American consumers are experiencing a cultural transformation of unprecedented scope and scale. The pressure is on to rethink marketing with a focus on authentic connections that tap into culture, identity and emotion. This rapidly evolving landscape requires a new approach to assessing and building brands, centered on what we refer to as Cultural Fluency.
The stunning growth of video games and virtual reality within the entertainment industry is attributable to two core segments: youth and multicultural consumers. Brands need to understand how to leverage this passion point to activate these key segments as gamer culture continues to blend with the mainstream.
By 2023, U.S. revenue from video games, eSports, and virtual reality entertainment will exceed that of either traditional cinema or over-the-top (OTT) video streaming. A massive portion of this spend will be due to multicultural consumers, the segment responsible for 94 percent of growth in video game expenditures between 2010 and 2017. But it’s not just multicultural America—81 percent of U.S. consumers play video games!
Here’s what this opportunity means for marketing strategies:
1. Representations of video games and gaming culture are increasingly important in advertisements portraying multicultural and youth segments.
2. Gaming-focused social media platforms, like Twitch and Mixer, offer new channels to communicate with a growing share of your target consumers
3. Gaming conventions and eSports tournaments, such as E3 and PAX, provide new opportunities to demonstrate a shared passion for this growing source of entertainment.
4. Gaming influencers can speak authentically and directly with tens of millions of online followers across both mainstream and gaming-specific media channels
Games and gaming devices present unlimited potential for branded content, in-game activations, advertising, and marketing innovation
As gaming rapidly becomes a mainstream form of entertainment media, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to understand consumers as gamers—their video game related attitudes, preferences, and behaviors.
The first thing brands need to know is that video games present multiple opportunities to connect with and activate consumers. Much like OTT streaming, there’s an ever-growing list of titles and genres of games available across a variety of devices. And like traditional sports, individuals will sometimes play video games by themselves, and sometimes watch others play. And even when consumers aren’t engaging with video games directly, they follow gaming influencers, share gaming memes, and attend gaming conventions.
Brands also need to understand how to activate consumers through video games. From real-world influencer partnerships and eSports sponsorships to in-game branded content and “avatar activations,” getting video game marketing right requires knowing where your brand has permission to play, and which consumers you are likely to reach.
To provide Collage Group members with an introduction to video games and the consumers who enjoy them, in July 2019 we conducted a nationally representative survey of 1097 respondents, oversampling Gen Z, Millennial, Black, Asian, and Hispanic consumers across acculturation levels for precision within these segments.
Strategic takeaways from our research include:
- Gen Z gamers are more likely to watch casual streaming than eSports. Partner with the online/social media streamers delivering casual entertainment to this emerging consumer segment.
- Hispanic gamers are most likely to make gaming part of their social lives. Prioritize multiplayer and “party” games, as well as activations at gaming conventions, to reach Hispanic consumers.
- Younger gamers are more comfortable with branded content in their games. Think outside of the box! Look out for the opportunities virtual worlds present to show off your brand’s personality.
Understanding how multicultural and youth consumers approach entertainment media is essential for marketing to these already powerful and ever-growing segments. If you are interested in having an initial conversation with our consulting team about methods to deal with this topic, please contact us directly.
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