Marketing and Communications
So far, we have observed how engagement with the broader blockchain community is essential for a young startup’s survival. We have also discovered how the functions of the community stem beyond the traditional relationship between a business and its target audience. It is also important to note that with its unique set of priorities and demands, as well as distinct internet presence and content consumption patterns, blockchain in business opens up new opportunities, as well as challenges in refining successful strategies for blockchain marketing and communications.
Blockchain Marketing and Trust
In a sea of aspiring blockchain projects and their fraudulent counterparts, it is more important than ever for a young company to establish trust in its technology and organisation straight away. Many prominent blockchain projects grow their clout by creating educational content explaining their technological and business propositions. In most, this initial piece of content comes in the form of a White Paper. It is important to note that the definition of a white paper within the blockchain industry differs greatly from the academic or legislative interpretation of this concept. In Academia or governmental processes, the white paper mostly focuses on explaining a complex issue in a concise, almost scientific way. Within the context of blockchain marketing however, the concise explanation of the technological proposition is there, but it only constitutes a portion of the document’s content. As well as this, it needs to satisfy many non-technological questions, expanding on issues such as distribution of the token supply, or company roadmap. While the White Paper is often the prefered choice, not all successful blockchain projects have to necessarily follow this route.
The founders of Lisk never produced a white paper - instead they communicated their technological proposition and established trust through other channels and platforms. We will discuss those platforms below.
Blockchain Marketing and Social Media
Blockchain marketing often aims to establish the same degree of trust and technological expertise through a variety of other organic marketing channels. A blockchain community’s activity revolves around a variety of mainstream social media platforms. Websites such as Twitter or Reddit are traditional social hubs for tech-savvy demographics, influencers and media representatives. These traditional social media channels serve as a useful tool in both keeping up to date with industry discussions and contributing value to them yourself. On Twitter and YouTube, one can also connect with vital influencers and collaborate on educational content in order to inspire audiences not yet familiar with blockchain industry. On Reddit and Discord, one can create community platforms and participate in broader industry talks in order to divert attention to their own project. It is important to point out that the unique nature of the blockchain audience requires a totally new approach in messaging and brand positioning - on one side the blockchain community does not entirely fit a business-to-consumer approach of focusing on evoking an emotional response around a specific product or service. On another, a wholly corporate approach of a traditional business-to-business strategy can be met with a high degree of cynicism. Given their ideological, technological and financial investment, blockchain audiences require and deserve honesty, humanity and professionalism in the communications of an aspiring project.
Blockchain Development Platforms
For an overwhelming majority of contemporary blockchain startups, an open-source approach to development is a key indicator of professionalism and reliability. Development-focused platforms such as GitHub and Gitter play an important role in allowing a particular organisation to flex its developer expertise, openly display large segments of the code for community scrutiny and communicating progress, or allow for third party developers to follow, comment, or even directly contribute to code. This open approach to brandishing process has become industry standard for the majority of contemporary blockchain projects. Lisk for example is often cited as having the most commits, pull requests and the general quality of code development on GitHub on social media and relevant coding media.
Chat Apps in Blockchain
In order to foster a sense of community in real-time, many startups also create their own messaging channels, such as Slack, or opt for encrypted messaging groups on instant messaging mobile apps like WhatsApp. As communities grow, it may become cost-effective to choose open-source chat platforms such as Rocket Chat. This option also allows for more flexibility with customizations and plug-ins. If privacy is a sensitive issue, applications such as Telegram offer free encrypted messaging system with an easily accessible user interface.
PR and Communications
Within the context of blockchain communications, a noteworthy blockchain startup can benefit from a growing feeling of public interest. Establishing good relationship with relevant media can reap organic benefits for any fledgling tech brand in a much more cost-effective way than digital advertising and other paid-for marketing fields. Success stories of most popular blockchain startups have created a definite feeling of interest among the general public, a sentiment mainstream media was quick to capitalise on. From US cable giants such as CNBC creating a Cryptocurrency-specific news channel, to start-up industry insiders TechCrunch including blockchain industry leaders on their events rosters, global media players are starting to pay attention. An aptly communicated and well regarded blockchain startup is sure to attract attention of general interest, far-reaching media channels, a feat not so easily achieved in more established industries. On another hand, we are also witnessing the beginnings of a global, specialized media players, with platforms such as Cointelegraph and CoinDesk providing daily news related to strictly blockchain industry developments.
Lisk for example was featured in a variety of industry and general interest media, securing blockchain communications opportunities from Cointelegraph and CoinDesk, to Reuters and NASDAQ.
All of the aforementioned marketing and communications channels can be utilised in conjunction to mobilise, expand and engage one’s blockchain community. Given the financial, ideological and technological investment of individual members, it is important to implement transparency, professionalism and a human tone in the project’s messaging. What defines most successful blockchain projects is that marketing channels are used to foster the ongoing sense of trust in the expertise and the overall well being of the project, something that is especially important when a company is developing its product.