Pass The Sticks: Brands Should Take The Gaming Controller
Gaming isn’t niche anymore; it’s mainstream. And that means it’s time to let go of the stereotypical gamer persona: a teenage boy playing in his parents’ basement. In my interview with Casey Campbell, managing director, North America, at Gameloft, he said, “Almost every demographic is playing in some regard.” Our data corroborates this: Forrester’s Media And Marketing Benchmark Recontact Survey, 2022, found that over half of US online adults play video games weekly. For younger audiences, it’s even more prevalent: Eighty-five percent of adults under 25 play video games.
Let’s face it: Gaming is a behavior that’s here to stay — and grow — across demographics. If you’re a B2C marketer who’s planning for 2023, start by building out a roadmap that introduces your brand to gaming audiences in these highly interactive experiences. But before you embark on a gaming integration, partnership, or sponsorship, evaluate three key areas: consumer behavior, brand point of view, and category white space.
Figure — Evaluative Framework To Build Your Gaming Strategy
Add Value To The Gaming Experience
“Gamers have agency,” Casey Campbell said in our interview. Gaming isn’t a passive experience for consumers, like watching TV or scrolling through TikTok. They’ve invested time and money into their game. Brands need to respect that experience, adding value at every touchpoint. To do this:
- Align to consumer passion points. American Eagle dropped its spring collection in Roblox with an experience called “AE Members Always Club” that was all about inclusivity. The activation matches expectations that American Eagle’s target audience has for brands. The Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics® US Youth Survey, 2021, found that 60% of Gen Z youth expect companies to take a stand on diversity and inclusion.
- Translate your brand’s point of view into gaming levers. Dunkin’ partnered with Twitch Rivals to become the “Official Fan Fuel” for gamers. From custom extensions to sponsored streams, Dunkin’ is integrating the essence of its brand — fuel — into the gaming experience.
- Stand out from the competition with unexpected activations. Louis Vuitton designed the League of Legends WORLDS tournament trophy trunk, which took over 900 hours to create. Fashion brands are no stranger to the gaming world, but this activation was new and unexpected. It took Louis Vuitton out of the typical “skins” activation and into the physical realm.
Watch my full video with Casey Campbell, managing director, North America, at Gameloft above, and stay tuned for my Forrester report on the changing entertainment landscape — from TikTok to gaming — coming out later this year.