We take a deeper look at the opportunities for brands in esports
Authenticity. In any discussion involving how brands should be looking to reach Millennials, this term so often becomes the focal point of the conversation. Millennials are fast emerging as the dominant market segment for the majority of brands, with a recent report estimating that 75.3 Millennials are spending upwards of $200 billion annually. How then, can brands still be puzzled as to how best to reach this new generation of consumers?
The answer is that most brands don’t actually understand Millennials; fundamentally, they don’t speak their language. Trying to ‘humanize your brand’ doesn’t cut it as authenticity anymore, Millennials are becoming resilient to the novelty of this style of marketing. Genuine authenticity comes from being a part of the conversation when it actually matters, giving Millennials the content they want, when they want it and right now, that Millennial conversation is all about esports.
Esports has been flying under many brands’ marketing radar for years. Not to be confused with the broader gaming market, esports – or competitive gaming – has created entirely its own ecosystem of players, fans, teams and businesses, the nurtured culture of truly digital-native millennials. Barely at the end of the first decade of its lifetime, esports has already surpassed the viewership of ice hockey and basketball and it currently rivalling American football with it’s weekly figures in the US. Importantly however, compared to these traditional sports, the cost for brands to enter the space is minute, with the chance to build affinity with a passionate Millennial audience serving as the ultimate return on investment.
The esports industry is here to stay and is rapidly moving into the mainstream spotlight, as television networks and streaming platforms alike jostle for position on media rights. In the meantime, venture capitalists, traditional sports teams and brands are all jumping at the opportunity to partner with popular esports teams, whilst endemic brands who acted quickly when the phenomenon emerged – for instance, HP and Logitech – are putting themselves into positions of strength with creative content strategies and marketing campaigns that resonate with their audience.
As the esports industry continues to mature, the opportunities for brands to authentically reach the illusive Millennial audience will only continue to grow – with the esports content space in particular, providing brands with a golden opportunity to reach their target demographic. Still, authenticity remains the key. Failure to appreciate the nuances of the esports community will render any attempt to enter the space as a failure; ‘backing the right horse’ within the esports content landscape has never been more important. At this point, it is no longer a question of if, but when brands realize that esports is the answer to the question that has perplexed them for so many years.
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