Why Your Company Should Embrace Esports


With the rise in popularity of esports, more and more companies are realizing that they need to get into the space. More than 25% of all gamers are also involved with some aspect of esports. With millions watching live events and streaming on Twitch, it is easily one of the fastest growing industries in the world today.


But as more and more companies see esports as a potential investment, more and more companies are getting into the space. Established brands like Coca-Cola, Dell, Red Bull, Dr. Pepper and many other companies have begun creating partnerships in order to gain access to this audience of over 250 million.


With all of these different players entering the market at once, it can be difficult to find a niche and earn the trust of esports fans. The good news is that there are many opportunities for companies in the space that are looking to create partnerships with specific gaming teams. However, it's important to remember that not all partnerships will be successful, and some may even damage your brand or restrict your access to the growing entertainment market.

As a brand, here are some things to consider when looking at esports.


Where do you want to be?


If your company is entering the space because you want to advertise to gamers, it's important that you figure out who your target audience is. Are they PC gamers or console users? Casual players or "hardcore" gamers? Are they the fans of one specific game or are they fans of a specific gamer?


For example, Coca-Cola is focusing on PC and mobile platforms, while Dr. Pepper has entered into a partnership with League of Legends . Red Bull has done something similar with Halo, and Nissan has partnered with Major League Gaming for streaming opportunities.

How can you help?


There are two different ways that a brand can contribute to the industry. The first is by sponsoring events, teams and players in order to get access to their audience. This could include offering money for advertising or simply working with a team in order to create marketing opportunities. Brands like Coca-Cola have done this with the International DOTA 2 Championship.


The second way is to offer products and services in exchange for exposure within the game itself. This could include a range of different in-game items, gear or vehicles that would be displayed to players during gameplay. Dr. Pepper was entered into League of Legends through this method, offering "K/DA" characters that players could use during gameplay.

In addition, many brands have begun to provide their own content through the use of influencers and streamers. For example, Red Bull has created a specific show for Halo called "Red vs Blue," where they take two teams and pit them against one another in order to create content. This method has also been used by Mountain Dew , which has sponsored streamers like Summit1g to create content in a way that is more relatable than traditional advertisements.


What will your audience think?


There is no point in entering into an esports partnership if it contradicts the current messaging of your company. Before you decide on how you want to enter the space, you need to decide what your company's brand identity is, and whether or not esports will be a good match. For example, if your current messaging is about health and wellness then entering into a partnership with an energy drink like Red Bull would contradict the values that you've worked hard to build.


Will it bring in new business?


One of the most important aspects of any company is customer retention. If your customers are already happy with your product, there's no reason for them to leave and try a new brand. However, if you're looking to enter into this space just to get more sales, it might not be in the best interest of your current business model. Most partnerships don't bring in any sales unless you have the financial resources to back it up. However, if your goal is to increase awareness for a specific game or game genre, then this might be an option worth considering.


What are the terms?


One of the biggest mistakes that companies make when entering into esports partnerships is not looking at the terms and conditions. When companies sponsor events, teams or players they often expect some form of compensation in return. This could include merchandise that is branded by the company and used during livestreams or gameplay, as well as other rewards such as tickets to future esports events or other marketing items related to your brand. It's important to know what kind of expectations will be expected of you before entering into a partnership, and what kind of return on investment you might expect.


What does your strategy look like?


Before creating an esports strategy it's important to plan out exactly what you want from the industry as a whole. For example, do you want to create new sponsorship deals or are you looking for additional sales? Once you've figured out what your goals are you can move onto determining how it fits into your overall marketing strategy. For example, a company like Coca-Cola has the resources to provide monetary compensation for brand placement, while Pepsi might not be able to offer the same sponsorship opportunities due to budget restrictions.


Conclusion


Esports is becoming more and more popular as time passes, and it might be a good idea for your business to enter into the space. However, if your company is looking to use esports for sales or business development purposes, it's important to look at ways that you can leverage this new partnership in order to create more interest around your brand. In the end, esports is just like traditional sports… it's more about your team playing well, than the performance of your competitors.


Learn more about how Sirotin Ventures can help build your company's esports strategy by getting in touch at angelica.sirotin@gmail.com



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