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Ep. 39 Zag – How Monzo built their brand (from the founder himself!), Can a 90-person e-sports company go public on the Nasdaq?, and Starbucks is going to make a BIG Web3 play

💡 How Monzo built their brand – from the founder himself

If you read one thing this month, make it this blog post from Tom Blomfield, one of the co-founders and early CEO of Monzo. He tells the full story of how they launched and scaled the company in the early days with a specific focus on how they build the brand and early community base.

There’s so much good stuff in here – a full-on MBA in how to build a challenger brand. We won’t try to recap all of t, but we will pull out a quote that we think will resonate with a lot of you.

“A great brand is like a promise you make to your customers. It’s a shared set of beliefs, or the “why” behind the company. Building your brand is not a one-off thing; you build (or damage) your brand with every decision you make.

Prior to Monzo, I didn’t really believe in the concept of “brand” – I thought it was a made-up thing that marketing agencies tried to sell you. And that “brand” didn’t really extend beyond a company’s name and logo. I now believe it can be a superpower for any company – and particularly consumer-facing businesses.”

Thanks to Ari for sharing the article with us.

🕹️ Can a 90-person e-sports company go public on the Nasdaq?

FaZe Clan is an e-sports organization made up of 90 “members” who are either professional players or content creators. They’ve built a massive business on the back of their cultural cache with a millennial and Gen Z gaming audience, and their ability to churn out blue chip brand sponsorship deals at scale. They had explored going public via a SPAC last year, but are now considering a direct listing.

We’ve covered this before – e-sports is a MASSIVE industry with an audience of over half a billion, and yet is still massively under-valued by most brands as a legit marketing channel.

Attention is attention. Watching grown men and women kick a ball around outside is no more or less weird than watching teenagers play video games. Anyone looking to reach a Gen Z audience (and even millennial) should be considering their e-sports play as the audience grows and the businesses and brands in this space become more mainstream.

☕ Starbucks is going to make a big web3 play

But it’s not what you think! It’s not (just) NFTs of coffee cups. (Finally it seems we’re past that point as an industry…). Starbucks has teased their plans to unveil a web3 based loyalty program next month that will be tied to its incredibly successful mobile rewards scheme.

Admittedly, there are a lot of details missing from the plans they shared. We still don’t know what this will be, how it will be built, and where it will fit into a customer’s experience with the brand and stores. BUT we do know it will be led by the guy who designed their Mobile Order & Pay system and the Starbucks app. We also know that it will be focused on giving customers access to “unique experiences and benefits”.

This is the real opportunity for brands in web3 – to use the technology as a means to an end to add new, differentiated value to their customers and audiences. Don’t just give people a digital version of something they could have in the offline world – work backwards from the needs they have to find a way for the technology to do something valuable.

This is the approach that Starbucks took with their incredibly early and successful digital wallet, and it seems to be the same approach they’re taking here. if anyone has an opportunity to do web3 loyalty right, it’s Starbucks, and it seems like they’re thinking about this one the right way. Watch this space…

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