How Can Brands Navigate The World Of Esports?
Understanding The World of Esports
- What options do brands have when considering an esports campaign?
- What are some of the common mistakes that brands make when entering esports?
“How can we get into esports?”A common phrase that has been said by countless brands looking to dive into the world of esports. Their intentions are good, considering the direction that esports is headed, but the execution needs a little more nuance than that.
Trying to “get into esports” would be akin to trying to “get into sports”, or “get into music”. Does your brand wish to be identified with Football or Golf? With Classical music or an EDM festival?
The esports industry , while not quite as extreme as the examples above, has its own variations that require research, planning, and understanding - If you want to get it right, that is.
A game like World of Warcraft caters largely to older players, as the game has been around since 2004. A title like Fortnite, however, has a much younger audience, due to the nature of the game and it’s relatively recent release.
Advertising to World of Warcraft fans would garner significantly different results to advertising to Fortnite fans. An Alcohol brand would likely find far more success focusing on the former, which holds an older player base and audience, while a soft drink may find more joy with the latter and its younger fanbase.
Once you’ve selected an area that will suit your target audience, it’s time to focus on the specifics of your campaign in esports.
Working with a game developer can be different depending on which game you’d like to enter. Some developers keep control over their esports scene - like Riot Games’ League of Legends and their League Championship Series (LCS) and League of Legends European Championship (LEC) - while others like to delegate control to third parties - Take Valve and Counter-Strike for example which has an open circuit and a myriad of different tournament organizers.
Certain esports titles lend themselves especially well to specific industries. A good example of this would be car manufacturers and Rocket League - A game that resembles football, but with players controlling rocket-powered cars instead.
This will also involve working with specific publishers, but with a significantly clearer focus.
Alongside publishers and leagues, brands can also choose to work with esports teams.
Rather than targeting an individual game and an individual audience, working with an esports team can provide a variety of different opportunities. It’s very rare that a popular esports team only operates in one title, more often than not they will be involved in several.
G2 Esports, as an example, are one of the most popular teams in Europe, and currently house 72 players competing over 8 different esports titles.
Increasingly, teams are fighting to form their own identities and differentiate themselves from the competition. G2 Esports are the “bad guys” that opposition fans love to hate, while Fnatic are the honourable “good guys” - to pick an example within Europe.
If you can line up your brand to a team that holds similar values, team partnerships can, and have, been very successful.
This is merely an introduction to the world of esports. The topic is much broader than it seems on first-glance, and requires research and planning before diving in. No different to any other industry.
Despite seeming quite daunting, a move into esports is certainly achievable and is often very successful, as long as brands treat esports as they would any other consumer passion point - with respect.