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Ross Drakes

Blockchain And Brands

Using cutting-edge technology to build brands that people care about is what Ross Drakes, founder and creative director of branding agency Nicework, does best.

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Ross Drakes started Nicework, a branding company, 15 years ago with two partners. Together they set out to do nice work, for nice people in a nice way. With work ranging from global companies like Nike through to the inventors of the hamburger, Ross spends his time teaching businesses and their leaders the secrets to building brands people care about.

Since 2021, Nicework has been shifting its focus to unlocking the value that Web3 creates for brands.

Ross has written a book about what makes people care, lectures part time at universities in South Africa and hosts two podcasts, One More Question and RadEO (a podcast for EO South Africa). He has been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation since 2014.


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10 Tasty Bites 

Below is a preview of what you can expect to learn in this recipe. 

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About This Recipe


Nicework’s name signifies who and what the branding company is, how it works and the kind of work it delivers. It is an example of the founders eating their own brand-building pudding, as Ross Drakes, founder and creative director, describes it.

In this recipe, Ross unpacks his view of brands as shared hallucinations and vehicles to get consumers to care about companies. He discusses some excellent examples of how brands develop their meaning, and shares the potential Web3 technology and NFTs hold for co-ownership of brands.

Ross also demystifies blockchain technology, and urges entrepreneurs to participate in new technology early on to benefit from the asymmetric relationship between advantages and disadvantages.

What You'll Learn


If you think that brands live on billboards and signage, this recipe has much to teach you. Similarly, if you believe that blockchain technology, Web3 and NFTs are not relevant to you and your business and its brand.

The recipe unpacks the tech jargon and explains how it all comes together in a process that opens up tremendous opportunities for companies brave enough to enter into a co-creation and co-ownership relationship with their customers.

There is also advice on why output-based billing is a better business model for creatives than billable hours, and why entrepreneurs should get involved in new technology early on.


Learn from someone who speaks from a position of real authority, perspective and experience.


Implement practical tips and techniques learned in the trenches - doing, rather than talking.


Join a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs in our growing community and share your learnings as you go.

Get Learning

This entrepreneurial micro-course will take you only a few minutes per day (or you can binge if you want to). Feel free to skip around and please let us know what you think. 

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Deep Cuts 

Love this recipe? Here are some additional videos to delve even further into the topic.


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