Communications: The Link Between Product and the Promised Land
Picking the right approach to communicating and marketing your product or service requires a clear vision and value proposition, knowing your audience and the capacity to articulate and deliver the domain expertise of your product team in the form of effective messaging and content.
Product and communications are part of the same value stream and the line between them is blurry. I would go so far as to say there is no line at all.
There are thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, while crypto and DLT products and services in various stages of development probably number in tens of thousands by now.
Yet those that have weaned out of their ideation stage and have created enough traction in the market to be taken seriously by investors can probably be counted in their tens and hundreds respectively.
There are, of course, many reasons why a product will succeed, or fail, or languish in a limbo between these two states. One of these reasons, which I will cover in this article, is the misalignment between what the organization has promised to the beneficiary and what it can or, in more malign scenarios, what it ever intended to deliver.
The capacity to deliver on this promise is defined both by the communications structures and processes that enable them to create value, as well as the content of their communications towards the market that represent the product and its value proposition.
Communications in the Context of Product Development
First of all, let’s frame the concept of communications in the context of a product organization and its effort to deliver value through a process of adaptive design and incremental builds, with feedforward and feedback loops in place.
Starting from a simple and universal definition of communication as the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another, the communications structures and processes that we put in place within and beyond our product organization will determine how effectively and efficiently we will create and deliver value to the market.
There are two main questions we need to ask about communications in relation to the product and value we are creating:
- Have we built a community of trust within the organization in which transparent and direct exchange of ideas and exercise of leadership is possible?
- Is the Promised Land we are communicating to the market at all times an honest representation of our product and value proposition?
Community of Trust: Building a healthy organization
The process of building a product starts in a single mind as a result of continuous synthesis that encapsulates streams of information and insights gathered through research, interaction, and experience. At a critical point, this process gives birth to the seed of the vision, out of which the organization’s values, structure, process, and product unfold.
In the case of Anchor, it was our CEO Daniel Popa who had that ‘a-ha’ moment, visualizing what would later become the Monetary Measurement Unit (MMU) – a single value calculated from global economic and financial data that provides an apolitical, unbiased, and adaptive benchmark for global economic growth, applicable as a predictable value peg, and a stabilizing mechanism for real-world assets.
On rare occasions and in the right settings, an individual can take their idea right through to realization on their own. Think Nikola Tesla or Michelangelo. Even then, however, they will rely on other people for resources, funding, logistics, and so forth.
Most of us, on the other hand, need to associate with other people, domain experts, and practitioners, friends, often our family members, to cross-pollinate our ideas, refine and synthesize them into what will become an evolving product vision.
This is how communication, as per the definition above, becomes an integral part of the product development process at the very outset. People with complementary ideas and a broadly shared system of values will join in and build a community of trust, in which transparent communication, dynamic leadership, and a spirit of ownership and mutual support are knitted into the fabric of the organization.
The manner in which this community and culture is built within the organization will define how the vision unfolds into value streams towards the market. This inner community that we also call our product team is only the development core of a wider community of trust, the people that use the product in predicted and unpredicted ways to solve challenges inherent to their individual context.
The dawn of Anchor’s product organization was the moment when Daniel linked up with co-founder and COO Cristian Bronescu, whose experience with technology and excitement with blockchain and crypto linked the idea of the MMU as a stable financial index to its practical use as a value peg for a stablecoin, later to be named Anchor. A cryptocurrency pegged to the growth of the global economy.
The founders made a crucial step in finding their initial implementation partners in Belgrade, Serbia, New York, and California, from which a permanent product organization evolved through the trials and tribulations of producing Anchor’s whitepaper and MVP.
It was in these first years that we had gone through many situations that challenged our ideas, resolve, and belief in the promise of our product vision. And we are still here, more dedicated than ever to deliver.
The Promised Land: Aligning vision, product, and communication to the market
Coined by marketing strategist Andy Raskin, the Promised Land of a product organization’s narrative is a vision of the happily-ever-after that your product/service will help the beneficiary achieve. A desirable state that is hard to accomplish without outside help. Your help.
The road to the fulfillment of this future state, in which your prospects will have resolved the conflicting forces caused by the pain points you are able to resolve, is dotted with the features of your product organizations work in the form of ‘magic gifts’, as Raskin calls them.
There is one catch here. What you promise has to be rooted in the capacity of your product organization to deliver on this promise. This entails that you have already developed the product and features that are facilitating the beneficiary’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ with outcomes that are aligned to the Promise.
Or that you and your team can vouch for this on the merits of a clear and unwavering vision, product roadmap, and continuous output of product increments that deliver a piece of the Promised Land, from one release to another.
Now, we have seen a host of ICOs in the last couple of years by companies who failed to deliver on their promises. Some of these were outright malevolent, with a clear intent to scam people out of their money. Others are grappling with promises they had no right to make, as the price of their coin and the value of their assets is exposed to the merciless waves of the heralded financial downturn, amplified by the worldwide scare caused by the Corona Virus outbreak.
Anchor defined its Promised Land at the early stages of its own journey – every human being should be able to preserve and enhance the value of their holdings.
At the core of this promise is, primarily, our sincere belief that people want and need to be able to deposit the capital they have accumulated in life into an asset class that will maintain a stable value over time, rather than expose themselves to the daily whims of volatile assets and currencies, living in constant fear of losing everything they have earned by way of market dynamics that they usually find hard to understand.
While we still have some way to go to be able to deliver on this promise, Anchor’s ‘magic gift’ at present is a stablecoin pegged to the Monetary Measurement Unit (MMU), a financial index of our own making, designed to withstand the kind of market shocks and volatility at a global scale that we seem to be facing in the days ahead.
Where do we go from here?
Communications done right are a seamless extension of the product. We have built our internal organization on the grounds of a shared vision, passion, and values. We have a clear image of the Promised Land that we want to make real, and we are well into this journey with the creation of the MMU and its first use case – the Anchor stablecoin listed and available on crypto exchanges.
With a finger constantly on the pulse of the market and an eye on current events in the global economy, we are now working on a whole new set of use cases.
Their promise is to transform how the value of real-world assets are stabilized by the unwavering certainty of long-term economic growth.