With all the love generative avatar projects have been getting recently, it’s no wonder why every creator with the necessary skills and resources is dropping project(s) daily. At this point, you have 3-4 notable projects a day, many of which are so strong that it feels like the entire ecosystem stops what they’re doing just to get in on the mint.
An example of this phenomenon occurred on Tuesday, July 28th, with Stoner Cats, Long Neckie Ladies, & The Vogu collection each dropping on the same day. These projects have seen varying degrees of success to this point, but they all dropped to a significant fanfare, started gas wars, and sold out – each hoping to replicate the success of the Punks & Apes that came before them.
With this in mind, it begs the question, what makes these projects POP?
Be Community First
I’ll spend the most time on this because the number one rule of NFTs is, “community runs everything.” You’ll notice, all over Twitter, creators and their dedicated followers talking about “drop day.” These days are “spiritual” events in the NFT community. A day in which a collection is officially revealed to the public. At this point in the process, the art is done, the NFTs are minted, and the site is ready. It’s supposed to be a day that creators and their community members celebrate. Yet, it often ends anticlimactically.
Why? I argue it’s because there is often no community attached to the project. Community is what makes or breaks every collection. It’s the lifeblood of the NFT ecosystem, and it’s the ultimate decision-maker for the industry. In 2021, the community is formed through a mix of Twitter Pages and Discord channels. On these channels people,
- Talk about a project
- Give feedback on decisions the team should or will make
- Ultimately support or tear down the projects they believe in
Okay, so we understand that community is super important, but how do you build this community, especially before “drop day?” Here are a few things to focus on: ,
- Learn about the community – spend time on Twitter & Discord. Join the Discords of different projects. Learn how people speak on various channels, understand what’s essential, dive into the channels that matter, and start getting involved.
- Create relationships before launch. Build partnerships with collectors and other projects in the space. If you are genuine and people like what you’re doing, they’ll support you. For example, check out Gary Vee joining the Long Neckie Ladies & World of Woman fan clubs.
Some metrics you want to shoot for prior to launch (metrics aren’t everything, but again, you don’t want to launch to an empty room.)
- 1250+ followers on Twitter
- 750 + members on Discord
Avatar Art & Design Matter
The aesthetic of a project allows projects to stand out from others. For example, you have a project like Royal Society Of Players, who were meticulous in the design of their site. Everything from the layout to the color pattern made this project differentiate itself from the competition. Most importantly, the design of the actual NFTs can be a project’s ultimate draw. Creators want to make sure to tease the actual assets prior to release. When design is prioritized and done correctly, a project will convey a level of seriousness and attract new members to its community.
10k projects have become a standard in the space. But as the industry continues to mature, we’ve started to see some notable projects with sometimes greater or fewer pieces. For example, Stoner Cats had an initial mint of 10k with another 3k set to be dropped mid-season.
While one of my personal favorites, Gutter Cats dropped a 3k collection and ensured real scarcity from the beginning. The original GOATz project took another approach – they started with 10k and added forging to build in scarcity over time. This means a project may begin with 10,000 NFTs but members are incentivized to burn their NFTs to get an even better one. Making it so there are now fewer NFTs (9.2k as of 8.11.21) hypothetically making each more valuable.
Publicize Your Roadmap
Potential community members want to know what they are buying into. Like buying into a country club, people are making their decisions based on the value attached to the membership. Members buying into these communities have very similar mindsets with one difference; they’re banking on their membership appreciating over time. With that in mind, you want to be transparent with your plans and publish a roadmap. What to include in such a plan:
- A dedicated place for members to gather in the metaverse – a lodge, a virtual gallery, tavern etc…
- Personalized and private in-person or virtual events (concerts, roundtables, etc…)
- Potential companion pieces to be added to the collection over time
- Utilizing the characters from other media outlets (shows, movies, comics, etc)
- Rights that buyers might have to the IP
We’re seeing several duplicated projects pop up. There are two to three versions of the same panda, goat, and cat projects. Not to mention the derivative projects that get started off of notable originals. There are minor design changes to the NFTs, but many concepts and even roadmaps are now being copied. Projects with an original theme, characters, and vision, are performing better at this point in the industry’s life cycle. One of my favorites is a project called NFT Dungeon, created by my colleague, Sam Ellis.
The project stems from Sam’s love of roleplaying games such as, Dungeon’s and Dragons. He puts a new spin on the game and introduces a whole new set of gamers to the concept of DnD. There are other original projects like BAYC, Goatz, Gutter Cats, Art Blocks, World of Woman, and more that have done a good job at paving the way for future drops.
Overall, I’m pumped about the space and where we are going as an industry. Obviously,, there’s a lot of noise. More and more people are jumping in as opportunists, rather than genuine creators, but that’s to be expected. Like Farokh says in this tweet, “To all the people coming in to pump avatar projects on the community and dump it on them too, we’ll be watching you closely. This isn’t gatekeeping; it’s simply protecting a community we’re working so hard to maintain and keep as healthy and happy as possible together.”
I invite you to build this community up with us. Be the genuine creator that lifts us all, and we’ll be there to support you. Wish you the best of luck and much much love!