"We're building"

It's important to examine "building" frameworks NFT projects can evaluate to create successful, sustainable growth plans

Bridging the gap between creativity, crisp comms, & growing the base

Not just WHAT you build, or THAT you're building, it's also HOW


Exec Summary / TLDR (1-3)
Crafting the Story (4-32)
Optimizing Comms (33-46)
Growing & Scaling the Brand (47-56)

There's memes & even a slide

Yes, it's long. Yes, I understand many will read the TLDR, maybe throw a πŸ‘ - be done

Don't be this guy πŸ‘‡

⭐️ Behind every great brand is a compelling story
⭐️ NFT projects are uniquely positioned to build stories
⭐️ Great stories are rooted in shared experiences against some central antagonist or struggle (not all roses & rainbows)
⭐️ "We're building" & "πŸ‘€" isn't a story πŸ‘‡
2/ TLDR (cont'd)

⭐️ In crafting a story, projects should acutely focus on (1) the art, (2) the world, (3) how they engage, & (4) cohesive sub-plots

⭐️ "Cohesive sub-plots" - introduce companions and tokens not just for the sake of an airdrop, but to further grow a narrative
3/ TLDR (cont'd)

⭐️ Creating a dynamic, flexible platform (base) is paramount - set the base & then can more easily focus on scaling the vision

⭐️ Best marketing is from the community, engage/prioritize them - it's not about you πŸ‘‡

NFT projects are "building"... but WHAT are most utility-based projects striving to build? A BRAND

And every brand has a STORY - a cohesive narrative encompassing the facts, feelings, & sentiment created by the project (and its community as extension) πŸ‘‡
Brand 🀝 Compelling Story - why is this important?

B/c PERSUASION matters... Storytelling reinforces a brand’s values w/o their audiences feeling like they’re being sold to

Communicating a plan is one thing, but immersing in an experience (a story) is how you light fires πŸ‘‡
In his best-selling "Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting", Robert McKee argues that stories

"Fulfill a profound human NEED to grasp patterns of living - not merely as intellectual exercise, but within very personal, emotional EXPERIENCE" πŸ‘‡
Discusses (2) strategies to persuade people:

(1) CONVENTIONAL RHETORIC - i.e. par for the course, down the fairway "here is [this] and [that]" rooted in stats, KPIs, data, etc

(2) UNITING AN IDEA WITH EMOTION (far more powerful) - done through telling a compelling storyπŸ‘‡
I'm a believer both are important for long-term sustainability of projects. But establishing the "what?" of a brand, & doubling down on the story at the onset is a primary focus... it's how you create excitement!

Think of your story as the roots from which a brand can grow πŸ‘‡
And what's more, we naturally WANT to work through stories

Cog psychologists describe how the 🧠, in attempt to understand, assembles bits & pieces of experience into a story, beginning w a personal desire, an objective, & portraying struggle against forces that block it πŸ‘‡
Stories are how we remember via experience

Just as the 🧠 responds to depictions of textures/movements as if they're real, so it treats interactions among characters as something like real social encounter

Source: "The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction"- NY Times '12 πŸ‘‡
So what makes a good story?

⭐️ Creative, yet easily understood base "lore"
⭐️ Relatable characters & struggles
⭐️ Series of mystery > suspense > reveal
⭐️ A uniting "problem" or antagonist
⭐️ Consistent main objective & cohesive sub-plots

You want to avoid a beginning-to-end tale describing how results meet expectation... snoozefest and boring

Won't capture attention, nothing really exciting about status quo

You do want to display the struggle between expectation vs. reality, developing suspense -> reveal πŸ‘‡
Relating to popular mainstream IP, you have:

Mario vs. Bowser
Link/Zelda vs. Ganondorf
The Jedi vs. Dark Side
Harry Potter vs. Voldemort

Great stories & respective worlds are based many times in conflict against a central antagonist. This UNITES experience for a user πŸ‘‡
Some examples used to bond user communities:

Bitcoin as "hard money" ▢️ rooted against an antagonist centralized power of the Fed and the "money printer"

Apple 1984 "rebel" campaign ▢️ positioned Apple/Macs as bold heroes fighting against oppressive, bleak giants (IBM)

Sometimes stories can be so strong they make people completely overlook any actual fundamentals

I.e. Theranos - with the story of Elizabeth Holmes as protagonist revolutionizing healthcare vs. lab giants Quest & LabCorp, combined w her personal story of family loss

"Early BAYC" days - much was built around stories

The "Bathroom", "just a monke picture" outside narrative, Meebits v Apes, Punks the OG big bro, apes together strong, Jenkins...

These little struggles & stories helped unite experiences rooted in "fk it", apes bein apes πŸ‘‡
May ask why are rekt guy & goblin town are hitting early? (I hold neither fwiw)

Both leaned into the meme/story of this bear market. We're all rekt. We're all down bad in goblin town. Some may even look like their goblin irl

Again shared experience -> powerful reception πŸ‘‡
Thinking about NFTs - they are uniquely equipped to tell stories given emphasis on characters/art

IMO there are (4) primary core "building" components a project should focus on to sync its story

The Art
The World/Platform
How It Interacts w Community
Cohesive Sub-Plots
Some key over-arching themes across all components for projects to organize:

⭐️ Harmonizing the message
⭐️ Prioritizing simplicity
⭐️ Community members are "winners" of your story
⭐️ Transparency in directing any shifts in plot

First, THE ART

Listen I'm no artist, my drawing talent has been likened to a toddler w/ their eyes closed

But fact is the "art" of a collection for utility projects doesn't have to be the Mona Lisa. Simply has to fit the narrative/lore you're trying to grow in your world πŸ‘‡
"That art is low effort"
"Super ugly"

Okay sorry Picasso critics...

It's not "about the art" in the way you think about it being about the art

The art is a reflection of the "world" it's rooted in, & thus consistency of character-world fit should be prioritized πŸ‘‡
Is Mario fantastic art? Is Spongebob? No... but he's a sponge... in Bikini Bottom... and you better put some respect on the citizens of Bikini Bottom

Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Plankton aren't getting hung up in the Louvre, but each fits in Bikini Bottom πŸ‘‡
So we have the art, & ultimately synced w/ it is THE WORLD

Your story's setting

This setting governs EVERYTHING
🀝 How characters interact
🀝 What problems can (and will) exist
🀝 Value alignment

Even tokenomics models should be deliberately incorporated in story lore πŸ‘‡
Projects should be focused to not lose sight & bring everything back to the "why" of the world it's governed by

I think Cool Cats is a pretty good case study here. Launched last year, v strong foundational IP around Blue Cat (family-friendly, Clon extremely likable, etc) πŸ‘‡
But I think even they'd tell you they got too far away from their bread & butter

Last fall they kind of put all their β€œeggs” into the gaming / $milk basket at the sacrifice of building the actual story of Cooltopia, journeys of Blue Cat, how do Pets really fit in, etc. πŸ‘‡
And tbh I don't think the issue was in the focus on the building of the game (games again are stories). It was the broadcasted focus to the tech (clearly some L2 issues, mint mechanics, etc), & that shifted the conversations/experiences in the community to no longer "fun" πŸ‘‡
Everyone excited about $milk & quests, but didn't really know how they were supposed to fit into the bigger story. Who was the Blue Cat? What is it like in Cooltopia? What problems can occur on quests? I'm going on a quest - the goal should be to develop sense of adventure πŸ‘‡
The reason Pokemon is great isn't because Pikachu is adorable. It's because of the conflict and growth of Ash/Pikachu, and consistently going back to that foundation. It's because of the sense of adventure to "catch them all" before your archrival. It's the story πŸ‘‡
And listen this isn't me picking on CC. I really like their IP, greatly respect their team, & @ThGoodKnight is one of the sharpest community leaders

I applaud their move going back to their roots & re-shifting focus back to their story (why I used them as example here) πŸ‘‡
And it's not one project specific. I think basically all projects can lean into their story-builds better

Holders want to know what it's like to experience the BAYC Swamp... to battle frog wars in Gutter City... to go on a journey w/ Blue Cat

This is what excites people πŸ‘‡
In before "no, Apewood - what excites people is seeing number go up"

And I don't disagree. But also don't think they are mutually exclusive. A strong, fun story begets a strong, fun community

And a strong, fun community & user experience incites "fomo" / demand πŸ‘‡

We have the art set, we have an idea of what we want our world to look and feel like. How does a project best iterate, communicate, and engage with its community?

What's great in this space is creativity is basically limitless. A plethora of inspired artists/unique creators

But being a good storyteller/artist doesn't always translate to being a good leader or "quarterback" driving the ball forward πŸ‘‡
Also from McKee -
"Great storytellers - &, I suspect, great leaders - are skeptics who understand their own masks as well as masks of life, & this understanding makes them humble"

I.e. a good leader will deal with their community in a compassionate yet realistic way πŸ‘‡
V common graphic below, but for projects, it's less of the Boss TELLING holders what to do to get something out of a story (I.e. you go on this [quest] & get [this])

But more of the leader being one w the community, actually experiencing the story & sharing excitement πŸ‘‡
Goes back to aligned incentives

It can't be the team dangling a carrot over a community's head

The team is right there on the front lines w the community, just as (if not more) excited about the story unfolding

Team & community BOTH win if story succeeds πŸ‘‡
Also if you aren't aligned w your community, you'll never know HOW to communicate w them

Listen there will be those in every community upset about a floor price...

But what you absolutely CAN'T have is your community totally confused about the plot of your story πŸ‘‡
That sense of knowing what levers to pull to excite the vision is what separates good from great leaders/communicators

Great ones are extremely deliberate. Back to the earlier Apple 1984 example, Jobs would say "it's more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy" πŸ‘‡
So think it's really important for teams to demonstrate:

⭐️ Humility - they are equal w the community. They should even know a majority of members

Great captains know all teammates & how they tick (won't obviously be the case for a 10K project but you catch my drift) πŸ‘‡

⭐️ Demonstrate it's a community - not customers

You're not just continually selling them something and engaging them around this, but actually prioritizing them and accruing value to them within context of furthering the story πŸ‘‡

⭐️ Avoid the "πŸ‘€" or "πŸš€"

I think everyone is so fatigued of this and frankly just lacks any and all creativity

If you can't develop a narrative around a post or a teaser - then you don't understand it well enough and are not thinking deeply enough πŸ‘‡
An example below of what it takes for not just "πŸ‘€"

It would've been so easy for the @jenkinsthevalet team to just post this picture from the Azurbala account, some "πŸ‘€πŸš€" and people short term get excited since they think it's coming soon or whatever πŸ‘‡
Why's this great?

(1) Jenkins is experiencing Azurbala W/ YOU
(2) Almost start to hear, see, feel what it's like in Azurbala (great use of simile)
(3) Sets base feeling for Azurbala lore (Azur Monks, Marrow Glades) w/o fully "this is [this]"

Disclosure I do hold WR NFTs πŸ‘‡
Any "πŸ‘€" post or whatever emoji it is - I would challenge you to think about, well why is this "πŸ‘€"-worthy?

If you don't know, then why are you even posting it?

If it doesn't tie back into your story & vision, then is it really vital? Have you been thoughtful enough? πŸ‘‡
My MDs would always drill in that it's not about the work you did in the model or outputs. It's how you think about it critically, how it impacts the client, & frame in a way that makes sense to THEM

Yes it's more difficult, but again this is what it takes to PERSUADE πŸ‘‡
⭐️ Last one is most human - but don't be afraid to open up

Again just as you get to know your community, your community should get to know you. Even if anon - can get to know the person behind the jpeg, their goals, ambitions, likes, dislikes. Extremely human & grounding πŸ‘‡

We've created a compelling story
We connect with our community, they know we prioritize them, we know who they are and they know us (to an extent)
We continue to reinforce our base story in comms

Now what?

(live look at people still reading) πŸ‘‡
First, about our base / foundation build

Think of your base like a good model, good code, etc

It's your platform. You're not building one time use. It needs to be dynamic enough that you can add bolt-ons, add a "sub-plot", make changes that don't require full re-build πŸ‘‡
Why is this important?

Basically scaling and growth (if you are looking to scale) of your project is going to come from multiple revenue models

And if your base / platform isn't solid nor flexible enough to support this, going to be tough to sustainably produce results πŸ‘‡
But this is why having your story well-told is so crucial:

1⃣ Allows for bolt-on "cohesive sub-plots"

What's cool about web3 is almost all stories and projects are iterative in nature vs. static. Which means there will need to be different dynamic challenges presented πŸ‘‡
Side stories, wrinkles in action, sub-games...

But the important part is any of these developments tie back into your platform, strengthen the main "brand" story, and again - leaves your base holders excited & rewarded

Can't just be a companion, can't just be a $token πŸ‘‡
Second, back to why your base is so important in achieving scale:

2⃣ There is no better "marketing" than organic marketing from your community

A vote of confidence. They are excited about the story. They are proud to be a part of it. It's real, organic, & priceless πŸ‘‡
This is only accomplished if they are:

- In-tune with the story (clear on direction)
- Feel valued & rewarded (all stories, add-ons, etc go back to a true base - your community)
- And feel legitimately excited

Customer is always right 🚫
Community is always first πŸ‘

Okay so you feel good about your platform build out, it's dynamic, you can see different sub-stories existing within your primary conflict, and the community is buzzing with excitement because painted a tangible view of what "you're building"

Now we gotta scale the team πŸ‘‡
I know we're losing steam here so will keep short. I think on any team you need:

The visionary (the coach)
The Captain - your key "operator" pulling the strings
The high talent guy (in this context a top dev team)
The community glue guy (Director of Vibes if you will)

I get really passionate about some NFT projects & communities bc I see SO many overlaps w sports. And all these roles above are extremely vital on any team

It's not the typical look of C-Suite teams I'd cover in tradfi - but with a solid group and buy-in... it can go far πŸ‘‡
Alrite quick recap:

Build your story
Be EXTREMELY thoughtful in how you communicate it
Be consistent, consistent, consistent
It's not "building" - you can be more thoughtful in messaging than that
Community + team orientation around one well-known story --> POWERFUL
Huge thanks to those who read the full way through - this is your end of thread POAP – congratulations

Think there’s a lot of room for growth and improvement across any project out there – and anyone that says they are doing things perfectly… probs a red flag

Relinking to top of thread to start here - love yall

Would suggest reading in thread reader (if you're actually reading ofc)
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