Branding in the Age of Esports
“A brand is a living entity, and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.”
Michael Eisner, former Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company
All successful brands have distinct personalities. And much like humans, these personalities develop over the course of years. Meaning while brand image can change over time, personality is more consistent.
- Brand image – tangible and visible characteristics
- Brand personality – traits associated with an emotional connection (vibe)
Brand personality is especially prominent in the world of competitive video games. Where digitally native esports organizations are largely dependent on fans’ identification with their brand and loyalty to it.
Getting personal with IBM Watson
In the past, surveys were used to determine how customers relate to brands. Today, advances in artificial intelligence by IBM Watson can accurately predict the personality traits perceived by humans.
Accordingly, eSports iQ and IBM Watson are used to profile written text from top teams on social media to produce insights on their brand personality.
To do so, AI-powered analytics were mapped to Jennifer Aaker’s Five Dimensions of Brand Personality (Journal of Marketing Research, 1997):
- Sincerity – authentic, pure, and friendly.
- Excitement – daring, spirited, and playful.
- Competence – successful, reliable, and performant.
- Sophistication – timeless, smooth, and refined.
- Ruggedness – strong, assertive, and hard-working.
Why it matters
Understanding how esports brands are perceived is critical to developing more meaningful interactions and audience-centric marketing strategies. The importance of which grows as more non-endemic partners expand involvement in the world of competitive video games.
For example, BMW recently teamed with 5 esports teams – Cloud 9, Fnatic, Funplus Phoenix, G2 Esports, and T1. The German automaker’s campaign themes like “United in Rivalry” and “United at Home,” will benefit from close alignment with each partner team’s brand personality.
Ultimately, esport audiences will personify brands, for better or worse, on their own. Which further underscores the importance of establishing a clear voice that consistently resonates. The combination of human touch and AI-powered platforms like eSports iQ helps do just that.
Published at Wed, 10 Jun 2020 16:16:36 +0000
VALORANT’s Esports Potential
“We’re overwhelmed by the initial interest and excitement in VALORANT. We have massive dreams for what this game can be as an esport, and we’re excited to embark on this long esports journey with our players,”
Whalen Rozelle, Senior Director of Global Esports at Riot Games via InvenGlobal
VALORANT – Riot Game’s new tactical shooter title – is still in closed beta but is already generating buzz. For example, several gaming organizations and professional players are eyeing the competitive scene.
Anticipation of VALORANT’s esports emergence is somewhat premature, but not surprising – given Riot’s pedigree and vision for the game. So, it’s safe to say that the title will affect the complexion of esports moving forward.
Numbers don’t lie
To chart VALORANT’s prospects across the competitive video game landscape, let’s take a data-driven look at its player community.
Approach: Utilize eSports iQ to profile the social data of 3,000+ English-speaking VALORANT gamers.
Objective: Highlight factors affecting the game’s esports growth potential.
Overwatch League competition
Blizzard’s Overwatch League (OWL) is still finding its footing even after selling franchise slots for north of $30M. So, Riot’s launch of a similar game is likely to influence its growth prospects.
Reality: 3 out of 4 VALORANT players interested in OWL follow a total of 3+ esports titles. Whereas, just 7% follow OWL only.
What it means: Competitive VALORANT will largely draw from an already fragmented OWL audience.
As publisher of the world’s top esport title, Riot Games is in a unique position to launch another game with competitive potential. The Tencent owned company can leverage League of Legends’ player base (~100M) and existing esports ecosystem (100+ pro teams).
Reality: 1 out of 2 VALORANT gamers follow League of Legends esports. And, 1 out of 3 aren’t interested in any traditional sports.
What it means: Crossover interest in League of Legends esports should help, not hamper, competitive scene growth. Further down the line, there is opportunity to increase mindshare among the sizable contingent of players who aren’t into physical sports.
VALORANT is already attracting a strong proportion of esports fans. Obviously, the game needs work before an official launch, let alone professional play, but the audience demand is there.
Reality: Only 13% of VALORANT gamers are not interested in esports.
What it means: The early wave of VALORANT gamers exhibit a strong disposition towards esports consumption, which is positively related to an organic competitive community.
eSports iQ uses AI/machine learning to produce audience analytics that help you understand digital sport fans, their interests and how to interact with them.
Published at Mon, 11 May 2020 13:30:11 +0000