What DHL’s latest partnership can teach you about the power of gaming & advertising

The eSports industry continues to post staggering growth numbers that have sent companies flocking to join the ranks of advertisers who use the sport to promote their products and services. For companies looking to get involved but thinking “we don’t sell controllers, computers, energy drinks, or video game accessories,” thinking outside of the box to create brand alignment can do wonders for your brand.

DHL, a leading competitor in the logistics industry alongside UPS and FedEx, is betting on its new delivery. In an increasingly competitive market, DHL is focused on the future by entering the eSports market. Its goal is to build brand loyalty amongst a younger audience with the hopes of achieving lifetime customers and making an impact in eSports.

DHL made a major splash by becoming a premier sponsor of the ESL, (formerly the Electronic Sports League) the world’s oldest and largest eSports company. In a growing industry that advertisers flock to, finding a tie-in to connect with the audience is increasingly important. DHL’s business model is based on getting a package from point A to point B as inexpensively as possible. DHL will use its focus on teamwork and precision in delivering packages timely to build brand rapport with the younger audience who utilize teamwork and objective based-goals in competitive gaming eSports tournaments.

Though the terms of the sponsorship weren’t disclosed, DHL said they focus on long-term strategic sponsorships. A look at the ESL statistics demonstrates that DHL made a good choice. In 2017, ESL handed out over $1.75 million in prize money but more importantly garnered over 300 million streaming views of its tournaments and have over 350 million social media impressions. With such an engaged following, it’s easy to see why companies like DHL found a way to position their brand.

Courtesy of DHL

If your company is looking to get into eSports, here is a three-step blueprint that DHL employed that you can follow to position your brand for strategic advertising success in eSports.

Focus on the Long Term

DHL has foresight into the business they want to be tomorrow while competing today. Their Motorsports and other advertising avenues help them compete today, but they are building brand loyalty by meeting their customers of tomorrow and growing together. NHL hockey legend Wayne Gretzky famously said, “I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where it’s going to be.” DHL is applying the same principle in crafting it’s future clients now.

Find a Strategic Partnership

DHL didn’t decide to enter eSports and try and start their team, franchise, or company. They found arguably one of the best eSports companies and partnered with them. It’s far easier to jump on a company or cause that has momentum than it is to build the momentum yourself. DHL understood that partnering with the right company gave them instant credibility in the genre. Find companies that allow you to piggyback off their success and momentum and save yourself valuable time and money while gaining market penetration at the same time.

Find the Brand Tie-In

You see it all the time. Sports stars and celebrities advertising products that you know they would never use in a million years. Hiring spokesman who doesn’t fit the brand is a surefire way to ruin a marketing campaign. As a company diving into eSports, it’s essential that you find a way to relate to the gaming community with your products. Get creative. You don’t have to sell products or services that are in the gaming industry; you have to sell the features of your business that are in line with how gamers think. Gamers are often visual, competitive, team-oriented and think quickly. How can you position your company to exhibit the mindsets of gamers, so they feel that you understand them? If you can crack the code and show brand alignment, your business can compete in eSports advertising, the new gold rush.

Baylor Barbee

Mindset Development Author & Speaker moonlighting as a Triathlete. Oh yeah, I also have a slight video game addiction.