Powell admits that the current state of the crypto market offered the most challenge when launching La Flor Dominicana’s NFT project. “A lot of projects are launching, and people think they’re going to be super exciting and successful, and they’re not,” Powell explains. “Back when we were in the bull market, people could drop projects with very little marketing, and they get bought up while not having real-world utility. We’re not really in that market anymore. With this project, it was important that Tony provide real-world utility. He really put in the work to market the project and inform and educate potential buyers.”
La Flor Dominicana’s Golden Bull NFT was a unique product launch that wasn’t guaranteed success, but with the press coverage and money it was able to raise, it was one of the most notable cigar releases in recent years. Powell believes NFTs will continue to evolve and grow in importance in the coming years and predicts the cigar industry in particular will adapt them more into their business plans as their usefulness continues to become more evident.
“From a manufacturer or retailer perspective, the blockchain is such a convenient way to track ownership,” says Powell. “Look at this process we did with Tony. We know who owns those seven NFTs and therefore who has the right to buy the limited number of cigars on a monthly basis. It’s tracked, and it’s very public. From an actual operational standpoint, we know who the owners are and how many cigars they’re ordering on a monthly basis. I think that’s a much more efficient process now that it’s tracked through an NFT.”
Powell has three tips for tobacco businesses interested in creating and launching their own NFT. First, make sure you have the time needed to be successful. Take the time to step back and look at the big picture, she advises. This includes knowing the current state of the market and how other competitors have launched NFTs of their own. The main idea is to take the time to do the proper research that will allow your NFT to launch successfully. That leads to the next requirement: You need an engaged audience to promote and sell your NFT to.
“Come up with a good marketing strategy that is really focused around building a community,” she says. “The best way to launch an NFT collection and have it be successful is to really focus on building that community. You also need to educate that community prior to the launch.”
When educating your audience on NFTs, it’s also important that you are fully aware of what you yourself don’t know. Be willing to reach out to other companies and individuals who know more than you do about crypto and NFTs and ask them for guidance and help. Be open to the possibility of partnership with another company that may have more experience in the NFT space and launching a product with them and with their help.
“I find with this Web3 space it’s an industry where people are so open and willing to help because things are changing so quickly and we’re all just here trying to educate and support each other,” says Powell.
Launching an NFT is something that shouldn’t be rushed, and it does take work, but the end result is worth it. The best NFTs are those that offer the buyer some benefit if they own it. Think of what utility you can attach to your NFT and communicate it to your audience ahead of putting it up for sale. Tobacco businesses thrive on sales, and just because crypto and NFTs seem futuristic and off-market for traditional products like cigars, cigarettes and pipe tobacco, it doesn’t mean they can’t be adapted and made to work. Get ahead of the game and start doing your research on NFTs and crypto—they will undoubtedly change and evolve over time, but in some way, shape or form, they are the future—and they are here to stay.
This story first appeared in the November/December 2022 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. You can view the entire issue online for free by clicking here.
–Story by Antoine Reid, senior editor and digital director for Tobacco Business Magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @editor.reid.