3 Branding Lessons from Crypto’s Steve Kalifowitz


Headshot of Steve Kalifowitz, CMO of Crypto.com, on left. On right is purple box with his name and title.

Branding isn’t something built over decades through unlimited resources. And branding is much more than your logo design or slogan (though, to be fair, those things are elements of good branding).

Then, what is branding? “Brand is about consistency: consistent behavior, really focusing down on who your audience is, and making sure that you’re meeting them in the most honest way possible,” Steve Kalifowitz, chief marketing officer at Crypto.com, tells Rob Goodman, host of Wix’s Now What? podcast, in the season two premiere.

Kalifowitz began his career at ABC Television before joining HBO, where he earned two Emmy Awards and four nominations. He went on to lead business, strategy and operations for R/GA, a global digital marketing agency, then worked as director of brand strategy for Twitter. (Heard of it?)

Now, as CMO of Crypto.com, Kalifowitz is leading the charge for the cryptocurrency industry’s first consumer brand—new territory, to be sure—and he has important branding takeaways that apply to business owners, whether or not they’re interested in cryptocurrency. He shares them here, and on the Now What? podcast.

1. Find your product-market fit first

Kalifowitz says you shouldn’t invest too much in your brand until you have product-market fit. “The reason for that is that until you have product-market fit, you don’t yet know what it is that you’re making,” he says. You need to make sure that you’re solving a problem and know who you’re solving that problem for, only then can you build a brand.

Even still, a good brand strategy doesn’t come out of thin air; it’s the soul and core of your company, Kalifowitz says. “Brand is like a puzzle, when all the pieces of the puzzle come together well, and they fit together subconsciously in a person’s mind, then that’s their understanding of the brand.”

FYI: Your logo is a big piece of this puzzle. Make one for your brand with this free logo maker.

2. Be an expert storyteller

Kalifowitz believes that good storytelling matters. “As human beings, we’re wired to understand stories,” he says.

That’s why Crypto.com’s campaign, “Fortune Favors the Brave,” tells a brand story that their audience can connect with. The campaign features brave explorers throughout history and reminds people that being first can be rewarding. Then, it invites the viewer to be an early crypto investor (“you too can be part of this journey”) because the best stories inspire action. “Our goal with ’Fortune Favors the Brave’ is to inspire people to follow their path,” Kalifowitz says.

3. Only work with an agency when you’re ready

So, when is the right time to partner with an agency? Well, Kalifowitz firmly believes that defining your brand is internal work—but external players can keep you honest. “Your brand needs to express who you are, and outside consultants provide a really important value, which is to often shine a light or hold up a mirror and say, ‘here’s what we see from the outside,'” says Kalifowitz.

Not to mention, defining your brand will allow an agency to do their best work. For example, Kalifowitz and his team worked with an agency on the “Fortune Favors the Brave” campaign. The Crypto.com team provided super clear direction and a buttoned-up brief, which allowed the agency to lean into who Crypto.com is as a brand and develop the best campaign possible. You need to know who you are as a company, then an agency can help you express it.

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Lena Sernoff author photo

By Lena Sernoff

Senior Digital Marketing Expert and Writer


www.wix.com

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