Expert Speak: Cryptocurrency – Marketing crypto without marketing crypto
Brand custodians and agency leaders outline the current scenario that surrounds marketing crypto – the regulatory framework around advertising, consumer sentiments, and more.
Despite being in the infant phase in the country, Cryptocurrency is currently booming as a financial instrument and a topic of discussion. India reportedly has the highest number of crypto owners in the world accounting for an estimate of 10 Cr investors. This has also opened avenues for several Fintech companies and advertising opportunities for marketing crypto.
The financial value of Bitcoin and Tweet Volume around Bitcoin have grown hand in hand, substantially since 2013. Questions such as whether the financial instrument is a currency or a product for investment, that defines the core value of the instrument, have also been stemming.
Educating the consumers has been one of the integral objectives in marketing crypto brands and here we explore how crypto brands in India are marketing their products and services by educating consumers with engaging and entertaining formats. The regulatory framework around restrictions on advertising has also evolved for cryptocurrency. ASCI released new guidelines for advertising digital financial instruments such as cryptocurrency and NFTs, such as all communications must include a mandatory disclaimer describing the nature of the product. The experts illustrate how one engages in marketing crypto without actually ‘marketing crypto’.
- Navonil Chatterjee, Joint President & CSO, Rediffusion
- Ramalingam Subramanian – Head Brand, Marketing & Communications at CoinDCX
- Bhagaban Behera, CEO & Co-founder of Defy
- Darshan Bathija, Co-founder & CEO, Vauld
- Jyothirmayee JT, Founder & CEO, Hiveminds
The Present-Day Scenario
Darshan Bathija, Co-founder & CEO, Vauld mentions crypto marketing has been exciting for customers lately with the creator economy giving a big push to Web 3.0, the NFT world, and Facebook rebranding to Meta has also affected the consumer sentiment. He believes as long as the brand is creating value and not treading the line of stepping on someone’s nerve, regulatory guidelines do not necessarily limit communication opportunities.
“We’re past the question of why crypto should be part of the portfolio, channels are irrelevant, communication is important” – Darshan Bathija, Co-founder & CEO, Vauld
Bhagaban Behera, CEO & Co-founder of Defy shares that the brand is currently advertising in a constrained way and educating people is the focus now. He thinks brands can propose crypto as a long-term investment, highlight risks and rewards, and discard the ‘get rich quick scheme’ image that crypto has, along with building self-learning properties.
A group of crypto brands have banded together and decided not to advertise in IPL till the guidelines and overall course of action have been solidified. Ramalingam Subramanian – Head Brand, Marketing & Communications at CoinDCX states the introduction of ASCI guidelines has been a welcome move and not doing IPL has been a choice.
Jyothirmayee JT, Founder & CEO, Hiveminds, shares that there are certain discrepancies with the guidelines.
The use of certain terms is prohibited but transparency is expected out of crypto brands – Jyothirmayee JT, Founder & CEO, Hiveminds
She adds that 5 of the campaigns showcased during the Super Bowl are a testament to the growing popularity of the instrument, but then it works differently in India, the country has a lot of people trading, but with less amount, whereas its the opposite in the US.
Navonil Chatterjee, Joint President & CSO, Rediffusion mentions that the crypto space has been like a biblical paradise, with cryptocurrency being the forbidden fruit, it is loved even more. “Alcohol is alcohol, but on a dry day it tastes and smells a little better”. He also adds that pragmatism and taxation to it negatively impact its love and demand.
Chatterjee states that advertising has had iconic phases such as the FMCG takeover, cola wars, and introductory phase of technology with telecom and mobile handsets, currently that’s moved to fantasy gaming, but soon it will be dominated by crypto brands.
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Bhagaban shares Cryptocurrency is still a new ecosystem, influencers and experts can help educate the common man. It is a rapidly evolving space, brands need to constantly educate, build trust, build a community around their product, and highlight what’s in it for them for the long term.
Ramalingam shares, “If I don’t educate, then I don’t have the right to acquire”. A level of awareness is needed to eliminate confusion amongst consumers, which can be achieved with a communication-first strategy.
Darshan shares they operate with slightly different demographics as they come at a later point in the hierarchy of needs and are typically not the first point of contact, and their target audience is slightly older than usual company consumers, He shares that crypto in India is behaving like an asset, not a currency, and brands need to build trust for crypto by associating with the right regulators, investors, and voices that cater to relevant demographics.
Jyothirmayee shares that creative agencies do adapt, and figure out a channel or medium to communicate with a regular audience. “When it has to do anything with money or asset, trust is the foremost factor in communication, and the communication will evolve with regulation and consumers.”
Navonil shares that the best way to do this new age tactic is to go back to the past and learn from it. Learn from the Baba Ramdev way of brand building, how he only promoted a healthy lifestyle by teaching Yoga first, and invested in it, before selling products. “You have to invest in it, and not just talk about it. Crack a joke and then people think you’re funny, they won’t think you’re funny if you just say it. Trust will come for credibility”.
Bhagaban shares brands can build trust through referral activities and educating in engaging formats such as reels and memes because consumers no longer read blogs or watch hour-long webinars. “Consumers want to get educated without realizing they’re getting educated,” he concludes.