In Crypto ‘Arms Race’ For Mass Adoption, Companies Ink Sports Deals Worth Hundreds Of Millions

As cryptocurrency companies seek to reach mainstream audiences, some platforms are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to sponsor sports teams, stadiums and even leagues in a bid to woo new fans.

On Sept. 22, Crypto.com struck an eight-figure deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to sponsor the jersey patch and have visibility in the arena. The crypto trading app will also work with team management to develop non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and create a way for fans to use cryptocurrency to pay for tickets and other products. The Hong Kong-based company will also show up elsewhere alongside the NBA franchise—including on TV broadcasts and various other digital platforms.

Crypto.com Chief Marketing Officer Steven Kalifowitz recognizes that in order to build the brand, he has to also educate consumers about this new asset class.

“Crypto is not just another shoe,” he says. “It’s not a commodity thing or a suitcase or something. Getting into crypto is very much a cultural thing.”

Flush with money from eager investors, a growing number of crypto brands are spending big to reach a mass audience through sports sponsorships and mainstream events. Other deals this month include the cryptofinance company XBTO sponsoring the Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, the cryptocurrency exchange FTX sponsoring Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 team and the nonprofit Learncrypto.com sponsoring the English Premier League team, Southampton F.C.

Perhaps sports arenas are not a bad way to go when it comes to finding new fans for a new—and still largely unregulated—asset class that some critics dismiss as gambling and proponents say is the future of the internet as well as the economy. And in a fast-growing and cluttered market, the fight is to get not just recognition but market share.

“To me it looks like an arms race for user acquisition,” says Keith Soljacich, VP/GD of Experiential Tech at Digitas, a leading digital advertising agency. “It’s kind of like if you have a crypto wallet on a platform, it’s a lot like holding a Visa card, too.”

The 76ers deal is just one of many that Crypto.com has landed in the past year while it’s on an aggressive sponsorship spree totaling more than $400 million in deals. Earlier this month, the company became the first official crypto platform partner for the famous French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain. Crypto.com is also a sponsor of a wide range of teams including the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, Fox Sports’ college football midday coverage, UFC, and Aston Martin’s Formula One team—just to name a few. Each of these also includes various other integrations far beyond a logo.

Chris Heck, president of business operations for the 76ers, says the team had been looking for a new jersey patch partner for a couple of years and spoken with hundreds of companies. And because the jersey patch is the most important partnership a team has, it requires brands and teams to be “completely aligned.”

“As the world woke up to the crypto space a little over a year ago, we got a chance to venture down that road,” Heck says. “Think about it this way: Sports are entering into the crypto era world, and we get to the at the front of the line with Crypto.com. These are folks that are partnering with gold-standard brands like UFC, F1, PSG, and we get to be their brand and their of choice in the United States with major sports teams and that’s pretty cool.”

All this to go beyond the current crypto user base to reach the masses: A study Crypto.com conducted in July found that total global crypto users have doubled year-over-year from 106 million to 221 million. However, just a fraction of those are currently the company’s customers.

Earlier in September, FTX—a two-year-old startup that just moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas—announced a $20 million ad campaign starring football legend Tom Brady and his wife, the model and businesswoman Gisele Bündchen. And like Crypto.com, FTX is sponsoring a wide range of teams and leagues in rapid succession including a five-year deal with the Major League Baseball announced this summer.

“If we just stop at one deal and we’ll wait and see how it does and wait to see how that does before doing another one, the best opportunities might be gone,” says FTX.US President Brett Harrison.

According to Harrison, FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried asked for ideas of how do something “that’s big.” Someone then came up with the idea to buy the naming rights for a stadium, and a few months later they won the rights to rename the Miami Heat’s arena FTX Arena in a $135 million deal approved in March.

“There is a group of tech companies that know it in their bones that if they don’t become brands quickly, there is a time in the future where there will be just a few left,” says Jamie Shuttlesworth, chief strategy officer of Dentsu Americas, which became FTX’s agency of record in June.

Traditional advertising methods are important for building trust in crypto brands, according to Harrison—especially since it deals with something like taking care of people’s money.

“When’s the last time you saw an ad for maybe a bank pop up on the top of your Google search and said, ‘Time to move all my money from my Chase account or Citi account?’”

Major stadium and team sponsorships are often held by brands that are already well known, but the crypto sector’s aggressive land-grab feels in some ways like strategies in games like “Risk” or “Monopoly”—where people can either wait for the right properties or buy everything they can as fast as possible.

When asked about the Monopoly metaphor, Harrison joked that “we’re trying plant our pieces on as many Park Places as possible.”

There’s plenty incentive for sports organizations to team up with crypto companies. Mike Proulx, a Forester analyst and marketing expert, said many sports leagues want—and need—to attract the next generation of fans.

“These kinds of deals look to tap into crypto companies’ young skewing userbase with NFTs that are, in a way, a modern/virtual take on old school baseball cards,” he says. “And the benefit to crypto companies is, of course, getting to leverage the league IP that legitimizes their platform with trusted brands while also growing their users.”

The crypto industry has exhausted its original market, says to R.A. Farrokhnia, a professor at Columbia Business School professor and Executive Director of the Columbia Fintech Initiative. However, blockchain technology isn’t something that’s easily explained to the average person—it involves cryptography, complex networks, and other concepts—and also still aren’t to a point where users can easily navigate.

According to Farrokhnia, there are still questions about whether the foundations and interfaces are advanced enough to warrant the aggressive push toward mass adoption. Or, he asks, “are we putting the proverbial cart before the horse?”

“These are all the moving parts in this ecosystem and it seems the pace for innovation has accelerated,” he said. “But are we doing things in the right sequence?”

Farrokhnia also points out the irony that despite all of cryptocurrency’s new innovations, the companies are still using classic marketing models. However, he adds that little for athletes to market unregulated digital economies than to pitch things like CPG products or other brand categories.

“What kind of reputation risk could this have for teams or sports figures or influencers or actors who are engaging in this kind of marketing campaign or activity? Most likely they have good lawyers that would protect them against such things, but you never know.”

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I’m a Forbes staff writer and editor of the Forbes CMO Network, leading coverage of marketing, advertising and technology with a specific focus on chief marketing

Source: In Crypto ‘Arms Race’ For Mass Adoption, Companies Ink Sports Deals Worth Hundreds Of Millions

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6 Phrases That Make You Sound Unqualified In Job Interviews

When you finally land an interview for an exciting role or for a position you think might be out of your league, the main thing you want to do is get through it without blowing it. But surprisingly, so many qualified candidates chip away at their credibility in interviews because of how they present their skills or talk about their experience.

Here are six phrases you should avoid using in your interviews if you don’t want to sound less qualified:

“I know I’m not the most qualified person, but…”

Be wary of saying this, especially if you’re changing careers or applying for a role that’s out of your comfort zone. You may think saying this shows that you’re honest, humble, and honored to be interviewing for the role. But, saying this diminishes your value. If you tell the interviewer you don’t believe you’re qualified for the role, then they’re going to believe you. After all, you know yourself better than they do.

Landing an interview means that the interviewer believes you’re qualified enough, so don’t give them a reason to think otherwise. Instead, highlight the experiences, stories, and projects you’ve worked on that showcase your ability to excel in the role.

“I don’t have much experience with this, but…”

While this one is similar to the previous phrase, you may be tempted to use this if the interviewer inquires about a specific skill. For instance, one of my clients applied for a role that requested experience leading teams. Although she matched everything else and felt confident she’d be successful in the role, she doubted her leadership skills and thought that her years of experience managing a team of three wasn’t enough.

But as I shared with her, words stick, so even if you think you don’t have enough experience in one area, your language still matters. Instead of disqualifying yourself, go straight into the experience and skills you do have. Either show how your experience has prepared you to be an asset or show how your background has equipped you for this new challenge.

Filler words…

You may not even notice that you’re using the words “like” and “um” in your responses, but using filler words while talking about yourself can give the interviewer the impression that you’re not 100% confident about what you’re sharing. It can also chip away at your professionalism and make an interviewer question if you’d speak to clients or other stakeholders the same way if hired.

Of course, when you’re nervous, and your armpits are sweating, it can be hard to make sure those filler words aren’t slipping out. But, one helpful tip is to speak a bit more slowly and pause in between your statements. This will help you catch yourself rather than simply filling the air out of nervousness.

“What does your company do?”

If you don’t already know what the company does before you walk into an interview, then you probably don’t know how to meet their specific needs or solve their problems. This not only makes you come across as unqualified, but it’s also a red flag to the interviewer. Companies want to hire people who are excited about the role and the organization, and not knowing even basic facts about the company shows a lack of genuine interest in the organization.

On top of that, as an interviewee, not doing your research beforehand hinders you from standing out. So, take some time to not only analyze the job description but also read about the company.

“We…” 

Unless you and your team are interviewing for the role, you should not constantly use “we” in your interviews. Often, some corporate professionals fear taking ownership of the projects and initiatives their team accomplished together. But, not owning your individual contribution and saying “we” when describing your accomplishments erodes your experience and qualifications. It can cause the interviewer to question if you can questions

handle the role you’re interviewing for without your team. So, instead of falling back on your team, identify your specific results and the impact you delivered and then highlight that in your interviews with confidence.

Rambling or dancing around a question…

This isn’t a particular phrase, but dancing around a question and rambling can make you seem unsure about your skills and qualifications, even if you know you are qualified for the position. Particularly, when you ramble, you put the responsibility on the interviewer to take away the most important elements of your response. You also risk losing their attention, and the worst outcome is that they won’t care enough to ask again and will move on still unclear about what you can do.

To prevent dancing around a question and rambling, get clear on what you bring to the table before the interview and decide on the skills and stories you want to use to back up what you can do. If you are asked a question that catches you off guard, request clarification and lean into the value and skills you know qualify you for the role.

There are so many ways that qualified candidates disqualify themselves in interviews without even realizing it. Avoiding these phrases will ensure that you don’t sabotage your interviews and will increase your chances of standing out as a top candidate for the roles you desire.

Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.

Adunola Adeshola is a millennial career strategist. Through her signature coaching program, careerREDEFINED, she helps high-achievers navigate their job hunts and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. She also consults companies on how to improve their corporate culture to attract, engage and retain their employees. Along with Forbes, her expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Bloomberg, Fast Company and other publications.

Source: 6 Phrases That Make You Sound Unqualified In Job Interviews

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