May 02, 2022

Australian Loyalty Association - Melbourne Networking Evening Key Takeaways

Blackhawk Network was proud to sponsor Australian Loyalty Association’s Melbourne Networking Evening on the 7th April 2022. In attendance of the night from the Blackhawk Network team were Ben Fuller – Sales Director, Natalie Collins – Partner Director Business Development, Will Feutrill – Customer Strategy & Insights Director and Tim Whitelaw – Head of Enterprise. 



Ridley Plummer – Metaverse & NFT Project Manager led the discussion and shared insights with guests on how the Australian Open became the first Grand Slam to truly enter the metaverse, with the minting of the AO Art Ball NFTs linked to live match data. 

As part of the Metaverse project 6,776 AO Art Ball NFTs were minted for the almost one billion global viewers the AO attracts, making this a monumental opportunity to forever own a piece of the AO 2022. With storytelling playing an important role in today’s landscape, 6-7 7-6 is a frequent series of numbers tennis fans are all familiar with. This symmetric number enables a sense of familiarity for fans upon launching the series of NFTs. 

The Australian Open team created two different concepts, one centered around the Tennis Ball itself and the other using live data to create the artwork. Creating data from Concept number two and artwork from number 1, the team were able to create the final artwork. When one of the 11 championship points lands on a plot, the NFT owner of that plot can claim and receive the tennis ball used in the championship point, in a specially handcrafted case. 


Key Outtakes

  • Major brands globally have explored the NFT space and have launched major campaigns to better engage and build loyalty with customers. For example, Clinique – one of the world’s major beauty brands, rewarded loyal customers by launching a competition to go in the draw to win 1 of 3 NFTs along with their line of beauty products - all driven through social media efforts. 
  • For brands that want to explore the NFT space, it’s important to take note that you don’t need to be the first. Facebook was not the first Social Media platform to launch, Amazon was not the first to sell products online and Tesla was not the first electric vehicle. This applies to the NFT space. You just have to do it well. 
  • It’s all about test and learn and customer engagement. Another example is with leading American Rock Band - Kings of Leon dropped their new album, with the opportunity to listen to the new music for 2 weeks. This caused a major buildup of hype for fans, with many fearing they would miss out. Kings of Leon launched a gamification model using NFTs to enable fans to gain access to premium tickets through gamification. “A lot of us collected basketball cards as young kids. You may still do now. As young kids, there was the chance of getting a Michael Jordan card. There was a gamification of building a collection and trying to get the last card to complete the collection. To trading your collection in the playground with other kids. That’s what we see now with NFTs”. 
  • For everyday customers who want to get into NFTs. People need to get a digital wallet. In Australia, throughout the pandemic, all of us have have started using Digital Wallets in our everyday lives. This comes in the form of Vaccination Certificates and Credit Card payments. It’s also beneficial to have conversations with friends and people you may know who are the early adopters and have already explored the space and to not jump straight in. 
  • For Brands and Retailers – it’s important to understand what’s happening right now. Everyone is seeing the transition of Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. In the future, we expect Web 3.0 to have the ability to identify mobile wallets and what’s contained inside. Customers can bypass websites with their mobile wallets without the need to enter in a password or address. Customers today are also very savvy. They’ll tell you loud and publically if they are unhappy. Brands need to be careful, they need to build a community of loyal brand advocates before going to market with a NFT product.  
  • The Landscape of digital engagement for customers is evolving and the Metaverse, although in its infancy, will move forward quickly. Although NFT’s are something shiny and new, the real story was in the metaverse. With customers being able to have their digital identity and assets securely and anonymously contained in a blockchain wallet, businesses will be able to offer their loyalty with offers and engage with them on a different level.