Yearn Finance Brand Strategy
PDF of 30 slide PowerPoint Deck containing the strategy: https://we.tl/t-Y0Ay9BR6Fy - check comments if link is expired
Rethinking Value Creation: A Primer
I know this is a bit different than most proposals that come through here, but give this a shot. I promise it will be worth your time.
As of today, the current value provided by Yearn Finance is based on the innovative strategies developed by an organized group of collaborators. Those strategies provide value for varying periods of time. Value is thought of in terms of ROI on those strategies.
But what if we could create a strategy to demonstrate and share with the world how valuable what this organization of collaborators and innovators is building? What if we had an overarching strategy that provided a framework for communicating everything the developers and collaborators create today for people who may not understand all the ins and outs of decentralized finance? What if there was a broader understanding of the value that organization of contributors to Yearn Finance provided that gave consumers a sense of value even when a particular strategy was decaying or there were no active strategies?
The reality is that this becomes necessary as a business matures. People keep money in banks even though they rarely get any yield… at all! What is necessary to unlock this continuous value for consumers is an understanding of who those consumers are, what they value, and how Yearn Finance ultimately meets their needs over a long enough time frame.
The output of that understanding culminates in the creation of a brand strategy that is addresses the needs of consumer of the financial products and creates a way for non-complex consumers to understanding and find value in the amazing and innovative products Yearn contributors are continuously creating.
That is what I have created for your review today. A brand strategy for Yearn Finance. The goal of which is to define and create a framework for communicating the value of Yearn Finance to the broader public.
This document will unlock the ability to think about what that is being developed means from a consumer lens. Anyone who has used DeFi knows it’s the future of finance… but that doesn’t answer how we explain that to the people who are these products for. We need to make it understandable for the masses, not just those interested in crypto. And I don’t mean make documents easier to understand. I mean what is the foundational ethos our brand should have to make what we do known to consumers? So how can we talk about these things in a meaningful way that connects to people who are not interested in the genius behind the complexity of the code – but rather what it can do for them?
I know that comms guys or PR guys have not worked out excessively well thus far. But that’s not what this is about. The purpose of a brand strategy is not to define comms or PR tactics at all. The purpose is to create a foundation that a comms or PR strategy should encompass. The mantra was a good start and gave me a sense of what was important to the team as I built the broader strategy.
I have been in crypto since 2017 and this is the first time I’ve ever thought that a project had enough potential to warrant a proper brand strategy. The fact that you all have created something at the level that requires a real live brand strategy is – in itself – a huge compliment and speaks to the amazing minds working as part of the Yearn Finance team.
That said, everyone Yearn Finance is competing with likely has one. I say this because I don’t consider Yearn Finance’s competition to be any other DeFi protocol. The competition for Yearn Finance is institutional. It is Chase Bank. It is Goldman Sachs. Our competitors are the mainstays of the traditional finance world as we know it today.
Fortune 100 companies pay over a million dollars to understand their consumer before they even start to develop a brand strategy such as this. I know because I’ve been a part of those teams. My expertise for the last 10 years has been in consumer insights and brand management for consumer goods companies.
Obviously, we are decentralized and those types of funds aren’t easy to come by. However, that does not mean we can’t have a brand strategy. While that enhanced understanding would obviously provide incremental improvements to a document such as this, these foundations are more than viable.
The value of this strategy can provide is immense. As has been discussed with vault strategies, a strategy is effective for as long as it can provide value to investors. A brand strategy is designed to exist in a static form and provide value for years by defining what Yearn Finance stands for, enhancing our understanding of our consumers, and clear communication of the value we provide to consumers. This will create growth by expanding the number of consumers (non-zero sum), not by trying to gain more from the existing pie of potential consumers already in crypto (zero sum).
Yearn Finance has the potential to become the biggest financial institution in the world. The goal of these foundations is to help us get there.
I am aware that a brand strategy is likely a new concept to all of us. In crypto, what passes for “marketing” has been either scammers (e.g. Trevon James) or ‘number go up’ shillers. Honestly, Kirby was probably the first guy who could have gotten a marketing related job in a major corporation that I’ve seen in the 4 years I’ve been in crypto (that doesn’t mean there aren’t some smart guys behind the scenes though). However, while he was good at creating excitement through communications, he didn’t understand brand strategy, even if he did understand the value of ‘branding’ itself. Either that or maybe his motives didn’t align with the creation of one.
Regardless, it is important that we all understand that there is a difference between communication tactics and selling (e.g. where to put our message and what we say) vs. the underlying strategy. We will see from the elements contained within that who the consumer is, what their mindset is while using the product, and the benefit they derive from it dovetail nicely with the goals of the Yearn Finance Team as per the mantra. The brand foundations ultimately make the focus of any comms strategies that derive from it clear. When an individual claiming to speak on behalf of Yearn strays from the values of the brand, no one needs to question what the brand stands for any longer.
The foundations help consumers understand those benefits and empathize with their current situations. Either way, I’ve added ‘primers’ or explainers in certain areas to explain why a particular element is important. However, if anything is unclear, I will do my best to explain further.
Author’s Note: I have spent a significant amount of time developing the content – I’m open to enhancing the visuals if the community feels that is appropriate, but at this point, I want to share it with the community as continuous tinkering without feedback can become a vicious cycle. I did not have access to a brand style guide or anything of that nature so I did my best to encompass the look and feel of the brand, albeit in a in a simplistic way.