If You Build It –and Communicate It– They Will Come

Starting an Association : Article

“If you build it, they will come.” In the film “Field of Dreams,” a voice in Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella’s cornfield convinces him to turn his acreage into a baseball diamond, and sure enough, once he’s done it, the ghosts of the 1919 Chicago White Sox do appear.

The First Step in the Technology Adoption Process

It doesn’t pay to take the same approach to the adoption of technology specifications. Having spent months, if not years, defining, refining, arguing over, and working out every little detail of the specifications, a technology association might be tempted to put a download link on their website, sit back, and wait for the technology adopters to come en masse. Not a good idea.

In fact, the completion of the specification is only the first step in the technology adoption process. So as your technology specification is being readied for publication, you should also be putting the finishing touches on a communications plan that ensures that your target audiences will get the word and be motivated to download and adopt your specifications as soon as they become available.

Driving Adoption

As a technology association, you lack the large advertising budget of a commercial enterprise and must rely on the “free” channels of public relations and social media to build recognition and awareness.

That’s why it takes special expertise to craft and deliver a plan that moves the needle significantly. At Virtual, we’ve made a science of developing and executing well-timed communications programs to drive adoption of new technology standards.

Establishing a Blockchain Specification

EEAFor example, we recently helped the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) launch its first specification. Of course, blockchain is a very hot topic these days, but it’s a very crowded and dynamic market space. To gain traction for the EEA, we devised a communications plan that took advantage of a sequence of carefully timed announcements, select media pre-briefings, and the focal point of an industry event to capture attention and build momentum.

It all culminated in May during Blockchain Week in New York City, when the EEA took center stage at Consensus 2018, the fourth annual blockchain technology summit presented by CoinDesk. Executive Director Ron Resnick presented on the EEA’s strategy, vision and specification roadmap, announcing the EEA’s first specification while on stage.

Because we had carefully laid the groundwork for the announcement in advance, we saw an immediate reaction. As a result of the combined marketing communications efforts to promote the EEA Specification, the EEA received a tremendous response from the enterprise Ethereum community. The combined Virtual-EEA staff team handled all the preparations to get to publication which resulted in the following:

  • 1800+ downloads to date – Over 500 downloads of the specification on day #1
  • 846% increase in social media (from the first day of the Consensus 2018 event to the EEA announcement on day #3)
  • 244% increase in website users
  • 22 articles spotlighting the EEA, the new spec or new members, resulting from briefings and media & analyst relations such as Forbes, Fortune, Quartz, The Wall Street Journal, CoinDesk, EthNews, PC Magazine, Cointelegraph, and more

Achieving the Remarkable

Scoring that kind of coverage for a commercial entity with widespread brand recognition would be impressive. Doing it for a relatively young non-profit organization is that much more remarkable. It just goes to show how effective (and cost-effective!) a well-timed, orchestrated, and sustained communications plan can be.

It’s the best way to ensure you achieve your dreams in your field.

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