“ICON doesn’t do enough marketing!” is a common complaint we hear tossed around on Twitter and Telegram. It seems like every other day that someone is crying out for more marketing promoting the ICON blockchain and related projects.
As The Iconist is run by a marketing agency, we certainly agree that putting out a high volume of good quality marketing material almost always adds excellent value to any project. Marketing can really make or break a company’s chances of success.
However, we are also quick to point out that the ICON project does actually have a lot of great marketing. Firstly, there is The Iconist, the daily ICON news site you are reading right now. Secondly, there are a number of P-Rep teams who devote a large portion of their efforts toward marketing: Rhizome puts out a regular podcast, and ICONPLUS creates great video content. And then there is ICON Pinas, whom we interviewed for today’s article.
Creating a variety of content
ICON Pinas was founded in the Philippines — “Pinas” is a slang word meaning “Philippines” in Tagalog — and originally focused on marketing to their local audience where cryptocurrency is growing in popularity. However, support for the team has since grown internationally, and they now devote their efforts to marketing for the global ICON projects and audience.
ICON Pinas has created a lot of video content promoting ICON, which you can browse on their Youtube channel. They mostly make informational content that explains about ICON projects in an easy-to-understand way. They also have a great design team and regularly churn out infographics and graphics for sharing on social media, some of which are used by ICON themselves.
In addition, they regularly create custom t-shirts and hoodies promoting ICON and affiliated projects such as Omm and Balanced. You can often see their t-shirts on their videos, and you can even buy ICON branded merchandise from the store on their website.
And they do not shy away from spending their budget on influencer engagement to increase the range of their marketing exposure — so far, they’ve hired an Ennie award-winning actress, a Korean influencer and a pro-gamer to promote ICON.
They also host events and contests. Some examples include a livestream gaming promotion for the Project Nebula launch, as well as a Craft Network launch event with prizes to be won for people engaging with the platform.
Working closely with ICON Foundation
ICON Pinas is also involved in creating marketing content for ICON’s new bounty program, HX57. Their team will be working closely with ICON to manage social media content production, including animated graphics.
They could not give us more details about this exciting new project since it just started and, ultimately, they are not in charge of HX57. However, they did speculate on what they see as the best possible outcome of the bounty program:
“I’d say the long term goal is to engage more with other communities as well,” said the ICON Pinas representative we spoke with. “There are already people talking about cross-chain NFTs. The ideal would be to just make it all about amazing art, and the end user is blockchain agnostic, allowing communities to intermix instead of living in isolated silos. It seems like that day is closely approaching, which means that the sky’s the limit for what promotional programs such as this can achieve.”
Unsung marketing heroes
One thing that sets this team apart — and one of the reasons they probably deserve a shout-out — is that they don’t put the ICON Pinas brand name on most of the marketing material they create. In fact, there has been a lot of content the team has made that nobody has any idea that they were the ones behind it.
“If BTP is what we’re trying to promote, we don’t want to see the ICON Pinas brand on there,” ICON Pinas told us. “We don’t think that adds any value because we’re not the developers behind these projects and we don’t want the community distracted from the real message.”
Funded by the CPS
To all those people complaining that ICON doesn’t spend enough money on marketing: look no further than ICON’s Contribution Proposal System (CPS). Both The Iconist and ICON Pinas are funded by the CPS — The Iconist’s current contract expires at the end of 2021 (we’ll be submitting a new proposal for an extension, don’t worry!), and ICON Pinas just finished their own six-month contract this month.
When they began their marketing contract, ICON Pinas consistently ranked among the top five crypto-related group Telegram chat operators in the Philippines. One of their main goals for the project was to start posting regular new content across a range of social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok, to increase ICON’s exposure across a wider age and geographical demographic.
Their CPS funds also helped to pay for regular monthly events and influencers, as well as smaller events such as AMAs and interviews.
Building a brand for ICON
ICON Pinas is the team who designed the iconic Omm Monk image. They worked closely with the ICON team to ensure a good product fit, creating an image that immediately brings to mind the word “omm” with ICON’s branding all over it.
They’re also hard at work creating a series of NFTs featuring a brand new — and distinctly ICON — character, to be launched soon on Craft Network.
“We want to see an NFT collection that is specific for ICON, not just a copycat from somewhere,” ICON Pinas said. “When you see a punk, you immediately think of Ethereum, right? We want a collection that if you see it you immediately think, ‘That’s ICON’.”
Creating meme-worthy content is a big focus for ICON Pinas. “For a lot of people who don’t know DeFi or crypto, they could be drawn to these cartoon characters,” ICON Pinas said. “ICE is going to be a fun one. It’s very easy to meme.”
“We want to set an example that community members can use as a reference point. We try to see what is working with the community, what they’re gravitating towards, and give them that kind of content. We want the community members to take our content and share it, not only with each other but also with different ecosystems and communities.”
Building a community and having fun
One of ICON Pinas’ newest and most entertaining initiatives is a Project Nebula guild that they started. Project Nebula is a new sci-fi game on the ICON blockchain that connects all in-game assets such as spaceships and planets to NFTs.
The game is quickly becoming notorious in the ICON community for making players real money — planets that you discover can be auctioned off in an NFT marketplace, with players sometimes taking home hundreds or even thousands of ICX per sale. But the problem with Project Nebula is that it can also be quite expensive to get started playing. A cheap spaceship — which you need to play the game — costs around 250 ICX, with the biggest, most expensive ships selling for up to an eye-watering 50,000 ICX.
In order to foster new player engagement, ICON Pinas is sponsoring new members of their guild with loaner ships to start out with. The ships are kind of on a layaway plan, with new players paying back the guild once they have earned enough ICX through playing the game, after which the ship is theirs to keep.
“One thing that we’re trying to be cognizant of is that we don’t want to grow too massive or take over the game. It’s not anything like that — we don’t take royalties and we’re not trying to build a massive alliance to hoard planets. We’re just trying to eliminate the barrier to entry. Once players buy their ship, they can do whatever they want.”