Interview with Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol on Brand Strategy

Interview with Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol on Brand Strategy

Becky Liggero talks to Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol and he shares what some of the challenges are that the online gambling faces when it comes to brandingand how one company manage a branding strategy that’s global.

Becky Liggero: I am here today with Sasha Strauss. He is with innovation protocol and we’re really lucky to have him because he has spoken at Google Conference; he is a TEDx speaker; he is a professor with just tons of experience in branding.

So we will start today by talking about some of the challenges that you think is the online gambling industry faces when it comes to brandings. One thing I know is that we have a lot of brands; their audiences are global; they’re reaching out people in Asia, America to Europe. So how does one company actually manage a branding strategy that’s global?

Sasha Strauss: I’ll tell you. I’ve been in this business a long time and it used to be that you create a one global identity and you asserted that in the market and the market had to receive it. But the internet area has change communication to the point where you actually now have to localized. So global product manufacturer, global business-to-business providers have shifted their psychology from one international identity to a common concept that links their international businesses but they’ve localized the culture, tonality, word usage so that it’ll apply specifically to the market that they’re trying to engage.

Becky Liggero: That’s interesting. In the online gambling industry, we are often times operators will have a casino product, a poker product or a sports product. But we also have companies who are let’s say poker specific like PokerStars. So how does that one company has all three offerings compete in their poker product with the giant like PokerStars in poker-branding strategy?

Sasha Strauss: What’s important is that those are actually two different business models and this is what we often forget as marketers. But if you are building one product and regularly promoting that individual product that’s a different business than having an array of products where you are trying to get your consumer to move between them. So first the question is, are those the same? Not the same but you need to operate the business differently. So to explain the separation, when you have one primary product, all of your vocabulary can be directed at how that product works; why the consumer should care; why they should believe in you. But when you have three products, you have to have a different psychology which is well we want the people to move between the products. So we have to give them something that is not just about the way the game is played; it’s our philosophy on gaming; why we have selected these three choices to pull into a single source. See the difference in the psychology? It’s just respect for the consumer decision-making power and giving them the relationship that they’re coming to seek. Those that play multiple games, want multiple games. They want an organization that’s good at supplying that environment. Those who only care about poker, they don’t want to be distracted by all these adjacent games. They want someone who specializes that’s a completely different marketing strategy.

Becky Liggero: So the company with all three games wants to go after a customer who only wants poker. So how do they that?

Sasha Strauss: They have a give them a reason to choose not the specialist. So take that in your personal life. If an organization is going to connect to you and sell to you but they say forget the specialist; don’t worry about them. They have to give you some other reason to believe and that’s the cracks of the question is how can you give someone enough to believe in and say to themselves, “my inclination is choose the specialist but I’m hearing with these other guys and they have these other reason for me to pay attention. It might be the user experience on the site. It might be the ease of transaction. Whatever the incentive is, you have to give them something else other than our poker is just as good as their poker because the consumer is not gonna take the time to register with both institution, port money into their payment system and to sides the face value of which is better.

Becky Liggero: Very very cool and I know that internally for particular operator, they’ve got a brand strategy. Who is the champion of the strategy?

Sasha Strauss: Such a good question. It used to be that the champion of brand is the marketing executive, the person whose only job is to market but as we’ve all come to learn, when we recruiting talents, let’s say human resources. Shoot the talent says, “Tell me about your company?” and if the HR executive does not know what to say then you’ve lost the talent. Same thing with strategic partners; let’s say you’re dealing with a strategic partner that file publicly, a public traded company. Every single organization that they do business with knows the identity and reputation of it. So what you could see I’m asserting here is that it used to be a marketers’ role but now it’s up in the C-suite, the chief executives have to be involve coz they also have to talk to their investors and the banks and the HR department and the gamers. So it really have to be the chief executive’s decision and I will tell you that that is now part of the course. This is not just some kind of contemporary opinion.

Becky Liggero: This is all been fantastic. Is there anything that you wanted to add?

Sasha Strauss: Well I think that the gaming sector is at a fascinating evolutionary state. In fact, most of the third world does not know what a computer looks like but they all know what a mobile device looks like. Alright that therefore has to change our business model and planning. Now is the time to do it. Don’t wait for two years and try to see what falls out. You will miss the boat.

Becky Liggero: Fantastic. You’ve been an inspiration.