So You Have a Token…Now What?
You spent months perfecting your white paper, you followed all the regulatory guidelines available to you to ensure that you either launched a TRUE utility token or a regulated security, you managed not to get hacked during your fundraise, and your 1,000 investors are still excited about the prospects of your project.
And yet, your website looks like it was designed by a 14 year old fresh off a career building myspace pages for his friends’ shitty band. You have no social presence outside of telegram, you’re still issuing all your press releases as Medium posts, you don’t really know how to get in contact with reporters, your ad budget was blown during your token sale, and you’re still working to explain what exactly it is your decentralized network does to people that don’t invest in crypto.
Public companies have had this same problem for years. You think a blockchain is hard to explain…try working with PhDs in Immuno-oncology to explain how a potential CAR-T cell cancer vaccine could work. But public companies actively work with Investor Relations firms, like Omnicor, to refine their message and value prop while engaging in ongoing communications with the shareholders.
Finding better ways to communicate with both new and existing investors post token sale is as important as building your network, and anyone who has ever bought your token represents the best chance for you to create a zealot that HODLS and evangelizes your mission.
Why? Because a stakeholder is your first activist. And if you don’t keep up enthusiasm, your token will struggle, people will lose interest in what it is you are building, and when you finally get to a place where you’re demanding broader adoption, people will have long ago stopped listening.
The token economy represents a paradigm shift not only in the way that we think about the internet, but also in the way that we think about buying goods and services. It started with crowdfunding for physical products on places like Kickstarter — people become obsessed with the idea of a product rather than the physical product itself. The capital invested in the crowdfunding campaign is used to fund the first production run of say a smartwatch (Pebble), and it’s then up to the company to keep up the hype and eventually ship a great product. That’s a completely different type of communications strategy than first launching an Apple watch and promoting it while it’s also out in the world where people can touch it.
Marketing in the crypto world is similar to marketing a traditional crowdfunding campaign. And just like with the Pebble watch, people are anxiously waiting for your network to be live. The difference is, we may be years away from a fully formed token economy where your project is actually useful in the lives of the consumers…and people can sell the watch before they ever use it. Your token could be worthless by the time your network goes live if you don’t maintain interest in its potential.
A public token sale is an incredible starting point. You’re building up community, email lists, and social followings that can be maintained and leveraged for future marketing efforts when your network really needs more than just capital to sustain it. Your main goal from a marketing and communications perspective after the token sale should be to keep those investors engaged in what you are doing.
We’ve seen for decades how companies that are working on products with have extremely long development cycles can keep their share price growing simply by keeping their investors engaged. If you’re working on something innovative, people want to be aware of the progress. If they gave you a dollar, they’ll probably shout about how awesome your product is. It’s your job to give them the battle cry that they can sing to their friends.