Skip to main content

Over the past couple of months, we’ve embarked on a challenging and exciting journey to distill the essence of Polkadot and define the who, what, where, when, and why. Our mission: to create a unique story about Polkadot that resonates with everyone, no matter their backgrounds, and showcase how Polkadot stands out among Web3 projects. 

Our Goal as Distractive

We aimed to break down the barriers and highlight Polkadot’s quirky, exciting, innovative, and not-afraid-to-be-different nature. Our goal was to strike the perfect balance between Polkadot’s highly technical concepts and its core advantages, ensuring the message speaks to everyone, regardless of their expertise. 

As a core marketing contributor, Distractive created messages that other marketing contributors could adopt, share, and remix. By developing a shared messaging resource, we enable non-Distractive teams to unify their advertising and promotions around a consistent message, rather than creating new talk tracks independently. The aim is to present Polkadot as a cohesive, unified entity rather than a collection of disparate marketing efforts.

The Importance of Clear Messaging for Polkadot’s Next Chapter

Clear and compelling messaging is crucial for any company, product, or community, especially in the rapidly evolving Web3 space. Effective messaging is the key to differentiating Polkadot from other projects and building a strong, unified identity that resonates with a diverse audience. Throughout our research, we repeatedly heard that Polkadot was seen as inaccessible and only for techies, but there was also a widespread belief that it held something truly important and revolutionary for a larger audience. Clear, effective messaging can bridge this gap and help Polkadot realize its full potential.

As we enter a wave of expansive growth and development for Polkadot—with the rollout of new features, a proliferation of new projects, and the introduction of a new website and refreshed branding—framing Polkadot under a coherent story with clear, compelling messaging becomes critical. This unified narrative will be pivotal in attracting developers, crypto enthusiasts, and mainstream users, and fostering a vibrant and engaged community. By clearly articulating Polkadot’s unique value proposition, we can drive greater adoption, support, and innovation within the ecosystem.

The Journey in Four Stages

Stage 1: Research

Our journey began with extensive research. In February, we held a series of messaging input sessions with ecosystem teams, including StellaSwap, T3rn, Talisman, and OAK. These collaborative sessions were invaluable, as each team shared their motivations for building on Polkadot, highlighting its unique characteristics and features compared to other platforms. This allowed us to brainstorm how to leverage these insights to attract more people to the ecosystem. 

Stage 2: Onsite Testing

In February and March, we took our ideas to ETHDenver, engaging with a broad cross-section of developers and users face-to-face. This in-the-wild testing provided both qualitative and quantitative insights into our initial messaging ideas. The feedback was invaluable, allowing us to observe reactions and perceptions firsthand IRL, enriching our understanding, and ultimately empowering us to refine our approach. After further development, we further tested the messaging in Consensus in May, gathering more feedback and insights. This step was crucial in our ongoing quest to perfect our messaging.

Revealing Echoes

During Consensus, we had the opportunity to engage with various individuals from diverse backgrounds. One interaction that stands out was with a person who had limited knowledge of Polkadot. She expressed interest but was unsure if she could join the community without being a builder or developer. As we explained the Polkadot DAO and the extensive and inclusive nature of the community, she realized that her background and skills would be welcome and that she’d have the opportunity to contribute to Polkadot in a meaningful way. This interaction helped her see that participation in Polkadot’s ecosystem does not require a specific technical expertise, fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging. 

Experiences like this reinforced our decision to make the DAO one of Polkadot’s three main pillars, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and diverse contributions within our ecosystem.

“Any product marketer worth their salt knows that face-to-face interactions with their target market are the fastest way to tell if their message is working. Are they nodding in understanding? What kinds of questions are they asking? Are their eyes glazing over in zoned-out disinterest? That’s the level of feedback we sought.”

~ Katie Butler, Co-Founder and Marketing Lead at Distractive. 

Stage 3: Feedback and Town Halls

In March, we gathered feedback on the first draft of the messaging from Web3 Foundation (W3F) and hosted four “Town Halls” with over 60 ecosystem stakeholders like Velocity Labs, Moonbeam, Oak, and Hydration.

During the sessions, we defined our three target audiences (developers, crypto-natives and mainstream), and presented the proposed messaging for each using mock designs for various messaging presentations. Following that, we collected in-depth feedback from participants, including what messages were working well, what we could improve, and what needed to be incorporated. To guarantee the best results, we decided to record the sessions, capturing quotes, conversations, and any other impactful inputs that might have been missed in the notes.

These sessions provided key insights and a wealth of new alternatives and perspectives on how the messaging resonated with a range of audiences. Based on this, we had to be creative in figuring out how to incorporate this valuable feedback into the messaging we were developing. These sessions helped us to truly identify and map out the remaining gaps

The Collective Wisdom

As anticipated, participants provided incredibly insightful feedback. While many high-level comments reinforced earlier insights (e.g., the feeling that Polkadot has lost some momentum), new perspectives were brought, too (e.g., how do we talk about the “ecosystem” and not just the product/platform?). We took this feedback to heart and incorporated it into the final iteration of the messaging. 

The community session with Distractive helped us provide input on how we should be talking about “what is Polkadot?”. They came with ideas to get the conversation going but very much wanted to engage with the builders and community members so we all could provide input as to the long term messaging.”

~ Nicolas Arevalo, Co-founder & CEO, Velocity Labs.

Stage 4: Implementation

After extensive work and brainstorming sessions, we solidified the three key pillars that frame the messaging (Polkadot SDK, Polkadot Chain, and Polkadot DAO). Additionally, we confirmed final messaging for each of our three main audiences: developers, crypto-natives, and mainstream. Since Polkadot has traditionally focused its messaging at a highly technical audience, crafting the message in a way that would resonate with users (both crypto-natives and mainstream), was the most challenging. However, it was essential to ensure our communication is inclusive and effective across all user groups, highlighting Polkadot’s unique value propositions in a way that speaks to each audience’s specific needs and interests.

The Destination: New Polkadot Messaging

After extensive work, community feedback, and internal brainstorming sessions, we arrived at a messaging concept built on three main pillars. This messaging, introduced below, is also shared in the Ecosystem Resource Center for use by the Polkadot community. More messaging resources, including ready-to-print one-pagers, will be uploaded there for community use soon.

High-level Message 

“Polkadot is the powerful, secure core of Web3”

The Three Key Pillars:

  • Polkadot SDK: The most dynamic modular framework
  • Polkadot Chain: Secure on-demand computing
  • Polkadot DAO: The largest community DAO 

Tailored Messaging for Different Audiences

Below is the tailored messaging for each of Polkadot’s three target audiences: developers, crypto natives, and mainstream users. 


Wants/needs: Developers seek to build on a platform that can scale with their projects, with as little upfront hassle as possible.

Polkadot is the powerful core of Web3 that offers advanced modular architecture with pooled security, robust governance, and native interoperability. The Polkadot SDK provides ready-to-use modules to easily build interoperability, identity, governance, and much more. Projects built on the Polkadot Chain have access to Polkadot’s unique shared security mechanism and efficient on-demand compute space. All of this is powered by the most robust on-chain DAOs in the world, ensuring transparent decision-making and upgrades.

Crypto Natives

Wants/needs: Crypto natives are always on the hunt for the next “big” project, but are often overwhelmed with information about all these various ecosystems.

Polkadot is the powerful, secure core of Web3, providing a shared foundation that unites some of the world’s most transformative apps and blockchains. Polkadot is the first of its kind— modular, resilient, interoperable—but governed by its users, the biggest DAO in the world. It enables Web3’s biggest innovators to get their ideas to market fast, with flexible start-up costs and an exceptionally flexible builder environment. By making blockchain technology secure, composable, flexible, efficient, and cost-effective, Polkadot is powering the movement for a better web.

Mainstream audiences

Wants/Needs: Mainstream audiences often feel left behind by the existing system. They crave being part of a bigger movement but are wary of scams.

Polkadot is the foundation for a more open and collaborative web that restores power to its users. Apps on Polkadot are built on top of a secure, resilient platform that’s governed by its users: all DOT holders can participate in decision-making. With Polkadot, you’re not just a participant, you’re a co-creator with the power to shape its future.

Discover More

Do you want to find out more about Polkadot’s messaging strategy? Visit the Ecosystem Resource Center to check out Polkadot’s Messaging Strategy presentation, as well as our General Messaging and Event Messaging pages. We’ll also be sharing more about the Ecosystem Resource Centre in our next blog post. Stay tuned!