Lee Davy continues his birds eye view of the panel activity at the recent eSports Betting Summit held at The Royal Garden Hotel in London, this time, covering how to build a better brand that appeals to eSports fans.
You rise from the pit, head into work via a coffee house, and the boss sits you down to explain that a new sport has turned up out of the blue. Millions of people love it. They spend all of their pocket money betting on virtual knives, guns, and combat gear.
“It’s going to earn over a billion dollars in revenue by the end of 2019.” Says your boss. “I want those customers. Go and get them.”
The first feeling is one of dread; one that fires fear down your throat. And then you bump into Harry Lang, Director of Marketing, for Pinnacle Sports, at an eSports Betting Summit in High Street Kensington, and you start to feel excitement wandering through those veins.
“Don’t be a Dad at the Disco.” Said Lang as he took off his bikers jacket and addressed the crowd.
He was here to explain the plus and minus points of entering the eSports betting market, how both startups and existing betting operators can get in on the act, and where acquisition opportunities and other forms of value still exists.
Lang advised the audience to start with an open mind. It’s easy to fall into the black and white fixed growth mindset that besets even the best of us. I have seen this stubborn ‘i know it all attitude’ in the rail industry. I see it in the world of poker. Lang doesn’t want you to fall into the same trap in eSports.
Surprisingly, people have been betting on eSports for over five years, but Lang said there has been a dramatic surge in interest in the past 18-months with betting volumes doubling in size year-on-year.
His work at Pinnacle Sports has taught him that you can’t segment eSports consumers like sports bettors. They are chalk and cheese with the only constant being the mechanics of betting.
At this rate Lang believes eSports betting will break into the Top 5 most popular betting markets by 2018. An Aug 2015 Eilers Research LLC white paper estimated that the market will generate over $23bn by 2020.
And opportunity exists.
“The land has not been grabbed yet.” Said Lang.
He believes dedicated eSports betting operators like Unikrn are the front runners and can take advantage of the market quicker.
Get Your Game On
When Pinnacle handed Lang the responsibility of creating an eSports brand he knew next to nothing about the sport. What he did next is his advice to anyone wanting to get involved in the industry.
Play the games.
And then in true Bernadette Jiwa style, Lang told the audience to go out and learn everything you can about your customer. Where do they hang out? What are they talking about? How do they consume eSports? What are the favourite games? Why?
Be open and transparent if you are mingling on forums mining for gold. Trust and security are critical. You cannot buy credibility. You have to earn it. Also, use your ears. Listen to what people have to say about the products they want to use.
Watch eSports. Go to Twitch and the other live stream platforms and consume. What do you see? Are there opportunities? Can you promote? Where can we merge markets?
Build Your Brand
Once again Lang focused heavily on the role trust and security plays in this relationship. Do you want people to hand you their flexible friends? Be a trustworthy brand.
“Build from inside eSports, don’t parachute in as a betting operator.” Warned Lang.
He talked about building a brand architecture on the cheap and gave the audience guidelines on how to do that. He also talked about differentiation, and not having to have this Eagle on a Stick type eSports team logo mentality.
“Be different.” Said Lang.
On brand names, he wanted to know if yours was engaging, concise, motivating, memorable, descriptive, and urged people to check out the .gg suffixes.
“Have fun.” Said Lang.
Product Differentiation & Security
Lang talked about the money needed to build a brand.
“Nobody knows how to spend Pinnacle’s budget,” said Lang.
He talked briefly about the ‘ultimate’ structure for an eSports brand, and how costly it can be, and not always necessary. Costs didn’t have to be an inhibiting factor when starting out.
“Would you trust you with your credit card details?” Asked Lang.
He said that ‘collusion’ has become a buzzword at Pinnacle. They have had to shut some games down. He impressed that if we can’t control collusion, there is no betting in eSports.
On regulation, he said the volume in the Far East is enormous but a very problematic market to get money out. The UK is a great market with strong regulation and could be a world leader.
Make Some Noise
Lang signed off by urging those looking to create an eSports brand to learn to make some noise. Video content was the way forward and advertising through respected Shoutcasters (the oracles of eSports) is a sound strategy; as is having a presence on big forums like GosuGamers and the live tournament streams.