building something new but still want to ensure that these fan achievement opportunities are embedded at the base layer of your platform. In that case, I’d urge you to join other thriving userbases with achievement models and observe and participate in these achievement unlocks.
Ask anybody who’s building Web3 how to learn more about Web3, and they’ll say the same thing: Just dive in. By getting involved in a project, by, let’s say, purchasing an inexpensive NFT to test out a community, you’ll know what you like and don’t like about their fan achievement models. You can use these learnings to inform your projects.
These are just some of the benefits and advantages of creating clearly defined fan achievement opportunities in your community. As somebody who has a genuine love for passionate fandom, roles and achievements are things that I’ve implemented in communities at my own company and appreciate as a crypto enthusiast.
It will be exciting to build and experience achievements from established mainstream brands as they pull successful tactics from the crypto community. Hopefully, this article lands me on the sidelines at a Steelers game, but if not, the hope is that you can start to implement fan achievements in your community—your fans will love it.