Entertainment brands that partner with gaming properties can generate great PR and a positive halo for the brand in the short term, while also shifting long-term brand perception, says a Havas executive.
In The WARC Guide to Marketing in the Gaming Ecosystem , Funto Debo-Aina, Account Director at Havas Media Group, explains how, done right, such partnerships successfully tap into valuable audiences, who tend to be fans of popular culture in general.
And, he adds, “It can shift long-term brand perception to being less static, more modern and dynamic”.
Crucially, though, marketers need to disabuse themselves of the notion that gamers are a homogenous group. It is only by understanding the variations, Debo-Aina explains, that brands can find the opportunity to integrate bespoke messaging.
“As with film, books and music, genre is a key consideration,” he observes. “There are subsets within subsets – for example, platform of choice. Gamers may use a console (Nintendo, PlayStation or Xbox) or favour the PC.” Then there’s the mindset to consider – hardcore gamer or mid-core enthusiast – in order to strike the right tone of voice.
The games industry itself has long moved on from just making its money from product sales, as developers have created games which have the capacity to introduce advertising without being disruptive and devised a model that encourages players to perform microtransactions within games – where people spend money on, for example, character or weapon skins.
“It has been a balancing act for the games industry to find the sweet spot with regards to the business models they adopt, to deliver a premium gaming experience without an associated price tag,” says Debo-Aina.
And he singles out Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite, among other games, as one outfit that is delivering an experience that works for both gamers and entertainment brands – with marketers now able to create skins for their brand to use within Fortnite.
“It’s this model which games publishers can emulate to lead to more powerful brand partnerships in the future,” he states.
Fortnite, he continues, “has tapped into the zeitgeist with pop culture partnerships, embracing its identity as not only a popular gaming title, but an entertainment branding vehicle.
“This allows for far more intimate experiences between entertainment brands and the consumer, building positive sentiment towards both parties.”
This article first appeared in knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
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