Rebellious Blockchain Innovation with Nicola Smith

NTE 20 | Blockchain Innovation

A great deal of small businesses overlooks branding because they envision themselves as a business rather than a brand. However, no matter what the size of a business is, branding is what increases your value and creates trust from potential customers. Nicola Smith, the founder, and CEO of REBEL & REASON, uses her natural rebellious spirit to see opportunity where others see closed doors. She tells the importance of innovating your branding game, investing in blockchain per se, to level up your marketing. On the side, she reveals the blunders that some brands commit today and ways to bring out the value of your business.

Listen to the podcast here:

Rebellious Blockchain Innovation with Nicola Smith

I am here with a friend and a person who I love to chat about business with. She’s amazing. She’s got a cool business called REBEL & REASON. It is a branding, marketing, and cultural transformation consultancy and training firm based out of Atlanta. I want to introduce you to Nicola Smith. She has many years leading strategy around innovation. First, opportunities are harder to market. They are harder to brand and they’re harder to do anything with. When you talk about mobile marketing, social media, AR, VR, 3D printing, there are many different companies she’s worked with, big ones and small startups as well. Maybelline, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Netflix, Cox Media Group, WeWork, Nike, those are some of the big names, but you’ve worked with a lot of smaller brands too. Nic, tell me a little bit about this pivot that you’ve taken in your business where you’re working more on the transformation side of things.

I’ve been working in marketing and content and emerging trends for a number of years. As I built out my own company, I was focusing on marketing innovation. What I found is that with a strategy background and with an understanding of trend spotting and macro trends, oftentimes brands were bringing me in to do rebranding or to help with brand strategy for new products or services. They were looking for ways to incorporate marketing innovation into their broader marketing strategy. The more I got into the brand side, the more I saw that it was deeply connected with corporate culture. You couldn’t separate the two. I started to get a number of requests to apply my framework and my approach not just to brand development but to cultural transformation within these companies.

Much of it is having to transform now. There’s so much discussion about trust and authenticity and that going on in the corporate world, but it’s an oxymoron because nobody trusts the corporations. You have this going on. How do you bring about that transformation?

That type of transformation is a long-form process. It’s not something that happens quickly because culture is pervasive and it comes both from the top as well as from the bottom. It’s a different approach than rolling out new messaging or even rolling out a new product. A lot of the way that we approach it is taking people through a participatory approach because you will always know more about your brand and your culture than I will. Helping the brand figure out who they are at an authentic level, what is their north star and then how do we bring that to life not just through marketing and messaging, but also through behaviors within the organization? Behaviors are modeled through the partnerships that we decide to move forward with. Even sometimes through the products and services we decide to offer.

It’s much harder for a corporation to go through and do that. Maybe they don’t even have their original founder anymore. They’re on multi-levels of management. You talk about a company like Coca-Cola. The CEO is different this year than it might have been a couple of years ago. You have such a difference going on there that makes it easier almost for a startup to make a play.

Startups inherently are a little bit closer to their founding story and their initial impetus for being. I work with a lot of Fortune 500 brands where we focus on connecting their heritage as a challenger brand to where they are in the present and to a vision of where they’re going. It’s not about a complete reinvention, but it’s about finding those narratives that already exist within the brand that are authentic to how they were founded and what that initial impetus was. Pulling that to the surface and reinvigorating it within the organization.

NTE 20 | Blockchain Innovation
Blockchain Innovation: A big role that brands can play is educating the end consumer on the real value of blockchain.

 

I can see that in the blockchain applications and companies that are bringing in blockchain into their corporations. It’s becoming their new infrastructure. The more they talk about it, the more the techies in the industry out there and blockchain are going, “They’re hangers-on. They’re using it as catchphrases to say, ‘We’re in the blockchain.’” It makes it even harder because they’re not bucking the system. They’re saying, “This is the right thing for us to be doing for our brand. This is the right thing to be doing for our product infrastructure. This is the right thing to be doing to be moving forward because blockchain makes sense technically.”

A big piece of that is the piece that’s missing. A big role that brands can play is educating the end consumer on the real value of blockchain. Blockchain in some ways is almost like trying to explain to people moving from broadband where you’re like, “It’s going to be faster.” People are like, “What does that mean?” You didn’t have a tangible understanding of how much faster until the switch was made.

“How much more unhackable can I be? How does it work? I don’t get it. I’ve tried every which way.” Monika Proffitt is my cohost here. She wrote the book, Blockchain 101, because she was trying to explain to her cousins what she’s in and what she’s doing. It was a way to explain it in simplified terms, but I swear every time I simplify it, then there’s something else that I have to explain as well. It’s getting hard to describe why that is working and why that is valuable. Many companies do need to make the switch and need to show and share with their communities that they’re investing in this without coming across like it’s an inauthentic thing, that this is like, “Blockchain’s the latest AI bandwagon and we’re all saying we’re in AI now.” That’s what it feels like when a corporation does it unfortunately for them, even if they’re validly serious.

Part of it is also looking at the other potential uses and implications for blockchain beyond the security element. There are some functional ways that from a consumer perspective might even be easier to digest and understand. Secure content distribution and what that starts to look like when we look at music and the entertainment industry and gaming. Look at the type of fan interaction that artists like Bjork are playing and experimenting with using blockchain and using cryptocurrencies. Rewarding social advocacy for their content back to consumers using those same formats. There are other ways that as a consumer, that feels a lot more tangible than trying to explain why something will be X% more secure.

You and I are big fans of not talking about the tech as much as talking about the benefit to the user. The benefit of what’s going to happen in the world. It’s a whole lot harder to market tech. It’s a specific market and early adopter. It narrows what you can do with that. I’m a big fan of finding application in case studies. I was on Larry King Now with the Founder of NASGO, Eric Tippetts. We were talking afterward and one of the things that I said is it’s great that he has this program that he’s working on with Jaafar Jackson where you’re tokenizing a musician, you’re tokenizing their next album and you’re tokenizing and getting fans and giving them rewards. It’s a great example of what blockchain can do and what they can do through their platform.

It also isn’t small enough to show mainstream applications. It also has to come down to, and I use the example of a podcast host, how can they tokenize their show and be able to turn it into? If it has a mainstream application, we’re talking about being able to make this pervasive and being able to build a gigantic trillion-dollar platform as they plan. If you keep it up at that celebrity level, then it sounds like influencers only. People think it’s a pay to play model and that they would have gotten in no matter what they were on, whether it was blockchain or regular old YouTube. It would have happened anyway. They don’t see the connection between the blockchain. When you take someone small and you bring them up on the blockchain and in and of itself does something for them, now you’ve shown value.

Know what it is you're trying to achieve, having some intention behind it, and start small. Click To Tweet

I could almost see an opportunity for partnership with Kickstarter, where instead of getting a T-shirt or the poster, you are getting a percentage of the revenues from the album or the movie or the fill in the blank. You’re getting tokens also where that is basically what your gift is. You’re getting X number of tokens for X percentage or X dollar amounts of investment in the project. I could see it going mainstream quickly if you had some of those types of partnerships where the infrastructure is already built for direct to consumer and create or direct to consumer. There are a lot of opportunities if brands were ready to harness it and started looking beyond the first go-to immediate ideas that at this point are three, four, five years old as far as primary uses for this technology. We’re beyond that. As a service, we should have started speaking about it differently even if we haven’t fully figured out all those applications.

It’s time to start showing showcase studies. Let’s show usage, let’s show how it is working in application because that’s the faster path to adoption and to getting that platform structure that we desperately desire to make a tip. What was holding it back was that they were still all talking their own tech and they’re in their own world. We’re in that same place with blockchain and yet every time some of these new technologies emerge, they don’t move fast enough into that, “Stop talking about your tech and start talking about how it’s applying and how I can use it to help bridge.” It’s great to be rebellious. It’s great to be on the cutting edge and be out there and be doing things and moving forward with blazing trails. There has to be a bridge built moving backward. That’s that reason that comes in. Tell me a little bit about why your philosophy is strong with that REBEL & REASON balance?

I have been a rebel all my life and it wasn’t until I started my own company that I realized that my rebelliousness was my superpower. It was the reason that I had been successful throughout my career, especially working in emerging spaces. I worked in digital marketing when it truly was the Wild West. We didn’t even have terminology like social media at the time. We were playing in spaces that had never been explored with some initial technologies like AR and VR, and I’m talking several years ago. We did have some latitude to be able to experiment in that space.

What I found was that when you’re talking about emerging technologies, if you can’t connect it back to the business challenges and/or business goals for a company or a brand, then it’s very difficult to get them to invest. Ultimately, the people making those decisions, they’re not technology nerds like us. They’re not sci-fi nerds. They’re not reading and watching these things on a regular basis to see where these trends are going. When it comes down to it, they have to be able to make a business case for it. Too often what I find is companies have largely adopted creating innovations or skunkworks teams that go beyond product innovation. More often than not, they’re disconnected from the primary business goals.

The marketing teams distrust them. That’s what I find often happens. I was talking with the CEO of Indiegogo. He was telling me that they were bringing on working with big brands like GE and Bose and things like that. Internally, they have great product development teams that are working on some cutting-edge things, but they bring it to the marketing team and the marketing team would be like, “You guys are techies, you’re geeks. What do you guys know about what our customers want to buy?” For them, they had the disconnect of not having a consumer-facing business because they don’t have their own retail. They sell more through other people’s stores. You get only the people fill out the warranty cards, which are aging. They’re not the new buying population. They weren’t getting good answers. They partnered up with Indiegogo to test out these ideas that the product development teams were coming up with. They found some of them were going crazy that they would have killed and never done if they hadn’t found a venue to test that out.

It’s about how do we create collaborative work environments where we remove the silos. It’s an antiquated way of approaching business and business strategy. The more that we can help connect the dots, the more functional those things become. I find the same disconnect in the academic space where if you have academic institutions and teams that are working on things that are disconnected from real-world challenges. You end up with interesting and fascinating technologies that have a ten to fifteen-year span before they ever hit the general public consciousness. Sometimes it takes that long. Other times, if they had more focused applications or problems they were trying to solve in conjunction with business or the civic side of the house or government or nonprofits. We would be able to solve problems quicker and see technology adoption happen faster in the consumer or end-user side.

NTE 20 | Blockchain Innovation
Blockchain Innovation: If your differentiators are not solving problems for your buyers, then they’re not differentiators.

 

Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on in the cryptocurrency blockchain area where there are a lot of companies who are out there bucking the system. They’re being all out there rebellious like, “Money’s going to go away. Cryptocurrency is going to replace everything.” I saw this in VR too. They were like, “This is going to take over. Nothing’s going to be done in the old way before.” They weren’t looking at that and saying, “I’m not showing value. I’m just showing cool tech, cool concepts or disruption, to be disruptive.” Where do they find that balance? You don’t have your investors necessarily yet. You’re still seeking them. You don’t have that balance of that forth into both being reasonable in business plan associated.

There are a couple of different things that come to mind. The first is as a community, we all need to be thinking not just about the positive benefits of these technologies, but also the potential negative uses. It’s inherent on us to start being more intentional about asking those questions up front, which I also think is tied to things like having more diverse teams and more diverse leadership. I also think that it is about connecting it to the customer problems and what you’re going to solve for them. I often say to brands when we’re doing branding work, “We’ll map out differentiators. If your differentiators are not solving problems for your buyers, then they’re not differentiators.”

They’re certainly not ones that are going to drive any product consideration. I try to help brands prioritize and ask those questions up front. Know what it is you’re trying to achieve, having some intention behind it and start small. A lot of it is about approaching these things as experimentation. Too often brands see something like blockchain and think, “How are we going to overhaul every single one of our POS systems in all of our retail stores?” It should be, “Can we test this in three stores, in one DMA and see what happens for a few months?” Let’s take those learning and potentially roll it out. A lot of it is about starting with small steps. Businesses like to have that ten-year plan and to have projections on exactly what the ROI is going to be. In reality, with a lot of emerging stuff, we don’t know yet. The only way we figure it out is by starting.

Sometimes I see red flags. We’re not here to endorse any particular application or a particular company that’s working but raise awareness and show what’s going on with them. That is in and of itself what we see a lot of it’s that their start isn’t necessarily going to prove that differentiator has value. That their start is, “Let me create a membership community who cares about cryptocurrency and see if I can get them excited about it.” At the end of the day, the only thing they’ve built is a list and they built it in blockchain because it was a hot commodity, hot topic and easy for them to say, “That’s what we’re in.” They could have built it in anything. I mostly see them as apps and things and websites and things like that. I don’t necessarily see them as providing services of value. That’s a huge problem when you’re disconnected and when you’ve misbranded in a way. If your goal is to provide the service at the end, you need to provide something that is going to be like it at some point, even if you can’t fully achieve that right at this moment.

That’s what a lot of these companies get wrong is they’re not asking the right questions at the onset.

It’s like, “Am I creating a differentiator? Is it going to be of value?” This is the case. Let’s talk a little bit about misbranding though. Things go wrong a lot of times and they end up with disconnect throughout the organization, which I had believed comes into being a place where that’s why they don’t succeed. They don’t see it. There’s this one area that is completely dissonant from the rest of what they’re producing and what they’re doing. Sometimes it’s how they handle their employees. It’s inside, but it comes across to the consumer eventually.

There is always an inherent risk involved in taking a stance on any issue as the brand. Click To Tweet

Much of what we’re seeing is traditional companies trying to catch up with the disruptors in their own vertical or disruptors from outside their vertical, which is what’s happening more often than not these days. A lot of this is about brands having to come back to some of the foundations of branding. What is your purpose? What are your values? How have those shifted or changed, especially if you’re a heritage brand? Do you modernize some of that but keep that foundation still intact? When you’re the market leader and many brands become complacent and they get in a cycle of past dependency of, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” Starting an innovation team that’s separated out and not connected into the executive leadership team with advocacy at the executive leadership level. Teams with a budget for true experimentation and with a mandate to not go off and build in a silo. The teams I’ve seen worked best are those that are abridged and that also a big part of their job is internal education.

Including business use cases within the company. Amazon is classic with they have multiple parts of their business. They have their AWS, they have their seller services and they have all of these things that go on. At the end of the day, if you’re either providing something that allows multiple parts of their team or multiple parts of their different departments to benefit from it, then it’s an innovation worth looking into for them. If you’re providing a better member value at the end of the day or their customer value at the end of the day, then that matters. They have clearly defined what we consider to be a business use case. If it doesn’t live up to these three principles, even though we don’t care what it is or how it happens as long as it does that or two of those three things. That’s something that doesn’t happen often at a company that they don’t often put in that clarity to what would make a good business use case.

You see that strong brands nowadays are purpose-led and they’re using that to be the criteria for decision-making across the organization. There are a lot of brands who are not yet doing that. You do see them make a number of missteps. They’re not connecting with their audiences in the right way. They’re not connecting with that end consumer in a way that’s relevant to them. That is a lot of what building a challenger brand is about. It’s letting your beliefs lead the organization and slaying a monster on behalf of those you serve. What is that purpose that goes beyond selling you a bottle of water or selling you a new software program? What are you trying to help people solve at a much higher societal level? If people started with that in mind, it would help guide a lot of these decisions, especially when thinking about the uses for a technology like blockchain. That should be a part of what is leading where we can go. I don’t know that brands are asking those questions.

That’s something you always have to ask yourself. I asked myself early on and part of why I’m doing this podcast is an exploration to make sure that I understand it. Is this the right fit for my company? Should I be getting in the blockchain or on the blockchain? It depends on if you’re building your own or jumping on someone else’s. Should I take cryptocurrency? Should I do these things are questions that you have to ask at it, but I’m asking it from the perspective of does this solve something that I want to achieve long-term for my business? Can I test it out without the blockchain technology and without spending that money? Test out its viability and interest in a much more manual yes, not as secure. It doesn’t have all those wonderful things that the blockchain will add.

If in the end that service is a value, then I know that when I go and put it on the blockchain I am going to be able to do that with full, deep services and technology that are going to achieve my ultimate goal of serving my clients. Not exploring that is the mistake I find. We’re a startup. We’re a couple of years into this formation of our podcast business. I get people all the time like, “Why are you even looking at this?” I was like, “It solves a problem and I believe that it solves a problem. I’m going to test that out and make sure.” If I’m not looking for that obvious solution, my competitors definitely aren’t. It’s my job because I have a specific mission I want to accomplish.

If it can be the means to the end of accomplishing that in a way, those other guys can’t stand a chance. I’ll have shifted it so far into the marketplace and done that disruption from within and without. That’s of importance to paying attention to, but it is hard to get out of like, “I’ve got to make my sales now,” when you’re starting up. “I’ve got to make my investors happy. I’ve got to grow my list. I’ve got to do whatever that is.” It’s hard to be thinking in that way and not many companies. I come from a value to innovation and a long background of that. You do too. It’s easier for us to be rebellious in our solutions and how we handle these things, but it’s not easy for anyone to do that.

NTE 20 | Blockchain Innovation
Blockchain Innovation: Strong brands nowadays are purpose-led, and they’re using that to be the criteria for decision making across the organization.

 

It’s partially making it a priority and setting aside some time. Even as a startup or a small business owner like me, I’m a solopreneur. Setting aside that time to do some strategic thinking, even reading things that are outside of your own industry. If you work in finance, go read about how they’re using blockchain in education. Go learn about how they’re using it for things like digital ID and retail loyalty. There may be interesting lessons that you could glean and overlay onto your own business to be able to bring out that value proposition. There are habits you can start to build into your organization, even if you’re a solopreneur of when you’re approaching a problem.

I have clients, for example, who after doing some work with us, they decided that they were going to start every single meeting with the question, “How is what we’re going to meet about now going to positively impact our customer?” If they could not answer that at the beginning of the meeting, the meeting was canceled until they can answer that question. If the answer is, “It won’t,” then they were like, “We’re not having this meeting.” Even if it was about internal things, they focused it on how are the changes we need to make internally? What’s the positive impact on the end consumer? There are habits and cultural protocols that you can start to build into the way that you approach ideation and problem solving that ask those questions upfront.

That’s the point that I wanted to bring to everybody. This is a good place to have you wrap up what you do and the value that you add. It’s never too soon if you’re building a fast-growing organization. If you’re in that fast growth startup mode or you’re working in this technology area where things are booming and things are moving quickly, is it not too soon to be thinking about how pervasive is my branding throughout my company? Is it serving all parts of it and growing up authentically together? Which is what you’re talking about so that you don’t have to go and do a whole cultural transformation later when it’s hard to upend the habits that have formed within your company, to begin with.

If you set that upfront, if you know your values, your purpose, who you serve and how you’re serving them. Most importantly in my mind, which this is the piece I find most companies skip. They’ll get all of that foundational stuff done, but they will not translate it into specific behaviors and then they won’t thread it through things like their review process. If you have a set of values that are foundational to your organization, your employees that should be part of their review criteria is are they behaving in a way that supports, empowers and brings those values, your purpose and your mission to life? If the answer is no, then that needs to be part of their improvement plan or part of the criteria that you look at for how you hire. It should be woven into all facets of your brand. If you can do that from the beginning, it is much easier not to make sure that it becomes a constant component moving forward.

It gives you a mechanism of decision-making across the rest of the organization beyond marketing, beyond branding, beyond visual identity. It becomes a mechanism for saying, “If these are our values and this organization wants to partner with us and they hold vastly different values, should we partner with them or not?” The answer is no. Dick’s Sporting Goods decided they’re not selling AR-15s anymore. There are a lot of people who said, “I’m never shopping at Dick’s again.” There are also a lot of people who said, “That’s going to be my primary sportswear store.” They’re willing to sacrifice a portion of the market to hold firm to their values and their purpose as an organization.

A good example of that too is when CBS decided they weren’t going to carry cigarettes anymore. Thinking about that, you make a decision as a company that, “I’m shifting my brand to wellness and we’re going to be all about focus on making people well, but we’re selling products that make people sick.” To filter that into your product strategy, that said something important to me as a consumer. That they do have a strategy that is filtering throughout their company and empowering product managers and decision makers at all levels. That says something authentic and deep about their values and deep about how they plan to serve me in the future. It comes through to the consumer at the end of the day or whoever you’re serving.

If you have that strong foundation from the get-go, you're going to have consumers and partners who self-select in. Click To Tweet

You see it even in their new plans. If you see some of the models for the new stores that they’re building, they look more like these modern clinics and they do big box pharmacy stores. They’re partnering with Target so that you can go and do your Target shopping and go to a clinic. The pharmacy piece is right there. They are living and breathing those values that they’ve put in place. It was an intentional decision to take a look at those values and take a look at how they were behaving and say, “Our behavior is not in line with what we say we are. Therefore, we’re going to take these steps to change it.” You see it with Nike as well, the Colin Kaepernick ad, even the new, “We’re crazy” ad with Serena Williams. They are taking a specific stance on these issues that are hitting the cultural zeitgeist. We saw the videos, people burning their Nike shoes saying, “They’re never going to wear Nike again,” but their revenues went up because more people said, “I totally align with that and I’m deliberately going to go out and purchase your product. I’m going to be loyal to your brand because I believe the same things you believe.”

It’s being unafraid to take a stand is a rebellious thing to do because there’s so much conservatism in like, “I don’t want to take a stand on anything. I’m not going to put myself out there.” The reality is that sometimes that’s what it takes to make sure that you are being seen and heard for the value that you’re bringing every single day. The values that have built the company or the brand that you’re working within.

There are those issues that are clearly political and we’re seeing a move towards brands who are taking a more active political stance on a variety of things. There are also brands like REI. They took a stance against consumerism. A couple of years ago they started closing on Black Friday and saying, “We believe that Thanksgiving is about family and we think you should all go out and spend the day in a national park. We’re closing our stores and we will not be participating in this insane consumerism that has been built around what was a family holiday.” As a result, you started to see a number of other retailers saying, “We believe in the family too. Maybe we should close on Black Friday.” That trend has continued.

At the end of the day though, what most people don’t realize is that Black Friday, while we call it Black Friday because you hit into the black, it’s a losing proposition for both consumers and the stores. It stresses their systems, but they bring in a product that is substandard, that is not keeping with the quality in order to match prices, in order to do this competitive thing. Opting out of it was brave and rebellious and different. Good for them is what I said the moment I said I was like, “That is going to raise their bottom line over the holiday season way more than having had a Black Friday.” You wait a couple more weeks until your business turns into the black and you’re making money because that’s how retail works. You will make more money in the end and you’ll be more profitable. You’ll have more brand loyalty moving forward because you didn’t give them something that fell apart a couple of days later.

They know their consumer. Generally, if you’re an REI shopper, you do care about the environment and being outside. Those are generally people who probably aren’t going to go wait in line at a mall. There’s a risk but also as a brand, they have such a strong foundation of who they are that they had always attracted customers who also cared about similar issues. There is always an inherent risk involved in taking a stance on any issue as the brand. If you have that strong foundation from the get-go, you’re going to have consumers and partners who self-select in. They want to be part of what you are and what you’re creating and of the philosophy of the world that you hold. In some ways, it wasn’t risky because they knew that these were their people and that was who they cared about. They decided we’re willing to sacrifice mass consumerism for the people who care about the environment and spend their days outdoors and wants to come and shop in a place who care about those things too. It feels riskier than it is.

It feels risky from the outside and that’s the thing. When you’re in a company, especially in a small startup, everything feels risky from the decisions that you make because your livelihood depends on it. The reality is that if you have deep core knowledge of who you are and who your brand is serving, then the decisions become a lot easier. There are more reasonable options and they become very clear to you.

As REI did, they redefined the industry. They completely changed the conversation around that entire topic. Not just for brands within their specific vertical, but for all apparel brands and many retail brands, they completely shifted the conversation. That’s what I love about strong branding is that you get to rewrite the rules if you do it in the right way and frame the conversation against your strengths as a brand and your values. You force the rest of the industry to directly conflict with you and say, “We don’t care about spending time with family and we think consumerism is great,” or they have to pivot to try and catch up with you. That’s the part of the magic of this type of brand strategy as well.

That’s the magic that can happen. I’m glad you’ve come to share this with us because it is this place in which what we are doing in blockchain, what we’re doing in cryptocurrency is bucking a system that needs some bucking. It needs some change. It needs this level of disruption. If we can do it in a way that isn’t like, “You guys suck and we’re going to disrupt you and you can go away.” Instead, we’re saying, “You all should catch up with us because we’re all going to be stronger. We’re going to build a better banking system. We’re going to build a better technology platform or a better superhighway, whatever it is that you’re working on within that space of blockchain and crypto.

That is our jobs here as disruptors and as rebels, to be able to move that entire industry forward. Sometimes we’ve got to drag them and sometimes we’ve got to show them how it’s done. Nicola, thank you so much for coming on. Everyone at New Trust Economy, you will be able to find all information so you can get in touch with REBEL & REASON and you can find out more about what she can do to help you. You can find us on social media, @NewTrustEconomy as well. Thanks, everyone. I’ll be back next time with a new episode on the New Trust Economy. 

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About Nicola Smith

NTE 20 | Blockchain InnovationNicola Smith is the founder and CEO of REBEL & REASON, a branding, marketing, and cultural transformation consultancy and training firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. A rebel since birth, Nicola uses her innate rebellious spirit to see possibility where others see closed doors.

Nicola has spent over 17 years leading strategy around a myriad of first-to-market opportunities such as mobile marketing, social media, AR, VR voice, and gesture-based interfaces for brands like Maybelline, Coca-cola, Microsoft, Nestle, GE, Cox Media Group, Nike, WeWork, and more.

Now, as a public speaker, business owner, and corporate consultant, Nicola helps others develop constructively rebellious habits that do more than just command attention. She partners with business leaders in a multitude of industries to wield corporate rebellion deliberately and command results.

 

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