Gaming spaces are already optimized for socially-distanced gatherings of millions of consumers. Gen Zs are natives to e‑sports, online gaming, and gaming video content, which have exploded over the last decade into a $150 billion industry. But with the increases in gaming adoption during quarantine and lack of alternative advertising mediums, brands are stepping into the game space in fresh, innovative ways. So, how do you do it?
Start with a well-thought-out strategy, rooted in insight, and that has a clear purpose. The scale of digital events runs the gamut — from unique ways to meet with clients, to events that would have otherwise been held IRL (concerts, proms, weddings), to e‑sporting events with millions of fans won over decades of brand-building. Identify how and why your brand needs to be in the digital space, and think beyond “everyone’s on Fortnite.” Remember, just because an event is digital, doesn’t immediately make it good. A bad idea executed digitally is still, well, just a bad idea.
Lean into the medium. Games and digital events easily allow you to break all the rules and physical limitations while remaining accessible and interactive. The buck doesn’t need to stop with “a meeting but make it virtual”; think about how real, authentic bonds are made. A “bank heist in GTA” might go further in team-building than yet another Zoom meeting. Working with game developers to develop custom content will take things to the next level: from simple, branded in-game assets, to having the main character of your campaign as a playable character.
Make it exclusive, or reward people for their time. Exclusivity that can be earned is always appreciated. Digital swag, gifts, and exclusive drops earned through attendance, or given to only the top players, can be touted as clout later. Paid cosmetics are fine, as long as there’s no real in-game effect. And as always, leave Pay-To-Win at the door. Anything that you can buy that gives an in-game advantage breaks trust with gamers, going against the values they hold close.
Don’t abandon digital efforts after quarantine. The gaming space isn’t going anywhere. Once you find out what’s having the right effect on your KPIs, turn up the noise. The growth in this sector is unprecedented and we expect it to continue well into the “new normal.”