Challenges in Cyrptocurrency/Blockchain Branding

We recently helped a client in the Blockchain space better tell their story in an emerging industry with a myriad of new players daily, all fighting for attention. Our client has a legitimate business, established leadership team, and an actual business model. However, in the Crypto/Blockchain space, companies require a lot more to create a compelling brand.

Here are four key inputs to balance when branding in the Cryptocurrency/Blockchain space. 

Legitimacy

This is a space with fewer regulations and lower cost of entry than traditional financial sectors. There is clear skepticism around many businesses, people, and causes. Experts say that over 90% of ICO’s will fail and there is a huge range of business maturity in companies in the space. The backgrounds of the founders and key employees is a differentiator here and can set one company apart from the next when it comes to trust, believability, and legitimacy. Consider using this to your advantage when building out your key messages.  

Category Fit

Similar to the dot-com and app booms, new brands are popping up left and right. For the most part, they look the same as they are trying to fit in. Logos are the same, names sounds similar, and brand graphics are cliche. At this particular conference, four companies on the show floor within 20 feet all had hexagons as their logos. Even established companies getting into this space are using visual technology cliches to signal their presence in the category. The companies with interesting, simple names stand out but I have serious doubts whether all of them have the trademarks to their own names in the right classes and geographies. When developing your brand, have the confidence to use new visual and verbal approaches that set you apart.  

Value Proposition

This is key in any industry and one of the first things a brand needs to figure out. What is it that you offer the market? Why is that valuable and unique? Why should potential clients, partners, investors, and employees care? Put your effort on developing your product and how you present it to your audiences. Once you know who you are, demonstrate that in everything you do.

Category Responsibility

The Cryptocurrency/Blockchain space is young and misunderstood. Experts in this space freely opine that others, even in the business, don’t know what they are talking about and that there are scams around every corner. As tempting as it is, don’t feel the need to explain cryptocurrency, blockchain, or tokenization as part of your brand story. You don’t need to carry the industry on your shoulders. 

How do you balance the need to explain your own value and at the same time explain what your industry does? This will vary at each company but I urge you to have that conversation early and often. If you concentrate more on who you are and your value to the market than legitimizing the industry, you will benefit. The industry is here to stay. Good companies and bad businesses will weed themselves out. Powerful brands will emerge.