INTERVIEW: Ctrl Alt CMO on the continuing power of long-form content

Alex Sword


The Financial Services Forum

Alternative asset start-up Ctrl Alt is embracing long-form content such as reports as it seeks to become the go-to education hub for alternative assets and tokenisation, says CMO Ele Ward.

Ctrl Alt was founded in 2020 to bring down the barriers to investing in alternative assets, particularly in property. By using blockchain, the company can tokenise essentially anything, allowing investors to own fractional shares in almost any asset class. 

For example, the film industry is hugely lucrative, but the financing of them is often a chaotic and drawn-out process. Through tokenisation, investors can own a fractional share in this. Ele says Ctrl Alt hopes to have its first film investment live towards the end of the year.

The product has gradually evolved beyond its core property offering into sustainability projects and private equity, while its target market has moved from consumers to fintechs, banks and corporate adivsors who are looking to offer alternative assets to their eligible customers.

The foundation of Ctrl Alt’s marketing strategy is thought leadership, aimed at demonstrating its expertise in the space and educating people about the category. This is done through both earned and paid for press as well as SEO practice.

“The benefit as well as the downside to being one of the early people in the space is there isn’t much conversation, so you have to educate.

“But with education comes a great opportunity to really own key messages and key terms that position us.”

One key topic is the technology used to tokenise the assets. Blockchain is strongly associated with cryptocurrency and its cycles of boom and bust over the last decade or more.

The firm launched right after cryptocurrencies went through one of their periodic slides. Ctrl Alt had to make sure that it was not too strongly associated with cryptocurrency, meaning it had to be very careful about its messaging, wording and influencers.

“It was about us really making sure that association was separate because I think crypto and blockchain can become so synonymous, as opposed to it being a thing that people use in their day-to-day lives without realising it. 

“We were really careful with that messaging and making sure we were really clear and not having any of the negative associations from the Web 3.0-crypto space.”

She notes that the conversation around blockchain and tokenisation has moved on since then.

“If we look at the government report that came out at the end of last year, the working group for tokenisation, everybody’s now speaking about it. It’s this more positive conversation that we’re able to get involved with because the sentiment is really clear.”

The goal is for Ctrl Alt to now own that conversation.

“We know there’s a lot of pressure and some of our target audiences need to get up to speed on alternative assets and tokenisation, so how can we be the go-to people to equip them with that?”

This has included looking more into long-form content, interestingly at a time where many more traditional asset managers are disavowing the traditional report and whitepaper approach. 

So far Ctrl Alt has produced one report explaining the basics of alternative assets and another explaining tokenisation. These functioned as data capture activities, allowing Ctrl Alt to build a newsletter which allows it to not only attract new clients but also service existing ones.

The start-up also worked to interview key influencers who could share the report with their networks to broaden the audience.

She notes that the report is not a traditional whitepaper but is slimmed down and more accessible. Ctrl Alt is also trying different ways to activate and repurpose the report online through a constant test and learn process. 

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