Thomas Pan

Brand Loyalty - The Great Debate

A brilliant breakdown of tokenized brand loyalty TPan, Myosin Member & Content Genius.

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Thanks for reading, and enjoy this delightful piece from TPan, Myosin Member, Content Genius, & Substack writer for Web3 with TPan.

Brand Loyalty in 2023

We’re all familiar with brand loyalty. We each have our favorite brands, whether it’s our favorite chain restaurant, music artist, or clothing brand. 

However, the concept of brand loyalty has become more dynamic and complex over the past several years. Brands have to:

  1. Consider diverse customer preferences
  2. Compete against other established brands that are utilizing similar channels and strategies
  3. Compete against upstart brands that are able to move and innovate faster 
  4. Find new ways to engage and reward loyal customers and community members

Customer acquisition costs have been steadily rising over time, with CACs rising from $9 in 2013 to $29 in 2022 for e-commerce companies. Changes in privacy standards, increased competition and accessibility to advertising channels, and the consumer hunger for something different have all contributed to this.

So what are some brands considering for the next stage in the evolution of loyalty? They’re exploring Web3 and tokenizing loyalty.

What does tokenizing loyalty look like?

Tokenizing loyalty sounds intimidating, similar to if someone asked you how Bitcoin works. However, creating tangible use cases for consumers help to make loyalty more concrete and approachable.

Brands are actively looking at and exploring web3 loyalty solutions that help to augment their existing strategies, while adding more insight to their understanding of customers and community. The fundamental behaviors around engagement aren’t changing, but the manifestation of loyalty and rewards are.


One example of this is the Starbucks Odyssey loyalty program. This program is currently in Beta testing and has attracted thousands of active users. 

What Starbucks Odyssey's dashboard looks like.


The program requires users to have a standard Starbucks Rewards account, and is structured as follows:

Users earn points by completing journeys, completing activities, and earning or purchasing stamps. These points can be redeemed for various rewards. 

The Starbucks Odyssey program is integrated with the Starbucks Rewards program, allowing additional insights to be gathered and real world actions be a part of the new initiative. Physical activity is now being reflected in addition to the digital activity.  


The popular sneaker brand has been exploring Web3 technology with their efforts with their Our Force 1 virtual drop and .SWOOSH platform. 

The Our Force 1 sneaker collection is Nike’s first set of digital collectibles for fans to purchase and collect. Prior to the drop, Nike airdropped 106,453 virtual Our Force 1 posters to .SWOOSH registered wallets. These accounts are eligible for First Access to purchase the virtual sneakers.

Why 106,453? 6-4-5-3 spells out N-I-K-E on a T-9 keyboard. 

Nike is not only creating digital collectibles with their virtual sneakers, but also reinventing what ‘early access’ could look like. In the case of the Our Force 1 drop, early access takes the form of a digital collectible as well.

The world of digital collectibles is also one that allows for more flexibility and integration, and Nike realized that. The Our Force 1 product page features a ‘Utility’ tab. The digital collectible may only be virtual shoe today and corresponding 3D files, but there seem to be plans for other types of utility around products, experiences, mint passes that provide access, and gaming.

Some of these utility categories remain in the digital world, while others cross over into the physical world where fashion traditionally lives today.

Bleacher Report

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, Bleacher Report launched the Watch 2 Earn program. NBA fans who watch the games on TNT answer trivia questions from the show to earn tokens.

The tokens can be redeemed for digital collectibles and future perks. 

For fans of the NBA on TNT show, the digital collectibles consist of entertaining and memorable scenes in the show, with varying supply. The future perks are unclear at the moment, but will likely be related to the NBA and/or Bleacher Report. 

How can tokenized loyalty transform businesses

The Starbucks, Nike, and Bleacher Report examples are early and notable ones. These companies are large global brands that believe tokenizing loyalty can lead to new strategies to retain and engage their customers, community, and fans.

Some benefits of tokenizing loyalty:

  1. Provenance: Brands are able to identify their earliest and/or most engaged fans in a richer way. 
  2. Visualization: Loyalty isn’t just a status anymore. It can be visualized in dynamic ways.
  3. Experiences: Loyalty doesn’t have to only be transactional like cash back rewards. It can now be experiential.
  4. Empowerment: Consumers can be empowered to participate and make choices. The one-way street is now becoming a two-way street.


Are these Web3-powered loyalty experiences 10x better than the existing ones today? 

Not quite. However, they cater to the evolving consumer preferences around ownership, participation, and freedom of choice. 

The future of brand loyalty and Web3

So with those big name brands testing the Web3 waters, everyone else should right?! Not so fast…

Before running off to the races, it’s important to consider the following:

Understanding your customer base - Are your customers and community ready to try something new? Are they open to trying to technology?

Presenting the new loyalty program to your audience or community - Many Web3 terms are confusing and intimidating. Nike created a .SWOOSH Dictionary to educate their community about the new terms they would be using. 

Identifying internal champions and experts - If you’re exploring Web3 Loyalty, who will be spearheading the effort? Who has a deeper understanding of the space and has the network to help take initiative from 0 to 1?

Web3 loyalty is still in its infancy. With the continued exploration of the intersection between brands and loyalty, we’ll continue to see the expansion of familiar programs supercharged with new capabilities. 

Some potential directions brand loyalty could take with Web3 capabilities:

Let’s see which brands will be next in exploring Web3 loyalty next!

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