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Block Chain: An Opportunity to Define Value and Establish Trust

Thu, 04/19/2018

Blockchain and the hype around enterprise applications is at a fever pitch

Blockchain and the hype around enterprise applications is at a fever pitch. But a few companies have demonstrated the potential value with interesting and well-articulated proof of concept projects. As a communicator who has been immersed in technology for years, I can say it’s the companies with a crystal clear point of view that will dominate the conversation when the hype subsides.

MSL’s global tech practice has partnered with dozens of innovators in new markets over the years, including: open source, digital banking and SaaS two decades ago; big data, pervasive mobility and cloud computing more recently. Even with our long history of working with market disruptors, blockchain stands apart as a truly game-changing technology. Countless business and technology industry leaders agree. Using or building on an open, shared technology ledger, blockchain, can unlock value for businesses in every sector around the world. According to a recent Gartner Forecast, “the business value-add of blockchain will grow to slightly more than $176 billion by 2025.”

If your IT or executive teams are talking blockchain or projects are in the work, now is the time for marketing and communications teams to develop a compelling narrative. A few observations to validate the opportunity:

Blockchain beyond BitCoin: Among consumers, the conversation around blockchain is still nascent. Even as recently as a few months ago, many associated blockchain exclusively with cryptocurrency recognizing it as the basis of Bitcoin. In reality, blockchain enables much, much more. Many companies are already using blockchain with leading brands launching pilot programs in 2017. Deloitte summarizes recent real-world use cases in its Tech Trends 2018 report, available here.

Companies with a blockchain story need to better articulate the value they’ve seen and, more importantly, what that value means for their customers. The narrative cannot be based in theory or future opportunities. Technology buyers – consumers, businesses, and government – will equate a company’s blockchain utilization with value if and only if a company clearly draws the buyer down that path.

Blockchain Builds Trust and Transparency: Trust is critical in the contract between company and consumer. Blockchain is a technology ledger and each transaction, or bit of shared information, is a digital signature that cannot be tampered with. When you have a system that can collect information, ensure that information is tamper proof but also accessible, companies add trust and transparency into countless business processes.

While brands should continue to build buyer trust over time, messaging about blockchain could inject transparency and accountability into the brand promise nearly immediately. Again, a boost in brand trust is only possible when the brand explains how blockchain is a conduit to a more transparent workflow.

Non-tech Companies Tell a Tech Story: Recently companies in every sector are approaching our technology communications experts to help them tell a technology story. After all, most companies have volumes of data within their four walls and are using technology to organize, access and interpret it. But while “Big Data” was a tech narrative many companies glommed onto in years past because they have data, use of blockchain is just emerging. Companies have an opportunity to be a thought leader, if they move quickly.

The Bottom Line: Potential for value derived from blockchain is real. But in order to capitalize on value, technology and non-tech companies alike need to invest time and resources in defining the projected impact of their blockchain initiatives for all stakeholders – consumers, investors and employers.

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