2020 was prolific for video games on literally any platform, as lockdown and worldwide health concerns caused an unprecedented increase in online gaming projects. The vast lucrative market naturally lures new developers, who will contribute to the already fierce competition for users. Branding in the gaming industry plays an important role.
How do you drive players’ interest? How do you engage new users? What must you not miss? We’ll give all answers in a new Milk Blog post.
Does your brand have nothing to do with video games? Read this post anyway — we will share why it’s a great idea to pursue collaborations with game developers
A typical gamer and outlook for the video game industry
Let’s describe a typical gamer. What do they look like? A kidult who has not seen sunlight in months? Or a nerd with no chance of a relationship? Unless you work in the game industry or play games, chances are very high that this is exactly how you picture a regular gamer spending lots and lots of time playing on their consoles, PCs, or mobile devices.
While this portrait might have been spot on some 20 years ago, it is far from the real world today. Games are currently enjoyed by all sorts of people of all ages — from toddlers to mature women, from school kids to major business owners.
Competition in the video game industry will keep growing, so it is high time you considered ways to become more visible to the audience and promote your brand.
Significance of branding in the game industry
Gamers tend to spend a lot of time inside the gaming process and often identify with the projects they play. A person who dives into a virtual world for a few hours daily — whatever the genre — is highly likely to associate themselves with the game.
Powerful branding with elaborate media will capture the attention of the target audience, increase engagement, and fuel interest in the company’s ongoing and new projects.
Scale your brand to various media
Maintain your brand identity across a variety of media to ensure a holistic image and sink into your audience’s minds.
A list of branding media to focus on:
The logo should be eye-catching, easy to remember, and easily scalable to be used for all kinds of media. A great example of a spectacular scalable logo is that of The Witcher 3 by the Polish developer CD Projekt. Not only does it work perfectly well with web media and merchandise, but also it was turned into a keychain that was sent to gamers as a pre-order bonus;
2. Tone of voice
To put it as simply as possible, the tone of voice encompasses the forms and techniques of communication with the audience. When working on this category of branding, make sure the tone of voice will be understandable to the players, and adequate to their interests and requirements. Remember to capture the preferred tone of voice in the brand book, so that communication with users on various platforms remains consistent even when new community managers are assigned.
3. Corporate Identity
A critical branding component, including HR branding. Brands with a mature identity have a holistic look on various platforms, capture the target audience, and are easily remembered for a long. In addition, a mature brand identity further encourages players to identify with the project. Therefore, just like the logo, corporate identity should be seamlessly scalable to be used with various media;
You certainly remember the slogan “EA Sports. It’s In The Game” by Electronic Arts delivered by Andrew Anthony’s charismatic voice. The slogan is yet another effective branding tool. It enables a company to read out the brand message of the game and its developer to maintain the proper image in the eyes of the consumer;
Focus on reputational capital!
Whenever a user dives into a game project, they engage not only with the virtual world and a set of mechanics but also with the image of the development company and its gaming community.
Underpinning the reputational capital of a game brand is first and foremost its quality product that matches the promises of marketing specialists. However, no project is free from faults: you can hardly name one without errors or bugs. A high-quality gaming community, in which they hear the players, understand their needs, and help resolve in-game problems, is a reputation driver.
When communicating with your audience, it is paramount that you maintain your thoroughly developed tone of voice.
If you should have any questions about the tone of voice, contact our experts for advice.
Know your target audience
For branding to work and succeed, it is important to know exactly whom you address. The image of a typical gamer has evolved markedly — this is already a fact.
It embraces a broad variety of demographic groups, but demography is not the only thing you need to keep in mind when researching your target audience.
Many gamers, including those quite active, still do not identify themselves as such. Therefore, it is important to look for and test various brand touchpoints with prospective consumers. It makes sense to consider diverse channels of communication, including social media, film, and television. Furthermore, when researching customers, never disregard the female audience. Statista.com claims that
In-depth audience research is performed by marketing and creative agencies, including ours.
Focus on influencers and top gamers
Influencers have long been engaged for marketing purposes and remain relevant. Be sure to involve the right partners who will excite your project’s audience, and use the platforms that gamers like. A joint study by Annalect and Twitter shows that about 40% of respondents have purchased some products once they saw influencers use them.
When promoting game brands, it would be a good idea to work with more than just social media influencers. Include real players streaming on major platforms like YouTube and Twitch to reach out to your target audience directly. Video content today is developing at an amazing pace, mainly due to the broad availability for users of various devices and broadband Internet connections. And the main Let’s Watch advantage lies in vast opportunities to showcase exciting tricks, stories, and even walkthrough guides to attract and capture users and help them sense affinity with the game world.
Create cool collaborations
Forget about games being a sort of escape from society. They have evolved as multiplayer and cross-platform phenomena. Fortnite by Epic Games has a total of 120 million active game profiles — no wonder Travis Scott chose the platform for his virtual concert. Fortnite’s Travis Scott event reached 27.7 million unique players, and millions more streamed the show on their Google, YouTube, and Twitch profiles.
The legendary gaming event dramatically increased Fortnite’s media presence, attracted huge numbers of users from social media, and improved brand awareness.
Another example is the collaboration between Moschino and EA Games for The Sims 4 social simulation game. The companies released a joint add-on enabling users to dress up their characters in the iconic designer’s clothes. To augment the digital product offering, a limited-edition clothing collection was released for customers.
This case attests undeniably to the ability of gaming projects with a large audience to serve as independent platforms for advertising products from the non-gaming world.
A gamer’s interest is invariably based on a good product. Truly immersive experiences are ensured by exciting stories, high-quality mechanics, cool graphics, and impressive lore.
There is more to it, though — excellent branding, effective work with reputation, expansion of the gaming community, and subtle understanding of players draw attention to a project, fuel interest, and fundamentally contribute to users’ identification with the developer, making them look forward to new products.