It is evident that the e-sports and online gaming spaces are still very new territory for many South African brands and players.

This means that building up your knowledge on what it is and how your brand should adapt to grab this audience's attention is vital.

If your brand has a large target audience that's young, looking at entering the e-sports space might prove to be beneficial.

Ready to learn more? Let's do it:

Why is it essential for the youth to get involved in marketing within the e-sports landscape?
In South Africa, the gaming and e-sports industry is a young and dynamic one — with many different career opportunities for young people.

There is the obvious one that many young people want to pursue, which is becoming a competitive gamer with the hopes of earning a salary and winning large tournament prize pools or getting scouted by a major team overseas.

This is something that only a handful of people in South Africa are able to do full-time, though. Outside of this, there are career opportunities in:
  • game development
  • marketing
  • PR
  • journalism
  • production
  • broadcast, and
  • event management.

What advice would you give the youth who wants to enter the gaming and e-sports industry?

Identify what you are passionate about and research what kind of career opportunities exist alongside those passions within the gaming and e-sports space.

There is a lot of experimentation going on with brands and companies, which is a great opportunity [for you] to try and job shadow or intern with these brands and learn with them. If you are a gamer yourself and interact with the gaming community already (in a personal capacity), you may have a lot of value to add during your internship.

If you want to become a competitive gamer, compete as often as you can (there are online tournaments you can participate in). Make sure that you are staying healthy too, as competitive gaming (e-sports) is a mental game.

A healthy lifestyle where balance is key to achieving success. Find other like-minded people and organisations that have similar goals to you and work towards growing as an individual.

Competing at the highest level will require you to compete against the best and have good performances. This is how you will get scouted by other teams or organisations that will be able to support you from multiple perspectives and help you get to the next level.

Just like any other sport, it is important to understand that only very few make it all the way to the top — just like in professional soccer, for example.

It is, therefore, important to make sure that you are doing what you need to in order to form an education in school.

How is e-sports tailored to younger audiences?
A big portion of the casual and competitive gamer audience falls within the age range of 12-35 years.

Living in a digital age and the fast growth of the Internet has meant that the younger generation has been exposed to technology, the Internet and everything (including gaming and e-sports) [from a young age].

More and more brands have begun to realise the value of tapping into and engaging with this audience through various avenues and campaigns from a gaming and e-sports perspective.

How can brands appeal to younger generations using e-sports?
Very similarly to conventional sports teams, brands can get involved and sponsor teams and / or players that have the potential of reaching the top on the global stage.

Red Bull is a great example of a brand doing this very well. It signs professional athletes (and e-sports athletes) and helps them reach new heights in their careers because of the brand’s support.

The gaming and e-sports community is a very loyal and engaging one. In order to build genuine brand advocacy and loyalty among the gaming audience, one should identify and leverage the right kind of avenues to engage gaming audience for a particular brand.

However, there is no template and no copy-paste method that works for all brands.
Identifying and engaging with the right kind of gaming influencers — be it individual players, gaming organisations / teams, casters, or streamers — to work with can bring a lot of value to a digital campaign or an in-real-life event / activation.

Brands need to start thinking out of the box. By associating their brand with something that younger generations can engage with — on their terms and in their own time — the more likely the marketing will actually stick and result in action or brand advocacy.

Students are looking at their phones on the way to school, going through tons of content online while driving past the billboard that brands conventionally do their marketing on, for example. It is difficult to grab and keep the attention and generate engagement with the youth due to the infinite amounts of content that they can consume on a daily basis.

What can e-sports teach you about the marketing industry?
It's very clear that there is a big shift in the marketing industry and how important it is going to be for brands to adapt their marketing strategy to keep up with the times. [A brand's] 'usual' ways of marketing just won't cut it anymore — especially with a gaming and e-sports audience.

The youth of today are accessing and processing information at a scale and pace that's never been seen before. Therefore, your campaign angle needs to be:
  • on point
  • going through the right channels, and
  • engaging with the right segment of the gaming and e-sports audience.
[Without meeting these requirements], it will be tough to keep that audience engaged enough to build brand awareness and advocacy.

It also teaches you that things are changing faster and the world of marketing needs to transition with it. The consumer will always dictate marketing strategy, and with business transitioning into a digital world, marketing will too.

Would you consider working in the gaming space? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to learn more about brands and the gaming industry? Then be sure to read: Why more brands are getting into the gaming space: A Q&A with Carla Massmann.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy