10 Commandments for Brands in Gaming & Esports
For brand marketers to engage gamers, it’s critical to first understand its unique culture, community and sub-communities. Once this is mastered, define your brand’s point of entry and point of difference before mapping out your marketing strategy. Clarity there will help achieve your objectives such as raising awareness, driving perception change, or spurring action while creating rewarding consumer experiences for gamers.
If brands don’t start with the basics, their messages will fall on deaf ears, wasting time, money and credibility. Here are “10 Commandments of Gaming & Esports” that brand marketers can follow for success in this space:
1. Recognize the difference between “Gaming” and “Esports”
Gaming is about the playing and/or watching of video games, while esports is the competitive version of gaming where individuals or teams compete on an amateur or professional basis. A small but important distinction: it’s ‘Esports’ when used at the beginning of a sentence and ‘esports’ when used within a sentence.
2. Support consumer passion across the spectrum of gaming
There are multiple gaming platforms, game genres, and titles that attract different fandoms. To reach gamers and their various communities, marketers must align their efforts across much of this spectrum. Just like you can’t reach all sports fans by only sponsoring and activating NHL games, the same applies to gamers; supporting a single genre, game, or team simply won’t work. League of Legends fans for example are very different than fans of Super Smash Bros.
3. Keep your ear to the ground
Listen to gamers at consumer events like PAX and DreamHack, or esports events from ESL, Riot Games, and Overwatch League; on social media, and online with platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer. Understand the industry by building an informal gaming and esports Board of Advisors to provide agency, publisher, platform, event, and esports team perspectives. Engaging with the gaming industry and understanding trends shaping its evolution will help uncover relevant opportunities.
4. Add value
Determine how your brand and its resources can positively impact this audience’s passion. Brands that provide stability, growth, and innovation are recognized and rewarded. Most non-endemic brands (brands who market products/services other than games, associated hardware, and accessories) are relatively new entrants, so their impact and resulting long term success is still to be determined. Endemic brands such as processor chip manufacturer, Intel, have long supported the growth of gaming and esports, as evidenced through their flagship tournament series Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) in partnership with ESL. As a result, Intel has amassed a direct conduit to this audience for its products through IEM events across the world and their associated broadcasts that reach millions. Non-endemic brands should take note from Intel that continued and sustained support goes a long way in earning respect from this community.
To read the rest of the commandments, head over to Advertising Week.