ITL #305 How to build a blockchain brand: three storytelling pillars8 months, 2 weeks ago
Now that much of the initial hype around blockchain has died down, blockchain companies must show their relevance to a broader audience than the tech community. By Saskia Stolper.
As a relatively nascent technology, blockchain is still generating a huge amount of interest. Some of the world’s biggest companies are making significant investments in the area and new use cases are continuing to emerge.
However, most of the initial hype has started to die down. Therefore, the challenge for blockchain companies and startups is to show their relevance to a broader audience than just the tech community. Businesses need to help people understand how blockchain technology will impact their lives over the coming years, without getting bogged down in the technical details.
So, how can blockchain-based businesses achieve this? What do they need to include in their PR communications strategy in order to make their product or solution an everlasting hit? We believe it comes down to three key pillars, all connected by that all-important ingredient: storytelling.
The first step of any blockchain public relations strategy should be to educate people about the problems currently facing the digital economy (related to apps, systems, platforms etc.) and how they can be solved using blockchain technology.
When combined with education around the basic technical aspects, this can go a long way towards demystifying blockchain for those people who aren’t as technically savvy, helping to reach a wider audience.
Besides the standard public relations repertoire (such as the likes of press releases, thought leadership articles and industry comments), our tools of choice include:
- Offline events: small, intimate meetups with a select group of journalists from a combination of national and trade publications, to discuss blockchain use cases and the key trends in the industry
- Online events: including webinars/live-chats for a) media representatives and business influencers who don’t have the time to travel to events and b) potential users/customers
- Dedicated one-on-one briefings: online or offline briefings with journalists to give them the chance to understand the complexity of blockchain and the role your company/startup wants to play in the ecosystem
It’s a good idea to serialise educational content. Content like a regular podcast or a series of educational YouTube videos can really help. Either way, PR can support you in developing the right strategy and messaging for owned media.
The second step is to showcase the solutions you are developing, which is exactly what we are doing with ConsenSys. The company is a global formation of more than 1,100 technologists, entrepreneurs and developers building the infrastructure, applications, and practices that enable a decentralised world. With more than 50 active projects, ConsenSys has a huge pool of interesting stories to tell.
By showcasing not only what you are doing but also who is doing it, you give complex blockchain technology a friendly face — someone that people can relate to – and make it more relatable to a wider pool of potential customers. Also, combining this with the educational part, just like the Berlin-based startup Centrifuge did, will help people to connect the dots and can add some local interest to support blockchain public relations.
The third step, is to inspire journalists, influencers, potential users and customers by presenting not only a vision of the (near) future, but also by making information, products and services easily accessible.
For example, when you’re planning to pitch a story to journalists, think about doing it in different ways such as writing a newsletter that includes a call to action – e.g. ‘click here to find out how to get started’.
Also remember you don’t just have to focus on written articles. It’s always good to have some variation, so make sure to use the right people in your company to tell stories over different channels such as video. Video gives you the opportunity to show not tell. Rather than talk about your product features, video helps you to educate and tell the story of how your technology is impacting lives.
Why is it important to inspire people? Well, the main reason is that blockchain is a complex topic, so it takes more than just a basic level of knowledge to understand what it is, how it works and what its advantages are.
Telling your stories
With these three pillars of your blockchain public relations strategy in place, it’s time to start telling your stories. Here’s a simple formula to ensure storytelling success:
- Identify a problem your target group knows about (e.g. a lack of data sovereignty)
- Explain what causes this problem (architecture and business models of online platforms in web 2.0)
- Describe what an improved condition should be like (everyone really owns his/her data and can decide who’s allowed to use it)
- Outline what solution you have to offer
- Add a call-to-action (ask yourself who’s in control of your data/learn more/join the community).
Given it’s blockchain, you not only need to think about typical social networks like Twitter, Reddit or LinkedIn, but also messengers like Telegram or — for earning real credibility in the Ethereum community — Status.
Now it’s all down to you. Get out there and #BUIDL your community!
Saskia Stolper is director, Germany, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
Saskia Stolper is director, Germany, Red Lorry Yellow Lorrymail the author
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