Creating a brand-product ecosystem for blockchain
player Lisk

Since 2017

Keywords: Stakeholder understanding,
corporate visioning, brand identity,
marketing strategy, communication planning,
corporate development, organizational culture

The quick read
Blockchain is the new, community based digital infrastructure that offers a myriad of opportunities to create great use cases. Yet for most people, its mechanisms and benefits are hard to understand. Lisk's idea is to develop and establish a platform that allows non-experts to build apps based on this technology very easily. Lisk appointed Rlevance to undertake our human-centered process to help communicate this idea and to professionalize their organization. Grounded by an extensive user and expert research, we developed a value proposition and brand identity that was authentic for Lisk’s aspirations, meaningful and relevant for Lisk’s various stakeholder groups, and differentiated from other blockchain projects. Based on it we created a marketing strategy, guided agencies producing communication material, and helped the young team to define values that govern their daily internal collaboration.


Phase One: Brand Identity
Blockchain is regarded by many as the next internet. Often termed web 3.0, the decentralized infrastructure provides unprecedented security and transparency for all kinds of transactions, allowing for more immediate interactions between people. It is predicted that it will have an impact on the digital sphere equal to the one of the web 2.0 which offered the possibility for everyone to publish, flipping existing models upside down. Lisk wants to open up the potential of this technology to everyone, providing a platform that makes it easy for many people to build useful applications. Rlevance was brought in to develop a brand identity that would guide a wide range of Lisk’s corporate activities, helping Lisk to become the go-to platform for building and managing blockchain apps (decentralized apps, Dapps), and through that, enable the widespread adoption of blockchain technology.

Due to the nature of the technology, there exists a complex ecosystem of stakeholders with diverse goals, expectations, and capabilities. This is why Rlevance developed a research process to understand the needs of these stakeholders. First, we dug deep into the needs of blockchain developers and created an online discussion group with developers from around the globe. During the week-long exchange, we talked about goals, expectations and their view on Lisk’s aspirations. To broaden the perspective, we conducted multiple one-on-one interviews with blockchain experts from a wide range of backgrounds, such as investment, large corporations, and entrepreneurship. To uncover the hidden potential of Lisk, we conducted a series of workshops and interviews with the founders of Lisk, Oliver Beddows and Max Kordek. 

We then consolidated the knowledge from this learning journey and fed the insights into a co-creative workshop with Lisk’s founders. Together we created the Lisk brand vision that acts as a guiding star for how Lisk relates to relevant stakeholders, what benefits it brings to them, and how it differentiates from other blockchain projects. The vision's ultimate goal is helping to foster long-lasting, meaningful relationships with stakeholders.  

The brand vision helped to bundle Lisk’s various offerings into a real product ecosystem, thereby providing utility to their disparate stakeholders. It served as guidance for entrepreneurial decision making thus freeing up the management, and provided a sense of pride and purpose to the Lisk team members. Last but not least it informed the work of design agency Taikonauten responsible for the visual identity. The new brand vision continues to help guide Lisk into the future.


Phase Two: Marketing Strategy
In the second phase of our partnership, we supported Lisk to communicate their efforts. This involved bringing Lisk’s vision to life: to help the widespread adoption of blockchain technology. From the brand vision, we extracted two main topics: Empowering and Inspiring. They eventually fed into an attitude that we wanted to communicate: "Lisk is empowering developers and entrepreneurs alike to create a large variety of useful blockchain applications", and "Lisk is inspiring anyone with great use cases". 

Among other measures, this resulted in a collaboration between, Lisk, Rlevance and creative film production Element E. Together we conceived the video “Create the Future”, which was premiered at the Lisk launch event beginning of 2018. Finally, we supported Lisk in their mid-term marketing planning around brand and product milestones. 


Phase Three: Internal branding and organizational culture
Successful visions are carried from inside out. It is the people in the organization that bring the new vision to life. To this end, and especially as such a fast-growing team, Lisk needed an organizational culture that offered orientation to new hires and helped to guide internal and external behaviors.

This was based on two elements: ideals and values of the founders, and a translation of the brand identity into behavior. In a multi-staged process, we worked out five principles with the founders that would guide behavior in daily collaboration and interaction. These principles were introduced to the complete Lisk team in an internal event that also yielded a range of ideas to improve the organization further. 

This way, Rlevance created the basis for a robust and future-proof organizational culture, by developing a new and motivational framework that empowers employees to work decisively.

Rlevance helped us tremendously defining our brand identity, focussing the benefits of our product and service ecosystem, and creating a solid marketing strategy.

Max Kordek

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