Branding your way into esports

Picture this: you own and operate a brand that is not remotely connected to esports or gaming, like a jeans brand, a bank, or a brand that produces beef jerky. You understand the appeal of esports and would like to connect to gamers in a way that is meaningful to them, but you simply do not know how. ‘I sell jeans, not games’, you say — but there’s a whole world of agencies and companies out there that can help you make things happen.

One such agency is Omnicoach, which specialises in helping brands make the most out of their esports partnerships by connecting them with gamers via a rebranded match analysis service. Omnicoach offers a white-label solution that helps gamers improve their in-game skills. Companies can partner with Omnicoach to create challenges, campaigns, and activations through the tool — and reach the elusive Gen Z audience.

(ESI Illustration) Pictured: Dániel Ágoston, CEO & Founder of Omnicoach. Image credit: Omnicoach

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Its CEO and Founder, Dániel Ágoston, sat down with Esports Insider to talk about the interesting intersection between esports and brands. The company is seeing more and more brands that are willing to connect to Gen Z audiences in a novel and authentic way, Ágoston said.

“These companies and their marketing and media agency partners struggle to continuously provide something new and exciting to this generation,” he added. Through the rest of 2022, Ágoston argued, the company plans to lend a helping hand to brands and help them run impactful in-game campaigns.

Intimidated by esports

Most people who work in esports know the age-old rule: the industry itself is hard to break into with regular advertising. Brands that succeed in making great esports-related content do so by adapting to the consumers. The backlash against a Coca-Cola campaign last year proved that while there’s a lot more going on in esports marketing than ever before, there are still situations where brands — even major ones — miss the mark.

Ágoston said that one of the biggest mistakes is interacting in a non-authentic way. Working with agencies that have no experience in the esports sector on esports campaigns is the wrong way to reach your target audience.

“If someone wants to become relevant and successful among GenZ, pure advertising is not enough,” Ágoston continues. “You need to create value first. Otherwise, you become pushy and inauthentic. I think just making advertisements and not creating value is also a mistake.”

Lastly, it’s a myth that gamers are only interested in gaming-focused products or services. This target audience is not going to hate companies that offer food or insurance, but the campaigns need to be tailored to them and understand the specifics of the industry. Insurance provider State Farm, car brand KIA Motors and others have found ways to be interesting while being informative about the products they offer.

Turn-key solutions

Appealing to brands and audiences is easier when you have a turn-key solution, which is the case with Omnicoach. The company says it eliminates a number of obstacles that might put off brands from cooperating with esports companies.

Brands can use Omnicoach to create their own branded gameplay analysis service and start engaging gamers very easily, Ágoston said.

“Through custom missions, brands can link their products with in-game events: whenever a user completes a mission, a ‘Redeem your Coupon’ button appears, [the] user clicks and we drive the user to any website destination. Or, we can reward users with branded virtual points for mission completions and create a leaderboard.”

In some cases, Omnicoach’s partners can have campaigns on the platform set up in a single day. Ágoston argued the success of Omnicoach’s platform is mostly due to the fact that the company provides a solution that is non-intrusive, and helps add a lot of value for the viewers.

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Interestingly, the most successful and best-known esports marketing campaigns are the ones that adapt the branding and campaign only slightly, and not go over the top, Ágoston added. “We usually co-create campaigns with agencies and as an example, if 50,000 people are brought to our white label platform, we capture 35,000 – 45,000 email addresses.”

2022 is looking to be a good year for companies that help non-endemic brands find their way into esports. Omnicoach is testing new features in different markets, which will result in more services offered, and better campaign tools for brands that want to dip their toes into the world of esports.

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