SBC catches up with Giles Thomas Founder and Director of Mimo Brands. Mimo specialises in branding in an omni-channel world, and boasts considerable experience launching and migrating brands on and between different channels in many sectors.
Prior to setting up Mimo, Giles was Director of Marketing at Sega and MTV Networks. Heading up launches of new technologies, programs and TV Channels. Giles will be a headline speaker at the upcoming EIG conference in Barcelona for gaming
SBC: Giles great to meet you, can you tells us more about Mimo Brands and how your agencies strategy to branding can help gaming operators.
Giles: Mimo Brands was set up to help businesses generate the most value from their brands. Our clients typically have brands that are not working as well as they might, are struggling to migrate from one channel to another, or indeed need to develop new brands from scratch.
Our ‘product’ is the creation of relevant and differentiated brands. This is relevant to igaming operators because widespread platform sharing has led to a market inhabited by a multitude of very similar offerings. As a result, consumers find it difficult to choose between brands, and are happy to flit between them.
SBC: In a market such as igaming where players can be tracked market and technologies can map out user behavior Do you feel that in igaming marketing practices such as branding have taken a back-foot to more acquisition led practices such as Affiliates, PPC, SEO marketing?
Giles: Indeed. But it is not unusual for relatively young markets to avoid strategic branding in favour of a promotions driven approach. The early days of mobile telecoms were very similar, as were console gaming. This is usually because it is often easier to promote what you do and offer trial incentives than to build compelling brand stories. The trouble is, the promotions approach ultimately drives value out of markets rather than building more profitable long-term relationships with loyal customers.
SBC: There are many gaming brands that have both an online and offline presence. Many of these brands have tried to shift digital services to their offline customers believing that their brand would be the hook, however results have failed to transpire. Why is this and can having an offline and online presence harm a company’s brand?
Giles: There are great examples of gaming brands successfully moving online – Playstation, Sega – and those successfully moving the other way – Angry Birds, Moshi Monsters. It is critical for organisations to understand what makes their brand special, and how to transfer these attributes to new channels, as opposed to simply adding a new distribution or marketing channel and hoping for the best.
The only real danger of taking an online brand offline, and visa versa, is if it is not well thought through. It is important to understand channels often perform different roles, and consequently the rules of engagement may differ.
SBC: In a saturated online market place such as igaming, where many of the customers are recycled through multiple operators (be it poker, casino, Sportsbook or bingo) can there be such a thing as brand loyalty.
Giles: There will only be brand loyalty when brands offer something that customers cannot easily find elsewhere. The starting point for this differentiation may or may not to product-based. For example, Orange’s enormous success in the UK mobile telecoms market was brand-led not product-led. Historically, one of the biggest barriers to entry for console gaming brands was the Playstation brand, not the product itself.
SBC: The majority of iGaming brands operate using third party technologies, we see the same products re-marketed and re-packaged. Operators use quite standarised promotions to attract the customer such as bonuses, cashback or money back offers as incentives. Is this not detrimental to brands and how can you make sure that a brands principles survive in this environment?
Giles: Successful brand development in any business rests primarily at the door of the senior management team, not simply the Marketing Director. Branding is a company-wide strategy whose purpose is to create long-term value for the business. It is not a short-term marketing cost.
SBC :When companies revaluate their brand placement or position for a digital market place. What factors do they need to take into account and what competencies and knowledge’s should they acquire when they undertake this practice?
Giles:There has been a tendency by some to presume that today’s markets are much the same as yesterday’s. Others dismiss half a century of brand thinking and practice as obsolete in digital market places. Both stances miss the point. Success today rests on having real and relevant insight about markets and their users, on using the fabulous tools that digital affords us to engage and to manage behaviours, and most of all, having the bottle to zag whilst the rest of the world is zigging.
SBC:. As a headlining speaker at EIG, what do you want your listeners to take from your speaker sessions with regards to branding in gaming?
Giles:igaming branding and marketing will change. Those who lead this change will enjoy the greatest spoils.
Giles Thomas – Director MiMo Brands