Monday, 19 April 2010

Brand Diversity

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I’ve been asked by a friend for some advice on getting sponsorship on an event they’re running. The event is the Euro Gamer Expo and has grown exponentially over the last few years, so much so it now attracts some 20,000 gamers from all over Europe and is being held at Earls Court. He was asking me whether there were any brands who were more mainstream that could be attracted to an event like this and weren’t just the obvious TV and hardware brands that regularly get invovled.

So if I put my client head on for a minute, I suppose the biggest question is, ‘What value is there for my brand if I associate with an event like this? I understand that games are a multi-billion dollar industry globally and the audience reach is expanding all the time, (with the proliferation of family based gaming platforms (wii, DS) and games such as Buzz), but will being a part of a cutting edge event for a niche audience be beneficial to my brand or will it seem out of place?’

My initial thoughts (if I was a mainstream but non-endemic brand such as Sainsbury’s for example) is that there’s no obvious connect and for those brands that are more ubiquitous with a much larger audience (such as Orange), is there enough of a draw to present the brand in front of what is a specific, tech savvy audience, who make up maybe 5% of my total audience?

With that in mind, the next question to ask is ‘Are there any big brands who have a specific offering to this audience?’

Could Virgin promote their 50Mb optical fibre broadband with the promise that there would never be loss of connection mid-game?

Dominos could offer ‘buy one get one free’ during a national online tournament when you quote a specific code which is given to you when you register.

Gamers are probably fairly big film watchers, so perhaps Lovefilm could do a tie-in promoting not only their blu-ray DVD proposal but their game rental service too?

The amount of investment required is not huge and although there is such a big focus on value and brand perception at the moment, clients are also beginning to understand the importance of testing new areas. I told him that with some of our clients we add an extra 10% to the budget in order to test new sites, formats, channels etc, which shows that clients are willing to investigate, if the proposal is presented in the right way.

The proposal my friend sent me didn’t pitch in quite the right tone for getting brands to explore and discover, it was asking for out and out sponsorship assuming that the audience understands the benefits of what a sponsorship would provide. I’ve spoken before about the importance of understanding your audience and this is another case of making a few tweaks to get the right people engaged and responsive.

If I was pitching this project I would put together a wish list of brands that I wanted and find out exactly which part of their business offering would fit. I would then do my research and find out exactly what they’re trying to achieve as a business and match it with the different elements of the sponsorship. In support of this I would make sure that I had plenty of PR/Case Study material to help substantiate my points as from a planner’s perspective there is nothing more helpful when it comes to selling in ideas to a client then showing them what their competitors are doing!

The Expo is in October, let’s wait and see who they get onboard!

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