Maya Middlemiss

@mayamiddlemiss

Clarifying your blockchain product’s brand messaging

Actually, forget about crypto and blockchain for a moment, and think about fast food. Think about the biggest fast-food brand in the world. You’ve heard of it, right? You’re aware of what they offer. In a crowded marketplace, you know what they do. Do you need to be reminded of their existence? Of course not, you may insist — and yet, if you live in any Western city (or pretty much anywhere else), you probably saw or heard an advert for them today.

Maybe not a social media post, an influencer recommendation or a stealthy bit of virality, because they’re way past all of that in terms of public awareness — just an ad, plain and simple. I could have been a logo on a bus shelter or a poster or a flyer, or some branding on a bit of print or TV media, an echo of a jingle — a single letter is enough. Because their communications are so well established and consistent, very little is needed to trigger the association in your mind. (You can also play this game with the leading global cola drink, and indeed a range of other brands, especially on a more regional level).

The reason such traction has been established is not down to the quality of a hamburger, or even the price, it’s simple recognition. Over and over, they say the same thing, clearly and distinctly, until the world doesn’t have to give it a thought. You don’t think about fast food (if you did, you might decide to eat something else) — you just vacuum it up subconsciously.

It’s far more challenging for a blockchain startup, or anyone working in emergent tech. How can you ever achieve such an instant connection and recognition?

And I mean even for the 10% who don’t fail to execute or misjudge the market or can’t manage their business and treasury, I mean even for the ones with a great idea and follow-through. When your product is so innovative, so creative, and so niche… but nobody knows about it, so how can you ever get the world to start ‘lovin it’? You have to start so far back, explaining what the problem is — to an audience who may never have clearly articulated it before — then make the connection with your product and how it’s going to solve that problem. In a world of soundbites and subconscious responses, this is a huge barrier to overcome.

Absolute consistency and congruity is key. Your message needs to stand out for its clarity and power, in a sea of buzzwords and promises. When potential customers are presented with unclear, inconsistent, or muddled marketing messages, they instinctively say “no,” and move on, seeking something easier to understand.

Remember that to create a brand which is instantly recognizable from a single favicon or a couple of notes of a song, everything else about it has to be internalized and understood. For this to happen, every communication about your project needs to follow a consistent story, from your pitch-deck to your micro-copy to your technical papers to your social posts. Your tone of voice needs to be reliable and appropriate, addressing the correct audience(s) in the right way for them, with a message that is unmistakably your own.

Perhaps as a start-up you can’t afford to hire a professional communications agency like BlockSparks to craft every meme, every caption, and every tweet. Or you can’t logistically engage external professionals to respond in time to that last-minute media opportunity or quote demand, or that email blast which needs to go out today in response to circumstances outside your control… When your technical lead is diverted from their development work to comment on breaking news and how your solution is the only option, it’s difficult to remember the exact combination of features and benefits which best address that particular selling proposition, in the very moment that it’s called for.

Sometimes you may need to outsource community engagement on certain platforms without losing your essential brand voice in such a way as to immediately signposts the shortcut taken — although many small teams strive to be present on every network and platform, we are yet to work with anyone truly solving the challenge of cloning.

And as you scale and grow, you need to onboard new team members and get them ‘singing from the same hymn-sheet’ in record time, to avoid diluting your message just as it’s gaining the traction it deserves. It’s at this stage of transitioning from start-up to established organization that the essential brand voice can either get addressed too late or lost altogether, due to new hires being at an increasing distance from the vision of the founders.

What you need is a clear set of guidelines which anyone within your team can refer to with ease — a swipe file of phrases, taglines, FAQs, statements, testimonials, personas, and CTAs, combined with all the relevant facts and figures and research to back it all up.

Possessing a document like this for entirely internal use is your secret weapon — in a sea of product launches and blockchain solutions. To create a truly effective ‘surround sound’ advertising effect to rival a global hamburger chain is probably not in your budget, but to create a consistent and professional voice for your brand definitely is — without the confusing mess of a series of first impressions, with everyone making it up as they go along each time.

You wouldn’t dream of doing that with your logo and visual branding — “hey, everyone just go with whatever they feel like or think looks best for each piece of content!” Instead, you doubtless commissioned a proper brand identity pack, specifying everything from font to colour scheme to use of white space. To create precisely this effect: of professional consistency, on every message across every platform. You are your brand, and you’re thoroughly invested in how it looks.

So why on earth wouldn’t you want the same for your written messaging..?

In a space where everything is new, where words like innovation and disruption are tired and overused, a consistent and message rings out above the noise. And the way YOU talk about your business, sets the tone for how everybody else will.

Originally published at www.blocksparks.io.

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