The number of tokens continues to explode and new NFT projects drop by the hour. The issue is, how can a project both stand out from the competition and prove to its users that it’s legitimate?

Blockchain projects have to do several things to build and continually earn trust: 

  • Show legitimacy 
  • Be active, engaging, and nimble
  • Work well and have a plan if something goes wrong
  • Be transparent and honest, or people will find out and call you on it

Trust is the real currency of the blockchain economy and you need to earn it and protect it with everything you do.

And it’s so much more than just tweeting a few times a day.

How Blockchain Projects Can Show Legitimacy

If you’re in a hurry it can take less than a day to grab a website template, write some quick copy, and slap up a legit looking ‘coming soon’ website.

A lot of legitimate projects will do just that. While the team is building a project, there might not be enough time or budget to consider things like a fancy website. 

There is nothing wrong with being lean and nimble and keeping a website simple. A complex website does not signify legitimacy any more than a one pager.

It’s the content that sets a scam apart from a proper project. 

Content including:

  • A bespoke logo, branding, and consistency throughout the page and materials and social media
  • Terms and conditions, website and privacy policies, and other legal documents relevant to the company structure and jurisdiction of the project – and its potential users
  • Full names, photographs, videos, and verifiable contact information (like linking to LinkedIn profiles) of the project members
  • Active, maintained profiles for those members – if you don’t have them it can be worth making them (LinkedIn and Twitter especially)
  • Links and resources to prove any claims of funding, advisor panels, partnerships, and other factors
  • Well written copy that goes into detail 
  • Screenshots or mockups of what your app/project might look like when it’s ready
  • Verifiable testimonials or quotes showing support

Not every project will need or will even be able to provide all of the above, but the more you check off on the list the less you’ll look like a scam.

If a DeFi project isn’t considering basic GDPR regulations while targeting people in the EU, how can a user trust their compliance with the important aspects of finance, KYC, AML and other regs?

Without PPC capabilities for a lot of token based projects, PR is essential to exposure. But it also plays a huge role in showing the legitimacy of a project. 

Making sure you both have and link to team profiles on platforms like LinkedIn means it’s that much harder for a scammer to pretend to be part of your project. Same applies to Telegram and Discord handles. 

P.S. Since Discord server templates and bots take minutes to setup, personalising that to your project is well worth spending some time on. 

Marketing Starts Months Before Launch

When you find out about an overnight success or 20 minute sell out, know one thing.

Marketing NEVER starts just days before launch.

Marketing is not publishing.

Marketing is not hitting send.

Marketing is an iceberg. What you see online and in the real world is a tiny proportion of what actually happens behind the scenes.

Marketing is most powerful when it’s there from day one, when you’re designing the project. Even before you build it. Because marketing can help you decide what to even build.

Marketing means outreach, too. When X, Y, Z celebrity is touting a project, chances are their support was planned for and maybe even secured weeks or even months prior. Because whoever got that support had to jump through hoops to get it. 

Sure, you might get lucky spamming Gary Vee on Twitter to get an RT for your airdrop, but you’ll look like an amateur or a scam, and put people off.

Avoid the Jargony Mumbo Jumbo

There is another tactic that scam projects and people use, known as doublespeak. It’s using language that is deliberately complicated or vague in a way that distorts or obscures what you’re really saying.

Want to look legit and clever? Explain your projects in plain English and break down what you really mean.

Legit projects pay good money for explainer videos for this reason. 

Otherwise, you’re going to:

  1. make yourself look like you can’t speak in a relatable way to your users
  2. make potential users feel stupid 
  3. make it easy for users to misunderstand the project (they’ll be pissed)
  4. make it easy for scammers and lookalikes to spout the same jargon and look legitimate

So don’t be this guy:

Have A Roadmap For Risk

Any project in any industry needs to consider risks. When you think about a risk assessment, traditional businesses might consider fire risks or other aspects of health and safety. (Please do this too.)

But every project, and especially every blockchain project, also needs to think about the contingencies of communication, marketing, and more. For good days AND bad days.

You probably have a plan for what to do if you get featured on the front page of CoinDesk or ProductHunt. Congratulations!

So what happens if the news isn’t so positive?

You don’t need to publish everything you plan on your roadmap. But what happens if the exchange you’re on goes down for the day? What if the jurisdiction you’re in changes rules and you have to pivot?

No one can predict the future. But change and errors are inevitable and having a framework for how you’re going to respond and what to do is essential. It’s your fire escape plan. And having one will build trust and more importantly keep your project in a good light. 

  • What will you do if someone pretends to be one of your project founders online?
  • What will you do if your exchange of choice goes down?
  • What will you do if a bug occurs? 
  • What will you do if someone’s password is hacked?
  • What can you do to help mitigate all of the above in the first place, and how will that change your roadmap & how you communicate?

3 Simple Ways To Protect Your Blockchain Brand

  1. Reserve all your social media handles, even on platforms you never intend to use.
  2. Never mass DM as part of your strategy. This is like how a bank says it will never ask for a pin – it lets people know ANYONE doing that would be a scam.
  3. Create LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for all prominent figures in the project if they don’t already have any. If you don’t want to put them on your website, then at least following the profiles on Twitter with your project account will show some legitimacy.

It’s ok to make mistakes and it’s ok to fail. Your marketing and communication strategy will play a huge part in building trust, and then in keeping it. Plan for the best and plan for the worst. It’ll take “luck” out of your brand’s reputation.

To discuss strategy, communications, and marketing for your blockchain project, reach out to us on LinkedIn or email [email protected]

Anna Simmonds
Anna Simmonds

Anna, Chief Growth Officer, has spent over a decade in digital marketing and has been part of Social INK since 2017. She builds strategic campaigns focused on growth and community engagement for Social INK’s clients.