A Fintech case study

Launching bitFlyer in Europe

When Japanese virtual currency exchange bitFlyer approached Tyto, they’d been working for two years to gain regulatory approval to operate in Europe. They were almost ready commercially and were looking for a European PR team that could successfully plan and deliver all communications aspects of their launch in this market, from messaging development and media training to event delivery and media activation. With business targets driving the desired launch date of just four weeks after our first meeting, we knew we had to work fast to deliver results.

What’s more, by this time the surge in price that bitcoin had experienced in late 2017 had well and truly subsided. The tables had turned; the price was plummeting, and scepticism was growing.

The target audience for the launch was sophisticated, and high-volume traders and the European team had challenging targets to meet on the number of signs ups expected in the first week. They tasked us to match or better the exposure bitFlyer had achieved in the US when they launched there the previous quarter.

We developed a campaign called Trading Up, which was about elevating bitFlyer from a company operating in two geographies to a recognised global leader. The concept of Trading Up also strongly reflected the emphasis bitFlyer places on regulation and gaining regulatory status, in an industry which is becoming littered with companies who choose to operate without a license.

Going from zero to hero

We decided to use London Blockchain Week as the hook for bitFlyer’s launch. We secured a keynote speaker slot and arranged an evening celebration at the event on launch day, but bitFlyer were clear that their key target for us was on media coverage.

Working from scratch, the Tyto team quickly drew out the key storylines and messages that would make this launch a success.

Through our research, it became clear that in gaining a license to operate in Europe, bitFlyer had become the only exchange licensed across Japan, the US and Europe – an excellent supplementary message to support their launch news. As well as working with bitFlyer’s team, we also worked closely with the regulatory bodies who’d given bitFlyer their license, agreeing on wording and media plans.

We knew bitFlyer’s announcement was going to attract a lot of attention. Not only would journalists have all sorts of questions, but bitFlyer would have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions with the world. You only get to launch once, and we wanted to ensure that bitFlyer were clear on what they wanted to say, were aware of any pitfalls created by the industry climate, and to find a spokesperson who could successfully carry off being the face of the European launch.

Thankfully bitFlyer’s European COO, Andy Bryant, was up for the challenge, supported by bitFlyer’s CEO who arrived from Japan on the morning of launch day. We put Andy through his paces in a full day of messaging and point of view development; media and presentation training; and interview rehearsal.

Working together, we established the areas on which bitFlyer would like to be vocal, the areas they were happy to talk on if asked and how to steer away from the areas they did not want to be drawn into. We supplemented all of this with a couple of hours spent with our Tyto photographer. In the space of eight hours, the transformation was complete.

Working hard to make the media stars align

We knew we had a strong story; that wasn’t the challenge. The challenge was maximising results and ensuring that although bitFlyer had chosen London Blockchain Week as their launch platform, that the launch was seen as European and not UK-only.

On social media, we set up European channels, drafted content, engaged with influencers and worked with partners to help share our message. Without any paid advertising, the top tweet that day gained 455,850 impressions. The news went viral in Japan.

For the media sell-in, we drew on media relations skills across the Tyto team and used the contacts we have across broadcast, national, international and trade media to gain maximum results for coverage and meetings between journalists and bitFlyer’s spokespeople.

On launch day, we gained 65 pieces of unique coverage (without syndications) across 12 countries, in publications ranging from the FT and Bloomberg to Bitcoin News and Tech Crunch. Over the following week, the number increased to over 290 pieces of coverage, thanks to working closely with the journalists we met on launch day.

The ultimate aim of the media and social profile for bitFlyer was not only to raise awareness but to drive new sign-ups to their platform. And bitFlyer has since informed us they over-achieved on the target they had set in Europe and saw a knock-on benefit in the US, too, as a result of what effectively became a global media campaign.

Tyto’s financial services and fintech practice offers breadth and depth of sector expertise. The team has worked with small start-ups, industry stalwarts and everything in between. Find out more.