Don’t know who you’re talking to? Game over

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Work took me to Toronto this past weekend for the World Series of Video Gaming. It was a wild event, and introduced me to a culture and community I had not been exposed to previously. The intensity and passion of gamers both amateur and professional was clearly evident. Of the event itself, there was nothing amateur about it. Professional gaming in Canada has certainly come of age – although nothing (yet) like their counterparts in South Korea or Japan.

Watching teams battling it out in the World of WarCraft 3v3 arena battle, or observing individual gamers going head-to-head (both virtually and literally) in the the Quake IV and Guitar Hero II competitions, was something else entirely. Teams strategized in the stands as they watched the competition in action. Boisterous audiences cheered on players known only by their handles. Competitions were broadcast on big screens throughout the venue. And, of course, no professional tournament (in any sport) would be complete without it’s share of controversy, be it around illegal game settings, or confusion around the rules in place to ensure a level playing field.

Ultimately, my fascination with the whole event was grounded by the re-affirmation of the importance of knowing your audience – intimately – and of filtering and channeling your messages (be they corporate, tech or otherwise) so that they speak the language your target audiences speak. It’s about understanding what motivates them and the touch points that connect them to your brand. And it’s this which reinforces the value of the web as a mechanism to build that bridge. Part of our campaign was to foster a more meaningful link (online) between our client and the gaming community, one that spoke their language, encouraged engagement on their terms, and provided valuable content. This event (we hope) was only the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign on the part of our client to interact with audiences in ways that naturally extend the traditional relationship between the two.

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