Our earlier post detailed key steps to identify your audiences, create differentiated messaging and focus on building and maintaining trust to successfully communicate an ICO. Let’s now focus our attention to timing, planning and execution in the second part of this series.
Develop a Three-Pronged Timeline
The path to ICO is not a short or simple process. It can take months of preparation and planning for a company to ready itself, especially if the organization does not have the requisite resources and staffing in place for such an undertaking. As such, companies should begin to map out a timeline and develop corresponding communications strategies for each period in advance. Planning is absolutely critical with any big move or initiative and an ICO is no exception.
A suggested timeline can be broken down into the following phases:
- Pre-ICO Period (6-9 months)
- ICO Token Selling Period, Including Pre-Sale (1-2 months)
- Post-ICO Period (1 month)
Each of these phases includes its own set of technical and detailed deadlines and events, so a communications strategy that accounts for each will help your company stay ahead of the game.
Pre-ICO Period Communications
A strong communications campaign during the pre-ICO period can help ensure your company gets on the radar of the media, potential investors, analysts and influencers well in advance of your offering.
Your strategic communications plan should be developed as soon as the decision is made to pursue an ICO, especially if your company does not have an existing strategy in place. Before positioning your company in front of potential investors, you want to craft the story you want to tell to connect with the public. Identify key spokespeople and the individual(s) who will be the face of your company going forward.
When detailing your value proposition and key differentiators, analyze your closest competitors to get a better sense of what they are doing as well as position your organization in ways that stand out. These considerations should be part of your day-to-day communications plan, and become significantly more magnified with a potential ICO on the horizon.
Other communication necessities before your ICO include crafting and distributing a white paper, creating a company overview video, writing articles, pursuing media interviews, and developing a well-constructed social media plan for both posting and engaging with followers.
ICO Token Selling Communications
While strategic communications are critical in each phase of the ICO process, the token selling period is often the most hectic.
There are two critical communications points to consider here:
- Have your initial efforts laid a successful groundwork prior to the launch?
- Do your website, whitepaper, and other marketing accurately reflect your company, why you are different and your plans for the future?
If your communications team did their job in the pre-ICO phase, then potential investors, the media and the public will have a sense of your company’s story before you launch. Ideally, they will have a fundamental understanding about your company’s mission and growth potential because you’ve used the media, blogs, bloggers and other centers of influence as vehicles to communicate with the public.
Your token launch is your company’s chance to effectively communicate how you fit into the broader marketplace and why investors should believe in your firm long-term. Ahead of the ICO launch, make sure you have a designated spokesperson and that you are well-prepared with talking points and messaging for key questions that will undoubtedly be asked in media interviews. It is critical that your company spokespeople are properly media trained and know how to control the message as much as possible. This is also where you’ll want to convey the unique angles about your company’s history, leadership and approach, so the media is equipped to help set your firm apart from competitors.
Post-ICO Period Communications
A common communications mistake occurs when companies fail to capitalize on the work that’s been done and the positive momentum after the initial coin offering occurs. Your communications strategy should continue past the ICO to ensure your company stays relevant once the initial excitement fades.
Take advantage of the connections and relationships you’ve developed with reporters throughout the process. Make a point to keep them informed about key company announcements and performance. Offer to be a resource to provide commentary on broader industry trends whenever possible. As your company grows, look to expand your media relations initiatives to target new publications and reporters.
Many of the strategies and tactics used during the ICO process can continue to be implemented as you work to fine tune your investor relations efforts going forward. The bottom line — communications initiatives should continue long after an ICO.
Assess your Company’s Communications Capabilities
When developing your company’s communications strategy, part of the process should be assessing whether or not your current team is equipped to manage the demands that come with this process.
While your internal communications and marketing teams may have handled other public relations and outreach initiatives without issue in the past, an ICO will present an entirely new set of challenges. This includes working with national financial and business media, managing interview requests and developing appropriate messaging and talking points for each, as well as establishing the necessary infrastructure and processes for your investor relations program going forward.
This will require more time, strategy and expertise than your day-to-day communications efforts prior to the ICO, so you may want to consider a strategic partner with experience in this area to help manage your needs.
A company’s communications strategy and the messages conveyed to the public about the organization’s value proposition, leadership, past performance and growth potential, can mean the difference between a wildly successful ICO and a disappointing debut. If your company has plans to hold an ICO in the future, make sure the implementation of a detailed communications plan (that includes the “must haves” we addressed) is a key discussion point in the boardroom with senior management and the communications team.
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