Gaming is officially a $43 billion industry. Still, non-endemic brands are still nervous to take the leap into this industry -- and they are seriously missing out on an untapped audience.
For brands looking to reach these new audiences and build lasting relationships with consumers, the below takeaways should help focus their efforts to achieve maximum impact:
Fight the misconceptions. Education should always be the first step. Brands looking to expand their marketing efforts into the gaming industry should approach it holistically — not like other traditional sports sponsorships. Laying out an understanding of the landscape, where the industry has come from and where it’s going, provides insight into how a specific brand can get involved.
The equivalent of slapping a logo around a sports stadium does not have the same effect on fans in the gaming space. With this expansive audience, different genres, and dramatic variety within each platform, understanding how to segment and utilize the right platform for your brand is crucial.
Enter the dialogue. The gaming industry is giving brands the unique opportunity to enter a two-way dialogue with its star players and their die-hard fans -- the depth of emotion and connection here is much greater than with a traditional Instagram influencer, for example.
Gaming influencers are also giving their fans acknowledgement in front of their millions of followers -- talk about a relationship! There’s an emotional labor that each of these influencers put in -- some, as their full-time job -- to foster and curate relationships that aren’t typical of other sports.
Plus, today’s audiences typically consume brands digitally, which already puts gaming ahead of other sports.
Finding the platform that works for your brand is also key. It’s not always about going after the largest influencers. Sometimes lesser-known influencers, who have a smaller but super dedicated fanbase, are better. But more important than anything else, having an authentic voice when entering this dialogue is absolutely essential.
Understand the evolution. It’s about aligning with the industry itself vs. the individual pieces. Technology is going to continue to evolve to make gaming better — another differentiator when compared to traditional sports. No other sport has been able to improve so exponentially, but gaming has and will. Invest in the community, treat the industry as the growing entertainment channel it is and evolve with it. Marketing your brand one way this year, might not work next year.
Get experiential. Experiential marketing has hit its stride -- and since the gaming industry is an experiential world in the first place, curating activations and experiences for the consumer in the space builds genuine, lasting relationships.
For example, consider creating real-world rewards from online gameplay to enhance your fans’ experience to create value for your brand thereafter. True magic happens when brands put consumers in immersive branded experiences. Short of becoming a character in your favorite video game, perhaps the next best way to experience an imaginary world is to live it.