🐻 Learning from Ledger's failed PR strategy

Plus, our 5-step recovery strategy

Hey builders 👋. Today, we’re giving you a mini-lesson on PR and corporate comms strategy. If you’re building in web3, you would know just how quickly narratives can change overnight.

Last week, hardware wallets like Ledger were the safest place to keep your crypto assets. This week, that has changed. Let’s dive into what went wrong with Ledger, their failed approach to the PR crisis and how they can possibly recover from the disaster.

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📣The big story. Lessons from Ledger’s failed corporate comms playbook. The crypto hardware wallet fails to de-escalate the PR disaster.

🐻Other news to bear in mind. Pudgy Penguins physical toys is a smashing hit on Amazon, Presidential candidate Kennedy wins over the Bitcoin crowd and $BEN and $PSYOP memecoins continue to spark controversy.

🐾Resources to paw into. Meet local Bitcoiners in your area and read, collect and publish NFT books.

📚️ Lessons from Ledger’s failed corporate comms playbook

Since the collapse of FTX, crypto cold wallet sales have enjoyed a nice boost in sales 🚀. In particular, Ledger has been dominating the hardware wallet space, reporting a 2-3x increase in sales volume at the beginning of this year.

While centralized crypto exchanges and lending platforms suffered from bad PR, Ledger was stealing the market by positioning itself as the ✨trustless✨ solution to safely store your crypto assets.

But the glowing narrative came crumbling down last week with the launch of their latest feature, Ledger Recovery. The new $9/month subscription service revealed a knowledge gap between how customers perceived Ledger versus how it actually works.

What went wrong?

The gist of it is that Ledger Recovery, an optional monthly subscription add-on would act like an “insurance policy” for customers to protect their private keys. For newer crypto users that may not be as savvy or comfortable with crypto yet, this gives peace of mind knowing that you have the ability to recover your private key if you happen to ever lose or forget it.

It sounds reasonable for the average consumer, but crypto Twitter was quick to point out several concerns over the privacy and security of Ledger. The launch revealed inconsistencies with their previous messaging and a lack of technical clarity, resulting in a major PR crisis that Ledger failed to properly tame.

Here are some ways that Ledger went wrong with their corporate communications 👇️ 

1/ Customer blaming

During a time when trust in the system and institutions is declining, Ledger failed to empathize with customers’ vulnerability and skepticism. Instead of listening to user feedback and responding with their point of view, they reacted combatively in a way that almost blamed customers for not understanding how Ledger technically works.

These tweets from Ledger Support’s official account have since been deleted, and rightfully so. Using phrases like “technically speaking” and saying that their tweet was “taken out of context” places the blame on the customer for not understanding them properly 🤦.

The issue isn’t the customer. The issue is that Ledger failed to communicate with clarity, which is why their statement was taken out of context.

2/ Getting overly technical

In addition to blaming the customer, Ledger was too focused on defending their product and overcompensated with technical jargon and details.

Over the course of the week, Ledger was posting videos, threads and hosting Q&As to explain the technical architecture of crypto hardware wallets. Not only is it too technical for the general mass audience, but it fails to address the real issue - the loss of customer trust.

Users don’t want to be lectured with a technical explanation or be given excuses. They want you to own up to the mistake and hear about what you are going to do moving forward to address their concerns.

3/ Failure to take accountability

As they continued to defend their position, Ledger and the executive team ultimately failed to take accountability for their lack of transparency and clarity. A week after the launch, Ledger’s executive team finally apologized for the disaster, but not before the Co-Founder and ex-CEO went on Reddit to do it first.

In his Reddit post, the ex-CEO of Ledger apologized on behalf of the company and acknowledged a failure in communication and internal management. That’s great and all, but unless this message of apology comes directly from a current executive member of Ledger, none of it matters.

How can Ledger recover from this?

A lot of damage has been done, but optimistically, I believe it is still salvageable. The good news is that no customer assets have been compromised, but the major issue is the loss of trust in Ledger.

Here are our recommendations to Ledger:

  1. Stop blaming customers for poor communication.

  2. Acknowledge the mistake and the potential violation of previous policies.

  3. Provide audit and open-source material for users to verify.

  4. Stop speaking about the past and address the steps to be taken moving forward.

  5. Pause the release of Ledger Recovery and take some time to reconsider the product positioning and timing using customer feedback.

As much as people attack Ledger, the reality is that there is still a large, untapped market that could benefit from their products and the Ledger Recovery service.

The issue is that as Ledger tried to expand its market reach, they ended up pissing off some of their current customers along the way. As long as they acknowledge their mistakes and prove that they care and are listening to customer feedback, Ledger will continue to have a path forward.

Let us know, are you sticking with your Ledger wallet?

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🐻 Other news to bear in mind

🐧 Pudgy Penguins physical toys are a smashing hit on Amazon. The popular NFT project launched a physical toy collection on Amazon that made over $500,000 in sales in the first two days. This is a great case study on breaking the barrier between physical and digital IP assets.

🇺🇸 Presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wins over the crowd at Bitcoin 2023. The democratic candidate spoke to a packed audience at the Bitcoin 2023 Conference to give his support to Bitcoin, going against several of his democratic colleagues, like Warren and Biden.

🤡 $BEN and $PSYOP memecoins continue to spark controversy. Beware of memecoin season. After the success of pumping $BEN, the creator Ben.eth went on to launch another sh*tcoin, $PSYOP. The scammer has now been served a legal notice for allegedly committing wire fraud.

🐾Resources to paw into

🟠 Want to meet other Bitcoiners? Orange Pill App matches you up with fellow Bitcoin lovers in your area so you can build new connections, friendships or relationships 😉.

🧰 Built by @matteopelleg 

📚️ Do you love to read or write? Read and collect NFT books to support your favorite writers, or publish your content as NFTs for monetization on Readl.

🧰 Built by @0xDiegoTorres & @giuliamotty

That’s all for this issue. See you next week!