Behind The Story Mob’s Beautiful Weirdos guide

Esports communications consultancy The Story Mob has released its second guide, Beautiful Weirdos: Telling the Stories of Esports Heroes. Concentrating on the unique nature of the stars that the esports industry is creating, the guide dives into the diverse and incredibly-relatable figures that are at the forefront of the world’s fastest-growing sport.

To delve further into the concept behind the guide, Esports Insider spoke to
Nicola Piggott, Co-founder of The Story Mob.

Beautiful Weirdo
Image credit: The Story Mob

Esports Insider: Why was Beautiful Weirdos created?

Nicola Piggott: We created the guide Beautiful Weirdos: Telling the Stories of Esports Heroes because we love esports and wanted to give back to the industry when it comes to how we tell stories. We work with groups from all parts of the ecosystem — fans, pro teams, leagues, sponsors, investors, etc. — so we hear about a lot of pain points where a little guidance about communications goes a long way. We also wanted to celebrate the great storytelling we’ve seen in esports and the way pro players inspire us to keep raising our game with their honesty and passion. 

Beautiful Weirdos is actually our second free marketing guide — the first was called The Seven Commandments of Esports Communications, which we launched in August of 2018. While our first was a bit more of an esports communications 101, we wanted to create a more personal piece, focused on the stories that inspire us every day.

“To us, “beautiful weirdos” is a rallying cry that celebrates the uniqueness of esports by telling authentic, relatable stories.”

ESI: Why focus on professional gamers?

NP: If you’re taking a non-gamer friend to an esports event, there’s one surefire way to get them cheering along with the crowd, and it’s not teaching them their Barons from their minions. Everyone understands a human story — and esports pros train harder, sacrifice more and play with more precision than almost any sportsman in the world. Pro gamers are the stars of the show. But if we confine them to the traditional storytelling playbook from sports, we’re ignoring what’s so unique about them and missing out on golden opportunities to help them shine.

Just like digital sports drove innovation in online streaming, it’s also created a new breed of hero: a three-dimensional, quirky, highly relatable superstar that appeals directly to an audience that has often felt unseen and unrepresented in mainstream culture. Whether it’s Cloud9’s Sneaky and his gender-bending cosplay or FGC pros sharing their struggles with depression and trolling their rivals online, pro players are redefining what it means to be a sports celebrity and it’s clear that millions of fans love it.

In an industry where communication and change happens at the speed of light, you have to learn and adapt quickly or face being left behind. We want to see esports organizations and professionals succeed, and we hope that Beautiful Weirdos helps them better understand the unexpected opportunities and potential pitfalls in esports storytelling from people who’ve been through it all.

ESI: Why the term “beautiful weirdos” for professional gamers? 

NP: To us, “beautiful weirdos” is a rallying cry that celebrates the uniqueness of esports by telling authentic, relatable stories about its stars and champions. While being seen as a “weirdo” is traditionally thought of as negative, we believe there’s an opportunity to rewrite the storytelling playbook and highlight the unconventional and unexpected sides of pro gamers.

“The Beautiful Weirdos approach is important to us because it’s a better way to highlight pro players today.”

ESI: How was Beautiful Weirdos created?

NP: The overall idea came from a South by Southwest talk I gave last year called “Heroes and Hailstorms: Storytelling in Esports” which discussed the unique challenges and opportunities in telling esports stories to the world. There was a lot of work involved over the summer in adapting that content to an illustrated guide format, and I want to especially thank my co-founder Anna Rozwandowicz for bringing the visual design of the guide to life and Mobster Christina Kelly for her editorial oversight.

We worked with a great creative house called Better Story Studio on last year’s publication and they came through for us this time around as well, both for the guide itself and its snazzy trailer. It was truly a team effort, with everyone at The Story Mob contributing ideas and feedback that led to something we’re all very proud to call our own.

Beautiful Weirdo Cupcake
Excerpt from: Beautiful Weirdos: Telling the Stories of Esports Heroes

ESI: Any other thoughts?

NP: The Beautiful Weirdos approach is important to us because it’s a better way to highlight pro players today and paves the way for more unprecedented and amazing esports stories in the future. When we show the global audience that esports stars are celebrated for their unconventionality and not in spite of it, we open the door to a new generation of competitors and other esports professionals who can follow their passion without fear of exclusion or being “too weird” to make it.

As a female-founded, majority-women startup in esports, this is a cause we wholeheartedly believe in, and we hope that message resonates with others, too.

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