MIP39c2-SP9: Strategic Marcomms Core Unit

Preamble

MIP39c2-SP: 9
Author: Kathleen Chu 
Contributors: Sahabia Yakubu, Kaori Sato, Francesco Alberti, Nathan Kim
Status: Request For Comment (RFC)
Date Applied: 2021-03-25
Date Ratified: <yyyy-mm-dd>

Specification

Motivation

The MakerDAO community is energetic and highly engaged, thanks to the core community’s concerted efforts and initiatives. The unit recognizes that reaching new audiences and users is vital for Dai’s mass adoption. Based on that conclusion, the unit is formed to be dedicated to outreach.

We are proposing this unit to the DAO because it delivers the following:

  • A clear, consistent, and coordinated communication across key channels
  • A cohesive global branding with a strong focus on marketing strategy tailored for each major regions that match the needs suitable for each stage of growth in Dai adoption

The core unit plays an essential role in helping the general public, or those outside the core community, learn about MakerDAO as it enters the next growth phase. The unit builds on the recognition MakerDAO has gained in the cryptocurrency space and expands into the mainstream.

  • The strategic communications portion protects the credibility of MakerDAO by providing an accurate understanding of MakerDAO, and clear and consistent messaging
  • The unit highlights milestones and provides information in a language that anyone can understand.
  • The marketing component ensures a continuation of marketing activity to push Dai adoption further and increase the visibility of MakerDAO.
  • The unit will focus on localized and tailor-made marketing efforts in each key region.

As the Maker Foundation dissolves, more information and clarity will be required during this period of change.

  • The DAO needs a team with ample experience and a proven track record to ensure a smooth transition through coherent communication to the general public and regional communities.
  • The unit will also jumpstart the marketing efforts without delays to further expand the MakerDAO ecosystem. The team consists of individuals that have persistently demonstrated their ability to achieve results.

Core Unit Name

Strategic Marcomms Core Unit

Core Unit Mandate

Consistent and strategic branding strengthens the name of MakerDAO and creates value. The team filters out the complexity of MakerDAO and makes information easy to digest for our targeted audience. The unit’s expertise in branding and communication is vital for a decentralized organization such as MakerDAO.

It increases the visibility of Dai and promotes Dai adoption through the following mandate:

  • Represent the interests of the MakerDAO community
  • Help people understand the benefits of Dai by providing educational content and events
  • Plan, initiate and execute marketing and community activities on behalf of the project
  • Be the point of contact for major media across the globe
  • Facilitate interviews with MakerDAO facilitators and relevant contributors to create value through PR strategies
  • Inherit and manage key social media platforms, MakerDAO’s homepage, and blog
  • Adapt and modify strategy as needed (localization, hypothesis validation discovery, legal climate change, etc.)

Core Responsibilities

The list below contains the scope of work the unit covers. Please note that it is not in the order of importance.

Communications

  • Provide clear messaging and communicate effectively with mainstream media
  • Create value through PR strategies, including earned media from reputable online news outlets, YouTube channels, and podcasts
  • Be the point of contact for the mainstream media

Marketing and Social Media

  • Conduct marketing campaigns to raise the awareness of Dai
  • Manage the official social media platforms for MakerDAO such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
  • Promote latest partnerships with Growth Unit and other teams
  • Coordinate with other core units and the community in promoting Dai

Events

  • Strategize our event involvement (virtual & in-person)
  • Assess event sponsorship opportunities and commit resources to those aligned with our strategy
  • Personal participation at the most relevant events to represent MakerDAO and strengthen our network
  • Expand offline presence through local events (directly, via partners, or ambassadors)
  • Provide lead generation for Growth or other CUs

Localization

  • Calibrate our strategy to match the needs, culture, and the stage of Dai awareness in specific regions
  • Use the most popular social media and communication channels to establish and grow local communities and run local campaigns
  • Translate content (video, text, etc.) about MakerDAO in key markets
  • Collaborate with those who share the same vision with MakerDAO, including local institutions, associations, and advocates
  • Identify local passionate and talented MakerDAO supporters and onboard them as ambassadors

Market Research and Analysis

  • Research and analyze data gathered to gauge the effectiveness of the unit and adjust as needed
  • Gather sentiment around Maker and Dai and convey it to the DAO

Programs

The unit adopts a bottom-up approach where the unit’s regional expertise can be utilized while targeting several global-wide programs that are most likely to achieve results. The team’s strategy is to strengthen regional markets by adopting the best approaches for each market, collaborating with local partners while sharing the common global vision and messaging.

The unit will implement the following PR strategies and focus on the marketing channels listed below with several new ideas introduced in stage throughout the year:

  • PR programs - Utilizing earned media, shared media, and owned media adequately
    • News outlets (earned media) - Identify audiences and key news outlets for the audiences, reach out to those targeted news outlets, and pitch stories when major milestones reached
    • Social Media (shared media) - Specific content planned and scheduled to share regularly with a targeted audience in each major social media platforms
    • Blog and other contents (owned media) - Create blog content and utilize platforms such as Clubhouse to gather audience and followers
  • Word-of-Mouth - Dai’s benefits and the story of MakerDAO can be explained more effectively with more credibility when it is from a third-party such as Dai users and partners, and advocates. The unit will pursue and provide opportunities for others to share their experiences.

Regional approach

One size doesn’t fit all. The unit utilizes its expertise and understanding of each region to design the following strategies and plans.

Targeted regions are in different stages, with unique challenges and opportunities:

EUROPE

This is a very active region in the crypto space, with several hubs, universities, alliances and initiatives driving the ecosystem development and key events taking place here.

  • Europe has a large local crypto community but usage of Dai outside of the community is still very limited. Our top priority in Europe will be to leverage the local communities for growth in Dai usage.
  • Region is characterised by relatively easy access to the exchanges, wallets and crypto service providers, where Dai can be bought, sold, or used. Tapping into the shared interest of making people use crypto, we will seek to launch marketing campaigns focused on bringing in new Dai users, in collaboration with these providers.
  • The diversity among the countries in the region in terms of language, culture, financial landscape, and geopolitics is vast. We find it best to concentrate on the countries with most spoken languages and localize our efforts via providing translated materials (English, German, Spanish, Italian) and direct our communication efforts via the most popular channels (twitter, etc.).

AFRICA

Africa has high demand for financial services like loans, savings/investment and international payments. Research, exploration and education have the priority and will be our initial marketing focus.

  • After researching and identifying where crypto can be used (internet access, mobile) and where there already are crypto financial services (or where they can be incentivized to be created), we will be able to better motivate potential users to try out Dai and DeFi, and can facilitate the education.
  • As a way to improve financial literacy and overcome high barriers to access the financial services, there’s a need for education regarding to money via introductory campaigns and similar initiatives.
  • Our marketing approach will not merely transfer US/Europe-centric strategy to Africa, it will take into account region’s unique infrastructure and leapfrogging development to employ locally relevant and meaningful communication channels and platforms (e.g. radio show popularity and social media like facebook that fall under free data policy by the local operators).

METAVERSE

Not bound by geographical location, this environment provides a parallel virtual world that has a potential to become the primary interaction environment for the MakerDAO community, which is first and foremost online. Maker has several engagements in these worlds that are waiting for the full utilization.

  • Building on the past success, we will continue hosting virtual events and associated gamifying activities in our community houses.
  • This novel realm has the potential for socializing, collaboration, creation and entertainment purposes. It is worth testing our assumptions for the use of the parcels & builds at our disposal, to find out which fit MakerDAO’s needs best.
  • Furthermore, metaverse is ideal to attract a novel type of Dai user (digital art, gaming, collectors, etc.). Using the immersive visual element is great for demonstrating basic concepts in an interactive manner, making it more digestible and fun to learn.

ASIA

Asia region is a diverse market that consists of pockets of opportunities and tremendous potentials for growth in markets such as China and Southeast Asia. For our strategy to be effective, each key market’s approach needs to be specific and tailored to that market. The regulatory landscape regarding crypto also varies. While each country has a different culture and languages, the unit’s contributors can create synergies by sharing successful initiatives and resources.

CHINA

China is one of the biggest markets for MakerDAO, with well-established communities. The country’s unique and secluded social media channels are vital to the success of user engagement. The regulatory attitude towards cryptocurrency changes over time. Under such a dynamic landscape, an in-depth understanding of the market and special attention are required when communicating and conducting marketing activities. Education and communication are the primary focuses.

  • Actively manage local social media channels (Weibo and Wechat)
  • Localizing content, including Maker websites, to effectively reach the Chinese audience
  • Create and compile culturally appealing and fundamentals oriented educational content
  • Provide truthful and easily-digested information and resources to the press
  • Keep good relationship with the public sectors

JAPAN

Japan has a strong crypto community that is enthusiastic about learning, even though the general public remains skeptical about crypto. Our focus has been to increase the understanding of the DeFi market through meetups and content through education and meetups. Engaging in dialogues with regulators also is crucial to dai adoption in the country.

  • Increase Maker’s visibility by providing educational content and marketing campaigns that are catered to the non-crypto audience
  • Localized content includes blogs and share information via
    • Social media such as Twitter and Facebook
    • Hands-on workshop
    • Blogs
  • Combining marketing campaigns with easy-step challenges to make learning easy and interesting
  • Fostering community in Japan by contributing to meetups and collaborating with organizations and partners
  • Engage in dialogue with regulators through DeFi advocacy groups

SOUTH KOREA

South Korea has one of the most developed IT/internet infrastructures in the world. The Korean government and fintech industries are especially interested in blockchain technology and crypto, while the regulation is more specified. Furthermore, South Korea is known for having a very active crypto community discussing Blockchain and crypto through numerous mainstream and social media.

  • Provide local content via mainstream/social media, blogs, on/off-line events, etc.
  • Manage local communication channels including Kakaotalk and Telegram for better understanding
  • Help Korean people(companies, users, researchers, developers, students, etc.) use and collaborate with Maker for the broader Maker ecosystem

SOUTHEAST ASIA

Southeast Asia has a very diverse cultural and regulatory landscape. Singapore is one of the more lax SEA markets for crypto-specific regulations, and it is also a very crypto-friendly hub in Asia. Vietnam and the Philippines are ranked top 10 in global remittance in fiat remittances and therefore requires local content curation and presence to

  • Increase awareness of MakerDAO in the emerging markets, e.g., Vietnam and Indonesia
  • Leverage Ambassador program in SEA to build and ramp up local communities

MIDDLE EAST

Dubai has become the world capital of blockchain development. It has implemented 24 use cases across eight industry sectors – finance, education, real estate, tourism, commerce, health, transportation, and security – and launching the Dubai Blockchain Platform, and the Dubai Blockchain Policy. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy will be part of the “Smart Dubai” initiative.

  • Build visibility and credibility of the Maker brand across all channels and in-person with brand advocates & the wider community in UAE.
  • Researching new business, contacting potential decision-makers, and influencers and introducing them to our Business Development team.
  • Integrate with a global marketing strategy to share global campaigns and develop locally-relevant ones.

NORTH AMERICA

  • Marketing activities will be planned and executed following the guidelines of U.S. regulation

People

Individuals on this team come with extensive PR, communications, marketing, and business development experiences. They have a comprehensive understanding of the global market.

Their area of expertise includes outreach through events and marketing campaigns.

  • They have built communities and localized educational content in key markets. Communicating with potential users in the language they speak underscores the spirit of MakerDAO as an inclusive organization.
  • They have effectively shared their knowledge about Maker through various speaking engagements and social media.

Kathleen Chu

  • Former Bloomberg journalist with years of experience in PR, content, and marketing in the blockchain space
  • Co-Founder of a popular DeFi community called Yasashi DeFi in Japan, and a founding member of Japan DeFi Alliance, an advocacy group
  • Built several communities, including women’s community and the working family community at Bloomberg Tokyo, as well as Japan’s DeFi community
  • Ran a series of marketing campaigns that boosted the traffic to Maker’s homepage and blog in H2 2020 by more than 80 percent
  • Established connections needed to foster collaboration with entities such as BGIN, a blockchain group supported by some regulators, and invited to speak at major government-hosted events such as Finsum

Sahabia Yabuku

  • Regional ambassador for Maker since August 2019
  • Top organizer over the life of the MakerDAO community development meetup grant
  • Founder of DeFi Africa - a “for-Impact Organization” that promotes the awareness of DeFi-related technologies in Africa
  • Gave talks about DeFi and MakerDAO in key blockchain and youth empowerment events in Africa. They include Ghana Blockchain Conference 2019, Ghana Youth Ablaze Conference 2019 & 2020, Cryptofest 2020, BEN Africa Kick-off 2020.
  • Organized MakerDAO meetups in more than half a dozen Ghanaian universities, engaged in radio discussions about DAI, published a number of DeFi articles

Nathan Kim

  • Built relationships with various educational institutes and universities including Hanyang, Korea, Konkuk, Kookmin and Decenter by providing lectures and demonstrations.
  • Maximized Maker’s PR opportunities through participating in live TV shows and speeches at conferences with Korean media partners (Money Today, Paxnet, Blockmedia, Blockpost, etc).
  • Developed and hosted major Korean DeFi communities (DeFi Korea, Official Maker Kakao) and events (Korea DeFi Roadshow).
  • Ran multiple marketing campaigns for bigger blog traffic, community activeness and event success.
  • Provided community events such as AMAs, seminars and meet-up events for better understanding and user acquisition.

Kaori Sato

  • Published more than a dozen of DeFi and blockchain articles as a writer at CoinPost, a Japanese media company with the third-largest number of readers worldwide.
  • Past work has attracted hundreds of retweets and likes on Twitter.
  • Translated Maker’s blog posts since its early rollout in Japan as a freelancer
  • Localized content for Maker, including its homepage, whitepaper, and technical documents

Francesco Alberti

  • Former reporter, business editor at the Mainichi Daily News, the English language paper published by the Mainichi Shinbun, one of Japan’s leading newspapers
  • Contributing editor to major Asian newspapers such as Chosun Ilbo (S. Korea), Mainichi Shinbun (Japan) , Hindu Business Line (India), The ASEAN Post (Malaysia)
  • Managed Japan’s syndication business for Bloomberg and then managed the Bloomberg Media Distribution group in APAC
  • Produced a supplement in Time Magazine’s Japan edition titled “Spot Japan”
  • Works as an advisor for media-related startups

Strategic Marcomms Budget Framework

Facilitator Onboarding

13 Likes

@Kathleen

This is a very necessary initiative, thank you for stepping up.
I have only some comments in general to add to your proposal which otherwise looks fine.

What I have observed from Maker’s efforts to reach a wider audience is that it so far appears to be more education than marketing. It is rational to the extreme. There is imho already more than sufficient quality Youtube vids explaining Dai and Maker. Also the noise level is so low that you could almost expect Maker to be a sort of secret nightclub where you can only get in if you know where it is.

So what I have yet to see is playing to the emotional aspects of crypto and an increase in the volume.
Hodled like BTC
Petted like Doge
Pumped like Nano
Stampede evaluation like Uniswap

Also I so far miss the megaphone aspect of marketing
The influencers
The namedropping
Covert rumor production
General FOMO spraying

You might choose to stop right before enlisting ‘Too hot to handle’ celebs but Russian propaganda mills should seriously be considered. Marketing has few rules of engagement and crypto marketing is a total jungle. I hope you make the most of it.

5 Likes

Thank you for the proposal, @Kathleen.

One point that stands out from a first read-through is the apparent concentration of marketing efforts on Asia. While European, African, and North American countries get lumped into one bag (South America is also missing), we see explicit mentions of China, Japan, and South Korea in the proposal. The current team’s background seems to be supportive of this interpretation as well. Is this something you’re looking to solve with new hires?

Lastly, does this quote mean there’s currently no strategy in place on how to approach one of the major crypto markets?

1 Like

Thanks for your comment!

That is a valid point. We will certainly have to consider that when the unit discusses our strategy more thoroughly.

And thanks for the suggestions on a number of ways to approach marketing. I haven’t thought of those possibilities. I certainly want to evaluate and assess what can be done to achieve the best results, at the same time, being mindful of MakerDAO’s brand and reputation.

2 Likes

Elihu, thanks for the great question. Yes, we are looking to hire people in Europe and North America. We are currently in the process of onboarding two people from North America. Having a solid strategy for one of the biggest crypto markets is our priority and it will be updated at a later date.

2 Likes

Ah I totally forgot - the memes
Org a meme competition at 4chan to create an epic burst sewer pipe of irrational content.
Beats “explaining” every time.

1 Like

Mmm, this seems a bit weird. Have you really never thought about:

which is literally what any other crypto (and not just crypto) project is doing?

1 Like

I don’t see MakerDAO like any other crypto projects. In fact, we are beyond that. Just because some other people are doing those things, it doesn’t mean we should do the same. We will need to differentiate and that’s how we can tap into new users and markets.

1 Like

Thanks. That’s an interesting approach (not sure if everybody agrees with it, but it’s definitely interesting).

Following this approach, what are short term (1year) measurable and verifiable objectives that you plan to achieve (in marketing) if the Core Unit is approved and funded?

This might help us to appreciate more the value/potential of your approach.

Thanks @Kathleen

3 Likes

Okeeey. I can see more clearly now.
I will go as far as to say that if that is your approach I would state that in bold text under the “Core Unit Mandate”. If your strategy is not doing what the bulkmass of crypto is considering normal I would very much have that stated in plain text up front.

This. Double.

Additionally there is the topic of Core Unit Mandate.

You might want to consider renaming your Core Unit to “Dai Education Core Unit”. Because that is what you are planning to do. To me it looks very much the same as the GRO team. Please correct me.

3 Likes

I think we have to ask ourselves – do we want Maker to grow into an integral part (if not a backbone) of a global financial system or a project that spews “sewer pipe[s] of irrational content” for the “degen apes”? Remember, everything we do here is not in a vacuum; pumping Maker financial services will draw the eyes of those looking to crack down on the space.

Rune and the OGs notably avoided that approach which contributed (in part at least) to the diverse, welcoming, methodical and non-hyperbolic community culture we have today. It’s that deliberate culture that informs everything we do, and if we move away from it, inch-by-degenerate inch, we jeopardize more than “gainz”.

#Resistthepump

6 Likes

This initiative is definitely important. Thanks for the suggestion.

DeFi remains opaque in many countries around the world. Localization and community outreach is one of the key roles that the Maker Foundation plays, and after the Foundation is dissolved, the position for this role will have to be determined in advance.

3 Likes

Thanks for your response. My advice would be to update the proposal to reflect this thinking better.

2 Likes

Thank you for this detailed description.

A more level-headed approach to marketing and communications fits Maker. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but hyperaggressive strategies favor short-term growth at the cost of our identity 5 years from now. That being said. There are at least 3 areas of communication with audiences that don’t fully overlap:

  1. MKR promotion. Not part of your proposal and, I think, not something Maker wants to do.
  2. MakerDAO reputation, especially with institutions. Part of your proposal and matches the way you present yourself.
  3. Dai adoption. Part of your proposal. The level-headed approach works, but it is true that > 0 marketing-ish communication would improve things.

Also I’m very much on board with @iammeeoh and @Planet_X re: well-defined objectives with deadlines. Not as success/failure conditions but as helpful concretizations of what you are planning to achieve through the means you’ve detailed in your initial post.

edit: What would be incredibly helpful is a down-to-earth summary of your overall understanding of where Maker is in terms of marketing&communication, and of what it needs. Knowing your model of how things are will not only help understanding the reasons behind your plans, but it will also help relate the different growth&communication initiatives to one another so everything can fit together in the end.

10 Likes

Hello @Kathleen – can you please name some of the successful marketing campaigns that your Team has launched?

You know I see folks like FTX buying into the Miami Heat Basketball Arena were I imagine their marketing will be geared towards Americans, and the Team at Solana is making headlines like:

OKEx and MXC are pouring $40 million into strategic investment funds to bootstrap development on the Solana network

And I often wonder what we as a Community can do to get more traction. So, I guess what I am saying–I really don’t know what accomplishments you and your Team have brought to the DAO–perhaps because the Foundation had to slow down marketing growth, or Regulations are hampering such.

5 Likes

Hey @Planet_X

The growth unit mandate is to grow the available distribution channels for the Maker protocol, which means integrating the Maker protocol (Dai, vaults, PSM, DSR, Dai on Optimism L2…) into other’s solutions. It could be by talking with every CEX or DEX to have Dai in different markets (some of these exchanges could decide to list Dai by themselves. With others -most of them- we have to create a joint strategy to generate a Dai market), or by developing use cases where Dai is the right solution for a challenge (like NGOs receiving donations in countries with a regime).

In any case, our job is to understand the market, proactively reach out to potential partners, pitch them why Maker is what they need, and in a consultative way, help them to create solutions based on the Maker Protocol.

Part of our job is to educate, not because we want everyone to be an expert about how the protocol works, but because we need to show our potential partners why they should choose Maker over other protocols/stablecoins.

Growth unit’s focus is on the B2B relationship (with companies, protocols, projects, governments, etc.) and how they can use the Maker protocol to reach more users.

3 Likes

Thank you for the suggestion. These discussions on the forum enable my team to see things we may overlook as we continue to delve more in-depth into our strategic planning.

When it comes to marketing strategy, there are many possibilities, and each delivers a different level of ROI. That ROI would also vary in one market vs. another. That’s why we listed region-specific strategy as one of the focuses. Several global-wide programs and joint promotions that are most likely to achieve the best results will also be closely examined and considered.

Regarding the unit’s performance measurement and deliverables, we have started that discussion last week and hope to finalize that in the next couple of weeks. We may use OKR to set a clear direction for the team and utilize KPI to gauge our performance. I also plan to share quarterly updates on our progress.

1 Like

Thanks for the suggestions.

As for eduction, it is only part of marketing and promotion.

For us, in the crypto space, education can seem redundant and dull, but there’s still a significant knowledge gap between those in the space and the rest. Education is a way to lower that entry barrier so others feel comfortable joining.

Adding to what Nadia had explained about her unit, my unit will focus on B2C and convey the benefits of Dai and the Maker Protocol to potential users.

2 Likes

Thanks for the answers.

I am a bit confused on a pretty important point, though.

Question: Have you already worked (under the Foundation or not? please specify) on Marketing+Communications for MakerDAO in the last months/years (please specify).

  1. What have you done exactly? → As many people have no idea of what you have done, your action might have been not so visible. If, for instance, some of your candidate Core Unit contributors have appeared in TV talking about MakerDAO in S-Korea, not many people have here have watched the show. Have this TV-appearance brought millions of S-Koreans to MakerDAO? Please inform us on this type of results.
  2. What ‘strategy’ have you been following in the past, which can be extended to the future? Sentences like:

suggest that you have a vision/strategy. At the same time, sentences like:

Make me feel like the strategy is not yet determined, or at least is very shaky.

So, really, it’s hard to vote on approving (or not) your proposal if we don’t know what great things you have done for MakerDAO in the past and what you plan (precisely) to do in the future.

To to contrary, Core Units that have been proposed so far, have a clear record of results that we are more familiar with, and a clearly stated mission for the future.

5 Likes

Hi @ElProgreso
Collaborating with the community will make a big difference, which I have been thinking of as well. One idea is in storytelling. I mentioned briefly as a word-of-mouth type of approach under Projects and Programs.

Here are some examples of marketing campaigns that boosted the traffic to Maker’s homepage and blog In Japan. Note that the success has limited to Japan, and it can be easily tweaked for and adopted by the global market. Please also check these hashtags because then you can see how they resonate with people.

July 2020
One’s favorite food campaign - one’s favorite food in Japanese is Daikoubutsu. We ran this campaign after the restaurants started to reopen after the first wave of the pandemic. We asked people to show their support for their favorite restaurants by posting pictures of their favorite food on social media and the name of the restaurant and tag to #dai好物 (DAIkoubutsu). The participants got Dai in return. Then we shared how Dai can be used.
Results:
*1,400% surge of visits to our blog page for the campaign period.
*The campaign generated 62.8K impressions on the campaign’s tweets and replies, while #dai好物 had 251K impressions.

September 2020
Where’s Dai? (or dokoDAI) This campaign invites people to find or create things that consist of Dai or something that includes dai sound. We ask them to tweet it and tag it to #dokoDAI. After that, as a token of appreciation, we put all the submissions into a mosaic DAI.
Results:
The hashtag #どこDAI reached at least 160K of Impressions.

November 2020
Haikudaikai: We collaborated with the biggest crypto news outlet in Japan and ran a haiku competition.
*Number of new sessions/visits to our blog more than doubled
*The hashtag #俳句DAI会 reached at least 67K of Impressions.

And you are right. We have been very careful in the marketing activities we conduct. A lot of thoughts need to be put into it. While we want to promote, we also have to keep in mind what can be done while guarding the brand and the image of MakerDAO.

3 Likes