In the world of esports, brand activations are at the heart of the industry as one of the main avenues in which businesses can maximise fan engagement.
Guild Esports took to the stage at ESI London 2023 to talk about how their collaborative brand activation with broadcaster Sky offers fans new perspectives on esports, as well as the creativity involved behind the scenes to bring this partnership into fruition.
The panel involved Jasmine Skee, CEO of Guild Esports, as well as Guild’s SVP Creative and Strategy, Nick Westwood, whose prior experience includes working at the UFC.
Moderated by Dunkan McMonagle, Co-Founder of esports marketing firm Reset, the discussion first explored the importance of bringing in creativity into gaming partnerships.
Reflecting on Guild’s past 12 months of performance as an example, Skee explained: “We really thought about working with brands and what they’re trying to achieve. A lot of them came during COVID and it was a good way for them to invest.
“We can work with brands in different ways. We’ve also set ourselves up so that we can work with brands on a campaign basis.
“The last 12 months have been us looking at revenue from a partnership perspective but also from a campaign point of view as well.”
Touching on the partnership with Sky that has been active for more than a year, Skee commented that Guild’s strategy of approaching the telecommunications firm was derived from the requirement of investing in innovation to reach younger audiences – something that Sky carried with its brand.
Westwood then added: “What we’ve been able to do is push the boundaries of their brand. Brands are just starting to realise the real benefit of gaming, which is going out there and being disruptive. That’s been the real reward from the first year for me.”
He also reminded the audience that, through Sky, Guild now has the opportunity to make better connections with the real-life world of sports.
It has also helped them, Westwood acknowledged, focus on real-life issues such as female abuse in the gaming industry, with Sky and Guild Esports recently bringing this to light with their awareness campaign video ‘No room for abuse’.
On the topic, Skee commented: “When you look at the sports industry there’s a lot of quality when it comes to men and women tournaments. You can go on and put on a lot of female tournaments, 8% of women have experienced abuse in games. When you’re trying to sort a problem out, you have to find the root of the issue rather than put a bandaid on it.”
And partnerships in esports like the one with Sky have a strong potential to change the narrative when it comes to issues like abuse in gaming.
Skee concluded: “It’s very much about collaboration. Brands in the space have so much opportunity to make a difference. Working with brands and making sure they see the opportunity and how they can make the difference is what is really important.”