Brands: 5 Elements of an Effective Esports Strategy
Update: On 10/8/15, we officially announced the launch of our global esports practice, which will focus on helping brands strategically connect with the esports community. The practice will be headquartered in the U.S., with key hubs across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific.
Esports: it’s huge, growing quickly, and shows no signs of stopping. And despite ongoing debate over how it compares to “real” sports, esports has the potential to become the world’s first truly global sport.
Esports has not only earned global participation and viewership well into the millions, but is not limited by any geographical field of play or physical logistics to contend with. Tournaments are streamed online at no cost and can quickly and easily connect fans across the world into an international shared experience. Worldwide esports content has grown by an average of 7% each month for the past three years, while viewership has doubled during that same period.
If your brand is targeting 16-34 year olds and wants to maintain relevance with this younger consumer, you need an esports marketing strategy and planning approach. GMR’s strategic approach to esports focuses on the lifestyle experience of not only the online gaming community itself, but also cultural and lifestyle areas that contemporary gamers are passionate about, like music and apparel.
Building an effective eSports marketing strategy
The successful brand strategy will take and integrated approach to custom programming, promotions, and brand experiences, and will consider the following tenets:
- Connect with the community. Long term esports success starts with knowing the esports target. What’s the right game? Who are their players? What are their age brackets? What is their socio-economic status? What are their interests?
- Understand where your brand fits in. Part of creating an effective esports marketing strategy is understanding how your brand is used and what it means to its users, and making this part of your positioning statement and messaging. The only way to resonate with esports consumers is to talk in the language that they will understand.
- Integrate digitally. It’s where this consumer lives and breathes. While most of the attention tends to focus on marquee tournaments and events, it’s important that your strategy is fully integrated—across events, media, public relations, advertising, social and promotions—to maximize how your brand is viewed by millions of esports consumers worldwide.
- Look beyond the titles. Aligning with individual game titles may not be an optimal approach. Regardless of which games are hot at the moment, elements of competition, accessibility and participation will continue to grow the esports genre as a whole. Brands can add value here.
- Engage the fan base. Market your esports participation to the esports masses. These fans and supporters aren’t just passive spectators. They are active contributors and content creators, so planting the seeds of growth now will help your brand maximize interest and participation down the line.
The esports industry is huge and continuously growing across the world, which presents opportunities in all areas of the integrated marketing mix: partnerships with game developers, teams, players, event organizers and online streaming video. The esports market will never be as easy to enter as it is now, and getting in sooner will position brands for a far stronger return on investment.
Update: On 10/8/15, we officially announced the launch of our global esports consulting practice, which will focus on helping brands strategically connect with the esports community. The practice will be headquartered in the U.S., with key hubs across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific.
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