PR Selection Proposal

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HeyMichael

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Jul 19, 2018
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Public relations is one of the key parts of the marketing function within Dash Core Group (“DCG”). The purpose of this activity is to gain media attention for Dash, help shape the messaging around Dash, and enhance the public perception of the project. This post will help explain the background behind the PR process that is currently being carried out on behalf of the network to help us select a public relations agency.

Once live, links to all three proposals will be listed here:

Agency 1: https://app.dashnexus.org/proposals/9a4368c4-99e6-4b21-9743-b4e658453f3c/overview
Agency 2: https://app.dashnexus.org/proposals/82f60e45-e1b2-4161-9405-a28dee59d861/overview
Agency 3: See my comment below. Third team dropped out day of submission due to the public proposal process.


Background:

In response to feedback from the previous PR proposal in February, we decided to change the selection process and open it up to the network. We’ve included multiple agencies, worked with them to narrow down the options, and are now ready to share with the community and have a vote.


What Happened Next:


For those unfamiliar with hiring a new agency, it is not just about the client being interested. It must be a good fit for the agency involved to make sure they can succeed with desired goals on behalf of the client.


One of the challenges in bringing multiple agencies to the network for a proposal round is that not all teams are familiar or comfortable with this method of selection. Because of this challenge, designing a process that could help guide interested teams to participate became crucial. We decided the best approach would be to reach out to agencies DCG felt would be capable of supporting Dash’s needs. We also accepted recommendations from the community, thankfully we received quite a few. The full list of the agencies reached out to can be found here: Dash Agency Selection List


We contacted 37 agencies including Wachsman, with a Request For Proposal which can be found here: Request For Proposal From those 36 teams we invited all interested parties to submit a proposal that highlighted their strengths, previous work, team experience, interests, and price as it all related to Dash. This is a large number of agencies to reach out at once for a traditional company going through PR selection. We made the decision to cast a wide net, given the less traditional selection process, to ensure we would have enough quality teams to choose from for the network to review. From the 37 teams that were contacted, 12 responded positively and signaled they would submit a proposal. We did attempt to collect data from the 25 that declined or didn’t respond but only 2 of those companies provided additional details to their decision.


Once we received all proposals, Dash Core Group marketing reviewed all teams and removed any obvious outliers. It ultimately came down to 4-6 teams and we scored the positives and negatives for each group. Criteria such as location, familiarity with blockchain technology, experience related to fintech, price, culture, and general execution of public relations were all taken into consideration. We were able to use those data points to reduce the number of teams to 3 and are pleased to share we are ready for the next step of the process.


Besides offering different companies to the network, we wanted to offer different approaches to the PR function. The selected candidates are made up of one traditional fintech focused firm, one fintech firm that has represented other blockchain projects, and one fully blockchain focused firm.




Next Steps

With 3 teams prepped and ready to work for Dash on Public Relations we are ready for the final round of the selection process. We have helped all 3 teams work on their proposals and are pleased to share their submissions today. At the end of this proposal period, we hope to have one team move on to become the agency of record for Dash.


Logistics

With this setup, there have been many firsts. With firsts come exploration and the designing of this process has been just that. The roadblocks we felt required identifying solutions for are laid out below.


Duration of Contract in Relation to Volatility

While DCG will control the payout addresses, the firms are contractors with the network and DCG won’t take the exchange risk. For this reason, volatility has been one of the biggest concerns DCG had at the beginning of this process, especially related to more traditional agencies that may not be familiar with a contract that includes a moving payment value.


We believe the most effective way to execute this contract is to define the base agreement as 6 months with the understanding that if the value of Dash increases the contract would be extended, at the agreed upon monthly rate. In a similar fashion if the value of Dash decreases before the agency receives their payment the contract would decrease, at the agreed upon monthly rate. This will only affect how frequently the firm would return to the network to request additional funds. For example if Dash increased in value 25% prior to payout, the agency would receive enough funds at the time of payout to increase their duration of a contract by 25% as well.


Voting

A few concerns came up related to the actual process of voting and we believe they are worth highlighting for all to digest. The winning agency will need to receive the standard 10% of masternode net votes as a yes in order to win. If a scenario arrives were more than one team receives over 10% of net votes, we will fold all funds into the contract of the team that received the most net votes. They will still be paid the same monthly rate they requested, but those funds will be used to compensate volatility or extend the duration of the contract without asking for additional funds to the network. During the succeeding voting cycle, DCG will request all non-winning teams that received funding be defunded to free up the network. Only one firm will be hired because having multiple agencies work for Dash in parallel would be wasteful and would likely have a negative effect on public relations strategy and success.


There is also a possibility that no firm receives funding. The scenario of none being funded would be extremely damaging to Dash in terms of work to be done related to Evolution, partnership announcements, and future growth for the network. If this were the case, we would take the feedback from the process and do another proposal in the following voting cycle with the firm that received the highest, albeit insufficient, approval.


What Dash Needs for PR

We at DCG Marketing believe that PR needs to be focused on celebrating our product updates, new partners, community milestones, and general Dash news. This needs to be done in innovative ways that cover blockchain and far beyond.


As we get closer to Evolution, new user adoption will be crucial. Our ability to penetrate new publications in content categories beyond Blockchain will be a key need in this strategy. The agency Dash selects should be one that can help us build beyond blockchain without forgetting our roots and continue to build on our blockchain base.


Dash also requires media monitoring for interview opportunities and corrections. This is helpful for keeping facts correct, improving relations with new publications and journalists, and getting the Dash brand in front of new audiences. Anytime you’ve seen a quote from someone at DCG in a less “regular” publication this was most likely the result of something like this.


Crisis management and conference support are two components of PR that may be less obvious given their behind the scenes nature. Crisis management is used more than most would ever know and that’s the point. A good agency will offer availability for an emergency, ready to help prepare a response, advise on actions, and general counsel in strategy at the first sign of trouble. Given the industry we operate in, and the things that happen around us constantly, it’s best to think of crisis management as a sort of PR insurance.

Conference support allows Dash to have an extra teammate at conferences that handles scheduling for interviews, speaking engagements, presentations, and events. Agencies often continue to hunt for opportunities with on site journalists throughout a conference. Event support will typically meet speakers at their engagement and have solved any concerns for the speaker before the speaker has arrived. They can be very helpful with logistics around booth building, shipping, and general management of all outsourced teams involved with the conference. Teams can also bring us non paid speaking opportunities in conferences which are great for building Dash’s image publicly.


Pricing for PR, and marketing in general, can be a challenge as we can always find more ways to spend money at an agency or firm. The challenge with PR is to find a balance of budget that doesn’t lower coverage or quality.


As you can imagine there have been a few roadblocks as we’ve explored this new process, we had planned to post all three teams by Monday 4/15/19, however one team had concerns raised by legal and have delayed to give them time to assess. All participating teams will be ready for voting by Wednesday 4/17/19.


I am pleased to share that all three teams in this selection process are aligned with what DCG believes is most important for Dash’s public relations efforts. All have their strengths and weaknesses and I invite you all to explore all three proposals and help us make this decision. It’s not every day you get to be a part of a process quite like this.
 
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HeyMichael

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Jul 19, 2018
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An update to this process that came in this morning, one of the two new agencies selected has at the last minute made the decision not to participate in the process. This is unfortunate given the amount of time all participating teams were given to clarify concerns around the process. Their legal department raised questions around the proposal process and ultimately the CEO made the decision that participation wasn’t in their best interests. The decision to decline was ultimately made due to the public nature of Dash’s selection process and concerned them due to competition, etc.


Given the remaining time left for voter participation and the time it would take to get one of the backup candidates up to speed for submission we have decided the best course of action is to launch the remaining two teams for selection. We are excited to move forward with the remaining two candidates and will be going live later today with both teams! Thank you for your participation and interest in this project.
 
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