By Vikas Agrawal, co-founder at Infobrandz, a content marketing company.

The popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2020, the NFT sector was worth $10 million. A year later, the industry has ballooned to a whopping $22 billion--and it may only be getting more popular.

One of the most highly anticipated applications of NFTs is their potential use in the metaverse. Rather than a single, monolithic entity, the metaverse is a decentralized network of virtual worlds where a user can shop, socialize and play.

With the metaverse gaining more traction, multinational corporations and small businesses alike are looking to integrate NFTs in their marketing and branding strategies.

I have been actively investing in NFTs for years, and my agency designs NFTs as well. We've worked for many clients in this space and have gained a lot of knowledge along the way. Let's take a look at how companies can use NFTs to build their brands in the metaverse.

Find ways to gamify your brand.

NFTs can easily be integrated into most modern games as a new way to monetize in-game content. Unlike traditional downloadable content (DLC), NFTs can't be replicated. All of them, even visually similar NFTs, are unique, each possessing its own code on the blockchain.

This makes them the perfect currency for companies that want to reward their most loyal customers with exclusive, one-of-a-kind content. Companies can use this as an opportunity to align their brand's messaging and core values.

For example, sports brands can create an NFT-based game where users can collect virtual jerseys of their favorite players. Companies may also create digital replicas of their products for customers to put in their virtual homes within the metaverse.

Not only do these implementations make your brand more visible in the metaverse, but they also give users a sense of ownership and stake in your company.

Make users a part of the sales process.

Involving customers in your brand's overall sales process is a great way to foster loyalty. And for NFTs, it's no different. NFTs give customers the ability to purchase, sell or trade virtual goods among themselves.

For example, fashion brands can create an environment within the metaverse where players can try on different clothes and accessories that correspond with actual products. This way, they can see how the product looks on them before they make a purchase. At the same time, wearing these virtual fashion items will passively advertise the brand whenever other users see them. 

Alternatively, companies can consider creating an NFT-based loyalty program where customers can earn rewards points that they can use to redeem exclusive virtual items. As the metaverse continues to get adopted into the mainstream, having a stake in the virtual economy will only become more and more valuable.

Attach experiences to real-world events.

With the irreplicable nature of NFTs, businesses have the opportunity to offer customers unique experiences that are tied to real-world events.

For example, the online streaming platform Twitch hosts live events where audiences can watch esports tournaments. The platform has a feature where you can clip and highlight moments in the stream. These moments can then be minted into NFTs and either kept or sold.

Another example of this in action is the NFL Super Bowl. Meeting a drought in their marketing emails' open rates, the NFL distributed free commemorative NFTs to attendees that gave them access to play-off or regular-season games. This move proved to be a success--boosting the engagement of NFL marketing emails considerably, from an average open rate of 20 percent to 60 percent.

The appeal of this is that the customer not only gets to experience the event but also gets a keepsake that is attached to it. More particularly, one that's exclusively theirs on the blockchain.