TL;DR : This update will be focused on the brand refresh efforts. We will use the Marketing Town Hall on March 2nd to go deeper into strategy, activities, and planning for 2021.
Our community is passionate and I want to personally thank each one of you who is writing feedback in the forums, sending me meeting invites to tell me your perspective/wants, spending time writing up feedback to us at Open Brand .
Here’s some soundbites we heard this week about NEAR’s brand:
“The current NEAR site is hard to navigate and not well organized. I have no idea where I belong when I go there. The value prop is too abstract. With the new website, I want clear ways that show me where I belong and why NEAR.”
“The Ethereum backer community helped make their brand what it is today but that took years and that identity is their’s – not ours to piggyback on. If we continue with rainbows and cartoons - it doesn’t convey being original and differentiation. It says we’re trying to take from Ethereum’s hard earned community and brand identity.”
“I want our new site to show NEAR vs other chains. Just show me why NEAR is a better choice. Show me how it solves for minting fees, gas fees… address the real problems NEAR is solving for today.”
“The nearkats are embarrassing and freaky. NEAR tech is the future and should look like the future, not kindergarten. Investors don’t want to invest in a brand that looks like kindergarten.”
“Please create a website and use cases that don’t feel like a hackathon demo. What we do needs to feel polished, well designed, intentionally constructed. We need to be taken seriously.”
“The brand is total garbage. Your internal team, teams, building on NEAR and the broader NEAR community, don’t trust the brand. It’s way too playful and doesn’t instill confidence. Your technology is AMAZING. It’s the best tech in crypto. WHY is this not better represented?”
Like I said, we have a passionate community and THAT’S OK. The feedback you are sharing is exactly what we want to hear because it’s your perspective and you are part of this community.
So let’s talk about next steps with the Brand Refresh process and what to expect:
Brand Refresh Process
Right now, we are in the middle of “Explore” and “Create” in this process. We’ve had a few working sessions with the agency, MilkInside. Everything will be shared with the community. We’ll have a Miro board for everyone to view, a Google Drive with concepts, and during this process, we’ll continue to solicit feedback from the community. We will do a few surveys too. Nothing we build should be in a silo.
Brand Agency Working Session Notes
Reminder Of Project Goals:
1.Re-fresh the Brand Identity to reflect maturity and growth
- Explore new concepts based on the strategy
- Challenge assumptions and help refine conceptual vision
- Engage and test concepts with Developers
- Everything except the logo is on the table
- Collaborate with internal Brand team
2.Capture the Vision with visuals and motion
- “Embracing the Explorer” is about engaging and empowering developers and early adopters on their journey
- Explore visual concepts that mimic real-world exploration
- Static Visuals
- Motion Visuals
3.Create an immersive web experience
- NEAR enables a new land of opportunity for those who participate.
- We want the website to feel like you’re exploring a ‘new land’ and can easily find your tribe and the resources you need along the way.
- The NEAR ecosystem provides a diverse set of opportunities
- for all people, not just developers.
- While being visually engaging, and immersive, the website will need to perform well from an SEO standpoint while strategically driving ‘top of funnel’ growth.
For perspective, one crypto brand that is successfully using the “Explorer Archetype” and has executed well on meeting the needs/pain points of different users coming to their website is the Kraken Exchange. They easily navigate users who come to their site where to find information that is relevant to them – fast.
We want to share this as an example because based on feedback we’re getting from you all and the metrics behind our website, we can tell people coming to NEAR are not easily finding what they need and our conversion rate is poor as result.
Note their value prop is top of page with a CTA to get started followed by very clear pathways for different segments with clear explanations including 1.) those new to crypto, 2.) those that are experienced and ready to learn more, 3.) those that are looking for information on products/opportunities beyond the exchange they use now, 4.) Founders who have created crypto projects and need help scaling.
In addition to thinking through what we want with the brand/website refresh, we also are thinking through what we DON’T want. This is also based on your feedback as well.
Takeaways for what we HOPE will come from this refresh: Visualizing a World of opportunity and potential (ties with NEAR’s Vision), attracting more developers, being different/iconic, creating clear pathways for users, capturing the spirit of NEAR, inspiring our community to participate, wanting our community to love the new website.
Takeaways for what we do not want to happen with this brand refresh: The stakes are high and we feel the intensity that comes with building a brand/website that could be rejected by our community. We don’t want you to be alienated. We don’t want it to feel “corporate”. We know we need the brand refresh but we don’t want this process to drag out and impact our launch dates. We don’t want to create something that doesn’t reflect our values and mission or misses the point of crypto.
Takeaways for the mood board discussion: We would like to have a brand that is grounded in reality of what you can do today on NEAR… no trite rocketships or space themes like other brands. Let’s bring NEAR down to a level where it’s easy to find your path, discover how to build cool stuff, and have meaningful experiences with community/builders/founders along the way. Let’s set the tone where our brand and protocol reflect purpose, pragmatism, but also possibility.
Next week we will share more on:
- Creative Exploration, Ideation
- Discovery Workshop
Let us know our thoughts below in the comments section. Thanks for your ongoing support!
The NEAR Foundation Marketing Team