Using PR to Demystify Blockchain

Blockchain is a definite buzzword of today. It’s thrown about in every conversation from the depths of The City, to down at your local pub. It’s even managed to sneak its way into national tabloids and the advert breaks during this year’s World Cup and there are claims it could solve the Irish border issue. With this in mind, the chances are the majority of people have heard of it in some capacity, but a lot of people actually don’t know what it is, or how it works.

Blockchain technology has actually been around in some form for decades, but now some very clever people have been able to harness it to be used in a variety of ways, most notably in cryptocurrency. However, the important thing to note is that although crypto and blockchain go hand-in-hand, they are not the same thing, and that crypto is actually just one of the applications of blockchain technology. TechCrunch said it best in this article that blockchain is 10,000 on the nerd scale, and this means businesses using blockchain are struggling more, as it takes people longer to comprehend the technology being used and what it can specifically do, especially if you’re an early-stage business.

So…how does it all work?

Getting down to the tech, blockchain is a digital ledger capable of recording transactions in a permanent and transparent way, secured by cryptography. To put it plainly, it’s a way of recording data so its accuracy cannot be disputed and its security cannot be compromised, as once a block is complete, it cannot be edited again, which ensures the high levels of security.

As well as a ledger for digital currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are a number of areas where blockchain technology can be used. For example, import and export businesses could use it to verify the contents and quantity of shipments, accounting solutions could also use it to secure their offerings and increase efficiency, as laid out by Palette Software here, and applications for new-build real estate and vehicle purchasing are already in early stage pilot schemes. In short, blockchain technology is complicated, but its applications further than cryptocurrency could really improve security and efficiency across a wide sector of industry.

How can a clear and effective PR strategy help?

Many of those currently running companies using blockchain technology, including those in the cryptosphere, have been put off wider outreach after seeing negative responses from social media giants like Twitter and traditional publications having a reluctance to engage. However, this does not mean that companies should avoid PR and marketing altogether; in fact, it’s the complete opposite. One of the main anchor points of a successful ICO and a company’s growth in general is awareness. PR and marketing are key to a brand having awareness, and when the same approach is taken in early stage blockchain companies, the results can be just as beneficial.

Getting to know your USP

In terms of media relations, although there are cases of journalists and outlets refusing to cover news on ICOs or cryptocurrencies, this is mainly due to the sheer volume of coins trying to get off the ground, and the scandals that have engrossed the industries around scams and fake tokens. If companies focus on what makes them unique and different, and the problems that they will solve, rather than just trying to flog their ICO at their “pre-launch rates”, they have a much better chance of a positive reception from the media. The team is also a vital part of the PR process, so it’s always preferable to have a senior team or even advisors who have experience in the sector you’re trying to bring blockchain too, or finance in general if you are a currency offering.

Be a leader

Another PR tactic to bear in mind is the power of thought leadership, and the way that this can be enhanced by the experience of your team. It’s always a great idea to anchor the reputation of the leadership by putting them forward as an authority in the space. This is something any reputable PR should implement quickly in a strategy, as it enables your company to lead the voice of your industry and bolster the validity of your product/service.

Overall, ICOs, startups and companies implementing blockchain should not be afraid to highlight their use of the tech for fear of being ‘lumped in’ with questionable coins or the worry that the tech is too complicated for people to understand. PR is vital in helping to distill the jargon and complexities down to your consumer base, developing an awareness of your product and bolstering the reputation and validity of your company.