Discussion: Marketing, Exposure, Clear Communications

Hello everybody, I would rather use the ICON Community Forum over Twitter as it brings about stronger discussion and more colorful opinions. To begin, I have noticed an uptick in the tweets, videos, AMAs and communication between Scott, Ricky and Min towards ICONists and P-Reps, I’m very happy to see that. However, it is important to note a few things and maybe I am looking at this strictly from a monetary perspective. First, we’re number 79 on Coinmarketcap and the excuse that we aren’t rising in price because other alts aren’t rising is no longer a valid argument. Now I’m not expecting for us to artificially pump, nor would I want that in the least because, as we saw with Dogecoin for example, what comes up will come down just as fast, however, I can name many cryptocurrencies that have risen exponentially and pass their ATH’s in recent months that lack the fundamentals ICON has, now I don’t expect a stark increase from ICON in such an erratic way, but I never would have expected seeing us at a 79 position on Coinmarketcap. Secondly, though I see initiatives to increase communication, the communication between Foundation and community is often accompanied by ambiguities towards marketing and increased communication/clarity of positions between the community and Foundation . We have other projects, now I’m not saying one size fits all, but in a niche asset class, it is EXTREMELY important to outpace our competitors, ICON has done this in three major respects, COVID Tracing, digital identification and governmental clarity, which are massive components of the success of ICON. However, I am watching as our competitors, being Luna, Polkadot and Cosmos taking massive amounts of market-share, being listed on Coinbase, when we just released Rosetta today (a prerequisite to Coinbase listings). I appreciate the Foundation, but I don’t like the consistent ambiguous communication and a lack of a clear marketing and exposure strategy from the Foundation to the community to finally put this at rest. If there are NDA’s, tell the community, if there is a clear marketing plan, it isn’t even necessary to highlight the details, but tell us, I know its not obligatory but it breeds community loyalty. ICON raised 45 million in their ICO and now, that number, given Ethereum’s rise, has risen to over 110 million dollars. I hate to say it, but even though price increase is one of the greatest marketing tactics, that marketing tactic only exists to the point that we continue to rise. Thoughts would be great!

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Let’s start simple. Could we get more clarity around the foundations plans?
Could we get someone to monitor these forums regularly and actually respond so we can drive these conversations off twitter on to here.
Franky we should get the answers here and twitter should be used to tell everyone what’s happening. Right now the only way we can get a response is tagging everyone on twitter… not the way we should be seen.

I would like to see the foundation give monthly updates on what they are doing and a break up of how the rewards are being used.
The community is really reaching out and wants clarity, we hope the above is not seen as attacks but rather people wanting clarity so we can all go in the right direction.
If we know there will be a huge marketing push with icon 2.0 then many on the preps who focus on marketing can combine efforts and put through proposels via cps and work with the foundation to ensure it is successful. But we need someone to respond first. @Benny_Options can’t be across everything. Heck I am sure even if we are given a 30 min session a day with someone from the foundation we can take all the pressing issues to them from these forums and get answers back to the community. Me or @CoreyC Corey would be happy to run through the forums and take it up with a nominated representative from the foundation in order to save time.
@minhx @ricky_dodds @Benny_Options
My comments are really about speeding up communication around anything bought to this fourm.

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Exactly my thoughts, you spoke it! I have voiced similar concerns months and months ago, repeatedly only to be ban and silenced from telegram groups. I agree with you 100% completely. ICON needs proper communication on what’s next. I am in the process of unstaking my largest bag of ICX now.

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^ True words Fezbox. Thank you for your input my friend.

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Thanks Corey, I am becoming SO frustrated by the whole issue.

Question: Icon 2.0 (Batang was announced in Sept. last year) - only today I did I read a tweet by Min that the test net is up & running - but: only formulated as a one sentence answer after having been previously asked, almost as an afterthought. WHY is this not being announced more broadly, WHY do I keep seeing people having to ask about things? Why isn‘t it seemingly not possible to stoke some enthusiasm? Are we dealing with some kind of calvinism or puritanical leaning? Or is it a mixture of ignorance & arrogance?

Here‘s another example: https://twitter.com/moisese48192045/status/1355785765687590914?s=21

Asking about IconFi on Twitter a user receives this answer (by another user):

„ the product is good but like everything on icx without marketing nobody knows it = little use.
it’s like that for almost everything $icx #icx

WHY does this seem a common notion? I just don‘t compute. After years & years, I‘m beginning to look for alternatives to Icon, because I just find the lackluster communication not only annoying but increasingly I have the feeling that we as the „Cryptocrowd“ are being looked down upon, not worthy of…

Does the Iconfoundation not grasp the concept of Public Relations - of steering communication and gossip, strategically managing & influencing what is going on out there? Are they not interested in dispersing FUD and proactively setting agendas?

Why is their great technology not being accompanied by first class communication campaigns? It’s like sowing a super gene-tech seed but not watering it. Min et al. surely are super intelligent & high-striving actors, but why isn‘t it apparent to them that more must be done to communicate their products? Why does there seem to be a blind spot?

Even here in this forum communication as a topic doesn‘t exist as one of the main categories. It should though! Public Relations is of top level importance and - in all major & successful companies - is considered a make or break factor and thus is a matter of top level directive.

best regards,

Ben

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I have been following ICX since ICO and I always stand by the team and project as fundamentally the project is as sound as it gets. Like I mentioned in my Tweet, I hate to be dipping into this age old discussion around marketing because I always go against my emotions at times and trust that the foundation have a larger plan at play here. By raising this I feel guilty that it’s almost FUD-like, not my usual retweet and promote ICX as much as possible but the longer this ambiguity around marketing exists, the harder it becomes to make sense of the reasoning for it.

They’re smart guys, they wouldn’t underestimate the importance of marketing, or on the flipside, they’d be smart enough to look at regular discussions like these objectively and think “perhaps we should look at ramping things up a bit”. Perhaps there is a master marketing plan and they’re waiting for ICON 2.0 launch to go full steam ahead. Or maybe they’re full steam ahead marketing the best they can now. In which case portraying some more enthusiasm in Tweets etc. and a bit more frequently wouldn’t go a miss.

But I am struggling to think of a reason why these questions haven’t been addressed properly. Just some clarity is all the community needs. Even if we’re told that they aren’t really able to discuss marketing because of some legal or regulatory reason, or they’re under strict NDA’s with most of their success stories or whatever! Just something to explain the foundations plans regarding this subject.

@Ben-Kenobi, you mentioned something in your response which resonated with me which was the that longer this goes on, the more it feels as if the community are looked down upon, not owed an explanation, we’re just people who bough ICX hoping to get rich, we will come and go. The fact that I, such a big believer is feeling this says a lot IMO.

We are not owed anything at the end of the day but a strong community will help alongside efforts made by the leaders. Neglecting to seize the opportunity to nurture a passionate community and address common concerns speaks volumes - it creates a sense of “so what?”.

On the human side of things too, we’re all people who believe in this project and if you’re like me, have invested a sizeable amount of money into it. The anxiety felt from seeing the project slide down CMC is real for us, the lack of communication regarding marketing creates real anxiety in our lives regardless of the size of investment, nobody likes to see this. I really hope the team address this, not that they’re obligated to, but because they care.

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Hey @Paddy good to see you here! I hope you’re doing well. I appreciate your thoughts and hope to provide as much color as I can on your points. One quick ask: going forward, would it be possible to bring these sorts of topics here instead of other channels? Just tag me, I follow these threads.

First, let’s talk about what ICON is currently doing and then we can go into plans etc.

As you may be aware, ICON contracted with Transform group several months ago to help with our PR efforts in the space. Currently, ICON pays roughly 8k a month for their services in addition to a delegation grant for their node. Transform group mainly focuses on drafting press releases, thought leadership pieces, outreach to media and coordinating with podcasters, youtubers. Etc. We have weekly calls with their team where we discuss new items, and strategy for the week/month ahead.

Since having them come on board I think we’ve seen some decent improvement in the frequency of ICON mentions in the press (although note we are paying for press releases in most cases). Has it been a home run? No. Has it been helpful to this point? I think so. Could it be better? Absolutely, without question.

That’s where we sit today with formal/contractual PR efforts.

Moving ahead, there are a number of things tee’d up to test (pending approval) such as paid ads on crypto focused podcasts/channels/websites, sponsored content/project updates, and interviews. These are mainly for exposure, and to add new users (wallet downloads etc). Not specifically for developers.
Potential topics include: ICON 2.0, BTP, Staking, CPS, New ecosystem developments, etc.

Additionally, I know of product specific campaigns that will be launching soon. I don’t have specific dates yet but I imagine you’ll be hearing soon from projects like ICONFi, Balanced, OMM, and others who will likely promote heavily to start. Again, probably using similar mediums as above and again mainly for users.

Lastly, we are also exploring Tiktok, clubhouse and other apps to gather interest and engagement.

On the developer side, as previously mentioned, we are actively looking to hire someone as a developer advocate/lead to drive further engagement in the dev ecosystem. This a key focus area that we want to grow. We are in later discussions on this front and hope to have someone in this capacity shortly. Assuming we get someone soon we’ll be in a really good position to push out campaigns specifically targeted to developers months ahead of launch (demos/education, evangelizing, hackathons etc).

And later in the year (pending COVID concerns) we also hope to have a developer focused conference in Korea to bridge both corporate and crypto communities. Stay tuned there.

There are a lot of things in the works and it’s not going to be the status quo. Thanks again for the thoughts/comments & let me know if you have further questions.

Thanks for other responses here as well, all. If you want to get involved or have ideas, let me know. Reach out directly on tg: doddric

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Hi Ricky, thanks for responding on this. Noted, will pick up on here rather than Twitter, although the number of likes and retweets that got in comparison to my usual goes to show it is a shared thought process amongst many.

I do have a few questions regarding the above. You mention moving ahead with paid ads etc. what is the approval process you mention, I am assuming approval for allocation of funds for such promotion? There seems to be a narrative in the space that Icon doesn’t believe or see a value in marketing so with this in mind and in your personal opinion, are these likely to be approved? If not, what would be the most likely reasoning be for not being approved, lack of funds, not good enough ROI etc.

All of the promotions you mentioned to attract new users and developers, are these being explored as a reactive measure from community feedback/lack of outsider awareness? Or were these always on the cards, part of a larger marketing timeline as such? If so, are they to purposefully coincide with the ICON 2.0 launch or is it just by chance the timelines have married up?

Who is in charge of marketing and is that their sole purpose or is it s split role with other focusses?

Rather than spending the time answering these sorts of queries in the forum, would it not be better and more impactful if you used what you have written above and put together an article to share with the broader community to put these concerns to rest? If not, why?

Apologies for the barrage of questions, I’m keen to get a better idea on the inner workings as these sort of thing are not shared publicly.

Small thing form me:

  • ICON Newsletter shared on Twitter is great. In that newsletter there are always main points at the top. I think these should also be in the body of the tweet when sharing the article as I wonder just how many people actually click to open it, I suspect those that do will be the ones that already follow ICON religiously anyway, so people not in the know would not see anything that exciting to incentivise them to have a closer look and open the link.

Thank again for the response, it’s very much appreciated. I’ll wait to hear from you on the new questions.

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@CoreyC
To your first point, nobody is happy that ICON is slipping in ranking. ICON and the team collectively have a significant amount of money invested in ICX, so I can assure you that price action and ranking are things we all care about very much.

To your second point, I’d say Ricky covered a lot of good stuff but I’ll add a few things. I’ve been doing a lot of work on lining up partners for BTP, speaking to large investors about the upcoming DeFi products on ICON, and trying to find as many opportunities as possible for cross-community promotion to help grow the ICON community, grow our exposure, and grow our number of allies. Overall, finding more allies and aligning us with other communities has been a top initiative to kick off 2021 for the core ICON contributors. Sharing specifics on a public forum would be a bit unprofessional (especially if some of the talks didn’t materialize) but am happy to share general direction.

@Fezbox
I’m sorry you feel responsiveness in the forum isn’t quick enough. If you feel something isn’t getting answered, feel free to DM me and I’ll see what I can do. I will continue to monitor these boards closely as well and as Ricky said, just tag me to make sure I see it. If you want 30 minutes of my day each day all you need to do is DM me on telegram with any questions you may have.

For how ICON spends their rewards, check out the monthly grant reports and you can also dig through the grants section here on the forum to see what’s been approved. Now that the grant program is on hold, rewards are being saved for the CPS and used to pay ongoing grant obligations.

As for what ICON is doing, check out the monthly tech updates on medium for what’s being worked on.

If you’re looking for updates not mentioned in the blog posts (which I’m assuming you are because I bet you’ve already looked at both of those previous posts), just let me know what your questions are. The best way to get in touch with me and get the fastest response is a DM on telegram, feel free to reach out anytime. Many community members chat with me on telegram regularly. You can also ask questions here and I’ll answer. And as you already know, ICON is bringing back the monthly AMAs.

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Thank you for that informative response,

You recall that you pay $8000 monthly to transform group to draft press releases. I would like to share my humble opinion on this matter that I have not seen an increase in press releases for ICON in news outlets.

The only press releases I am seeing are ones headlining ICONLOOP and not ICON. For example (many others but i didn’t want to over-cloud) :

Unfortunately, I cannot find any media source in recent times headlining ICON, and in the above articles ICON is not even mentioned.

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ICON should hire VaynerMedia for marketing ICON 2.0 and the upcoming DeFi projects.
They have great reach for a young audience, in young platforms.
Gary Vaynerchuk can single-handedly carry the marketing for ICON.

When our FIAT on-ramp platform is finalized, audited and trusted, it will be EASY to captivate the youth to get in on ICON DeFi.
We just have to show them how easy it will be to deposit and withdraw directly to a bank / Paypal / CashApp / Venmo.

Hell, if we could get listed on Robinhood we would probably moon harder than getting listed on Coinbase. Why? Because it’s clear that ICON plans on targeting NEW people to crypto, NOT grabbing from other projects.
If we plan on grabbing normies into crypto, we have to BE on normie’s platforms.

Food for thought @minhx

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If a P-Rep makes a Proposal to use Vaynermedia as our marketing agent using CPS funds, I’m pretty sure it would get approved. Even if it’s a lot. I would even contribute with a donation if needed.

Obviously it would be nice having the Foundation take this initiative.

@Benny_Options, I see you liked my comment, do you agree / think it’s something we should push towards?

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Great point!! and this is exactly what we need to focus on. Cps gives us a bit more power to push on as a collective group. and this is just it, let’s look forward, i know easier said then done, as there is history, but again with all the revisions coming we now have the tools to push forward in a decentralized way.

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I totally agree, someone also noted how chainlink got a lot of attention after hiring a specific PR team…

It seems like transform group hasn’t got the new-gen type of reach

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Thanks for the response Benny.

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I have deleted and banned ToddPacker for disrespectful/unnecessary comments and making multiple false statements against the foundation. If you see him lurking around. Please let the admins know.

Please stick to facts and keep the conversation respectful to all members. If you are going make accusations, please provide evidence, not theories. Thank you.

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I actually really like GaryV (for the most part) haha I follow him on Instagram it was cool to see somebody else who was familiar.

Generally speaking the direction you’re proposing is what we’re going for. Making products with UX prioritized then growing the target market. Once Bridge and other products are live and stable it would be a good time to look into advertising channels that are more focused toward the general public

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Yes this is a really cool option, but I would like this strategy to be in place before balanced is released.
We cannot wait around after the release to make promotion deals, competition is getting steep and the hype is here now, who knows what the hype will be in the very near future.

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Sure - always happy to help. Typically the approval process is similar to the public grant process. So simply put, someone would need to put together a memo outlining the initiative and the respective costs/KPIs and have that approved. Personally, I think we can move forward pretty easily. We want to iterate on the approach so having just one party helping us doesn’t make as much sense. And getting more help is always great!

To your second question, I’ve been speaking with marketing/PR groups since November about new campaigns, so it’s been in the cards for a while now. Everything is still fluid, so once its locked in, I’ll be sure to let you know. Additionally, I’d like to point out that this is something any community member could do. If someone feels strongly about a particular focus area, they should put together a detailed proposal and present it for consideration here in the forum. A community-led effort would be awesome to see!

On the next point, I assume you mean for the ICON Foundation or are you talking about ICONLOOP? Sometimes I get the feeling like individuals equate them as the same team/entity. So just want to make sure. Fwiw, ICONLOOP has it’s own team which handles releases, media, collateral etc and we just help w/ english translation and distribution for the most part. And sadly, they are at the mercy of their enterprise/govnt. clients so timing releases/prepping materials/generating hype is a bit more difficult given they don’t control the release of info. Additionally, we’re typically brought in very late mostly to help w/ western distribution.

People who work for the ICON project on a contractual basis typically operate in a very flat environment and wear many hats. There is no “head of marketing” like you would see at a traditional company who manages ads, creative content, comms, digital, social etc. Those responsibilities are carried by multiple individuals. But we are looking to potentially add a social/digital lead - which would be nice!

On the last point, I feel like this gets addressed periodically via different mediums (Twitter, Reddit, Telegram and now here). But I never really thought it would need to be addressed formally via a medium post. If this isn’t sufficient, let me know. Happy to think about drafting something up.

(sorry typing this on my phone so if I missed a question just let me know)

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Hello Iconists,

I’m quite new to the ICON community and like most, I’m a firm invested believer in this project because it has the substance to be one of the most successful blockchain communities. Decentralisation is inherent in blockchain technology therefore new challenges in management can arise since we have grown very accustomed to centralisation in various systems and fields. I will like to help towards the marketing of the brand.

My focus will be to create a hub for high quality digital content and campaigns for everything related to ICON. There will be a stringent effort towards maintaining the design ethos when developing media strategies that will help facilitate engagement on various platforms.

I will be happy to make a proposal towards this end.

A little bit about myself. I am a motion designer and have worked for various brands including Nissan, SEGA, Capcom, Santander, Adidas to name a few. My partner is an Art director and together we have over 25years experience in creating and delivering value to our clients.

I will rely on support for ensuring consistencies as I am still educating myself on cryptocurrencies and blockchain but will gladly step up to make the marketing push we need.

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