Esports have power – especially when it comes to communication. I truly believe they are a gamechanger for the way we interact and connect. Younger generations spend their time playing and competing. There can be no doubt that their lives are about combining competition with fun. This powerful development can’t be ignored, as the recently concluded ICE Europe has demonstrated by being partially held in a huge esports arena where teams from all over the world competed.
It was an exciting event for me, a PR professional who has been working in different industry sectors for more than 15 years. Three insights made the journey home with me.
Strategy is needed even more than ever before
Very generally spoken, you shouldn’t go along with every digital trend. The opposite proves to be true in most cases, with companies often following along with everything. Frequently with little success.
There are clear signs that the role of communication leaders is becoming more relevant than ever before. They are needed now more than ever, with the trends of varying degrees of truthfulness in stories, fake news and a general information overload.
Companies need someone who is managing internal and external needs as well as their interests and is independent enough for a critical analysis of trends. Long-term and strategic approaches are indispensable. “Just do it” is not enough in the way of being a unique brand that maintains trusting, reliable relationships with various stakeholders.
Interaction takes place in a virtual world
Generation Z isn’t just consuming content with devices but communicating with them and through them. They are mobile, at every moment in time and everywhere. Chatting, doing sports, dancing, entertaining, reading, gaming and, not to be forgotten, slipping into different roles.
This enables an even stronger identification with the virtual world and interaction is ongoing on so many levels. A meaningful example is TikTok, a social media channel that demands action paired with competitiveness. While Generation Y was performing on a stage at music school, nowadays kids and teens are performing in front of their mobile. Afterwards, they share the results with their friends or even the whole community.
Communication Professionals must consider this development, also in Germany, where many companies are still talking about videos and reaching young target groups via online ads.
However, ignoring the ongoing virtual interaction won’t create any potential chances in future. The ideal solution is integrating them into the offline aspects of the world, as esports location events or gaming conventions such as Gamescom are showing.
Leaving the bubble helps create new international players
Dealing with various digital and social channels does not mean surrendering the basic idea of Public Relations; building reputation and company value are still the fundamental requirements for excellence in a global market.
At several conventions such as ICE Europe, I spoke with Esports PR agencies and had the strong impression that it's the same as 10, 15 years ago in the start-up scene; quite chaotic, although billions are already invested.
Esports agencies, companies and their young communicators who mostly were or still are gamers, are moving within a bubble. That means they interact only with gaming and esports media. Other options for publishing and consuming news and announcements aren’t even considered an option.
But isn’t a sport, with all its exciting background on the importance of data, betting and media industries, publishers or diverse personalities, predestined for a broader press list?
Isn’t that an important step for esports to want to become more mainstream and less niche?
Unfortunately, esports communication agencies or consultants industry often don’t reach out to a more diverse cast of journalists. They know every tournament, but forget the insights and stories that could be so appealing to journalists and bloggers, but also to myself as a PR Consultant who is seeking inspirational content.