Branding is key for successful Web3 marketing.

Building on a blockchain follows similar fundamental principles to building in real life. First, you establish the foundations, then you can start laying the bricks, and only once it’s built can someone begin experiencing the building’s purpose. With blockchain, establishing a foundation involves selecting (or even designing) a first layer. Laying the bricks is akin to writing the platform code, and only then the user experience can begin.

Despite knowing the process involved in building a successful, sustainable structure from scratch, we tend to ignore it when it comes to our crypto marketing efforts.

The naive crypto founder’s marketing checklist

Are you building a Web3 project from scratch? Here’s a typical marketing checklist for starry-eyed founders:

  • Have a freelancer design a logo to start
  • Create a must-have whitepaper for VCs
  • Have a website and social media accounts
  • Create a blog (remember: SEO matters)
  • Engage a PR agency and issue lots of press releases ahead of launch
  • Use influencers (more followers = more reach)
  • Use paid placements to establish authority
  • Participate in sponsorships and time on stage at big events

Even if a project manages to survive the next crash, it’ll invariably end up repeating this list with endless newer and more exciting features, products, and services, with little return on its marketing spend.

The problem is, when everyone is doing the same thing, nobody stands out. And during the bear markets, what’s left? All of the above costs time and money, but none of it buys loyalty.

All entrepreneurs building on the blockchain understand the importance of building from the foundations up — starting with layer-1. Layer-1 underpins everything.

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What are the characteristics you seek from layer-1?

  • Decentralization with distributed shared ownership
  • Immutability
  • Transparency
  • Longevity

Nothing in the extensive founder’s marketing checklist shares these non-negotiable properties.

Your brand is your layer-1 of your marketing

Successful marketing starts with its own layer-1 — building the brand. Your layer-1 is the keystone on which your entire platform is built, and your brand is the keystone on which your entire marketing strategy should be constructed.

Your brand isn’t a logo or a catchy slogan. It’s first and foremost a memorable, relevant, credible, unique, concise, and consistent brand positioning and promise. Ideally, it’s supported by a clear set of values, ideas, narratives, and visuals that pull everything else together.

Your brand is what makes people recognize you. It’s what invokes what your business is known for. And it’s the only part of your marketing toolkit that creates a truly emotional tie between you and your target audience.

Remember, your brand is the only asset that you can derive from your marketing spend. However much you pay a PR or marketing agency, no matter how much they talk about ROI — without a brand, it’s all just talk. Your brand is your layer-1.

That’s not to say that all the other stuff isn’t important. Your socials, blog, and PR campaigns all matter. But they are your layer-2 — your touchpoints. If we take the blockchain analogy, your layer-2 marketing activities and touchpoints are like your dApps. They’re your presence — your voice to the world.

Layer-3 is where the magic happens. Layer-3 is the experience, where your brand, product, and story come together to create traction, impact, and enduring value. This is why people will come back and what will propel you through the toughest of bear markets and financial hardships.

But without layer-1 — your brand — you’ll never reach layer-3 based on a foundation of layer-2 alone. It would be like trying to launch a dApp without a blockchain.

Retrofitting works

Hang on, you may be thinking. I’ve already started my business, and I didn’t build a brand before I started. I already have my website, socials, blog, and campaigns set up, but without a brand. Is it all now doomed to fail?

There’s no problem.

Unlike decentralized applications, which require blockchains to function, it is possible to establish your brand retroactively. In fact, while building your layer-2, you may have already begun to leave an impression that can serve as the foundation for your brand.

What are your strengths? Why does your community prefer you over your competitors? Why is your product or service relevant?

Arguably, if you’ve already begun, you’re in an even better position to establish your brand retroactively because you already have enough information and feedback to answer these questions. The touchpoints you’ve established are a valuable source of feedback from individuals who have interacted with your product and formed an impression. Listen to what they have to say.

Once you’ve identified your strengths and how people perceive you, you have the necessary components to build your brand. The rest is pure science.

German is a co-founder and the chief relevance officer of THE RELEVANCE HOUSE, a branding, marketing, and growth agency focused on blockchain and Web3.

This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a verified organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are shaping the future through the power of connections, collaboration, and thought leadership. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.

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