Blockchain will Revolutionize Marketing. Are you Ready?
5 min read

Blockchain for most people is still mainly known because of the use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins. But its use will drastically change business in more applications.

Purpose meets practice

“We want to create ‘radical impact’, as we like to call it: create access to better quality coffee than the one sold by the leading multinationals and make sure that the people growing our coffee make a better living by bringing value-adding activities back to their countries. But how do we measure and show what we actually do with Moyee?”, Guido van Staveren van Dijk, CEO of Moyee Coffee, describes as one of the challenges he was facing. The project Moyee has been working on together with the Fairchain Foundation and bext360 since November 2017 will be an example for many companies taking the societal role of their brands -their purpose- seriously.

Untampered information

Blockchain for most people is still mainly known because of the use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins. But its use will drastically change business in more applications. Moyee is using it to capture all transactions linked to its coffee from farmer to store. Using a simple phone, every single transaction in the value chain can be digitally assigned a unique code -a block- that is stored on so many different servers around the globe that all information linked to that specific block is secure and tamper proof. Nobody can change any information about that specific transaction without it being noted.

Every transaction or activity in the value chain following the previous one gets a different unique block, which contains all information of the previous blocks in the sequence of transactions. Hence the name blockchain. When a product is ready, the blockchain that belongs to that specific consumer-unit provides the exact, true and untampered information of all transactional activities that led to the end-product.

Visible salaries

“Blockchain already allows us to see exactly what the price is that each farmer, selling us his coffee, makes. When we made it work, I was in our offices in Amsterdam. Suddenly, we could see every single contribution we made to the life our supplying farmers. I literally had tears in my eyes”, Guido shares. “Soon, for every single unit we sell, you will be able to see how much money everybody makes on that specific pack, where and when the money is made and where the product comes from. Even our own salaries here in the Netherlands as part of that single unit will be visible. No more secrets, no more empty marketing stories, but complete trustworthy transparency of every single step from production to shelf.”

Revolution times three

Why will blockchain have such a big impact on marketing? First of all, it will hugely facilitate traceability. Blockchain will make counterfeiting complicated. Moreover, many brands in many industries still largely depend on certification of ingredients and materials as proof of certain quality standards and origins. Certification is often lengthy, bureaucratic, costly and by no means free from falsification. By capturing every single transaction in the full value chain using blockchain, tracing the roots and roads of the product will be faster, easier and less susceptible to fraud.

Secondly, traders and middlemen -often abusing their buying power versus smaller suppliers- will be losing ground. Every single farmer or supplier in the chain will have access to and visibility of the global market and payments can be made using cryptocurrencies. It will be easy to identify a fair value of every single transaction in the chain, helping to distribute wealth more evenly. Matching supply and demand will be simpler and more efficient and negotiating power can be more equally distributed.

Lastly, and this is a main driver for purpose-driven brands like Moyee Coffee, the end-consumer will have full visibility of the way a product is made using on-pack quick-response codes or future options giving even easier access to the information. We will be able to see exactly what a brand actually does and how it behaves from source to shelf. The purpose of the brand -why it exists- will meet the product truth -what and how it delivers- in the most transparent and reliable way possible. Moreover, interactions the brand has with its consumers can be kept safe. Brands and consumers can build a relationship of trust.

“You know why I am every day more excited about Moyee Coffee?”, Guido says. “We wanted to create a revolution in the coffee industry, making great coffee within a fair system. But it is hard to match the marketing budgets of the big multinationals. We now have something far more powerful than marketing budgets. We will be able to share the true human stories behind every single pack of Moyee, whilst they will be paying actors for made-up advertising. People will tell the difference.”

A revolution it will be indeed. Is your brand ready?

About Moyee Coffee: Guido van Staveren van Dijk founded Moyee Coffee in 2012 after visiting Ethiopia, the cradle of coffee. Since then, his company has been selling superior-quality coffee whilst bringing the value-adding activities in the supply chain back to Ethiopia, aiming to create a fairer economical balance between coffee-consuming and coffee-producing countries in the long run. Over multiple rounds, Guido and his team have consistently managed to attract powerful investors supporting their ambition for Moyee Coffee. The company is expanding rapidly.

Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed has some days ago announced that Unilever will start using blockchain also to create transparency in media-buying and -delivery, as MediaPost -amongst others- shared.

Interesting additional case-study on blockchain in practice: “From shore to plate: Tracking tuna on the blockchain”, published by Provenance.

Robert Schermers, Partner & Business Humanizer