How We Built Our Brand Using Animal Crossing
If you know us, you know two things: we’re huge gaming geeks and we like to see cold hard results. Our very founding principle is to cut out unnecessary agency fluff in favour of urgency, expertise and a no-fuss attitude: ‘Maximum Digital. Minimum Nonsense.’
Mid-pandemic, our team wanted to create a campaign that would build our brand, improve our SEO and leverage our undying love for gaming. We’d recently expanded our offering to include SEO - our goal is to offer our clients everything that touches SEO, from strategy to implementation, under one roof. So we thought we’d do it for ourselves first and prove that it works.
This campaign is an example of exactly how effective this way of working can be. Our in house SEO, creative, PR and development team were all involved in this campaign that was concepted and executed in less than 2 weeks with a minimal budget and started seeing results immediately.
Our goals were simple: increase organic traffic and build the Waste brand. Our strategy was to create a campaign which would naturally get lots of PR coverage - and naturally result in increased traffic.
Our team had to come up with an idea that would:
Present the unique perspective of the agency - something new and worthy of a write up
Get coverage from new publications who have not written about Waste before, to increase the number of linked referring domains
Align with Waste’s business goals
The Big Idea
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has blown up since launching in March; the escapist game’s launch coincided with lockdown and it became a little haven in a dark time. The Nintendo Switch has shown to be popular all over the world - making this platform a great way to reach a diverse group of people during a time where we were restricted from even stepping outside our homes.
So we decided to set up our agency in the digital world of Animal Crossing. A Waste Island that embodied our culture and community ethos for all prospective employees to see. We made it as true to life as possible, mimicking the posters, the messy creative table where we meet up and brainstorm, even our regular pub. We wanted to give applicants and visitors a real feel of what it’s like to work for Waste and what we’re all about.
We then utilised Waste Island as a place where we could expand our recruitment pool and find our next intern from around the world. The idea was to set a brief that would get people excited during a tumultuous time. The brief itself was pretty simple: pick a brand and tell us how you would build a campaign with them using Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
With no paid activity to support this campaign (we wanted to be truly, wholly organic) we achieved:
13 pieces of coverage from online publications with an average DA of 71, including Campaign UK, US & Asia, AdWeek, The Drum and The Sun;
Creative agency london ranking from position 34 to 22 (under 1 month)
Core rankings increased from an average ranking of 48 to 24 in less than 2 months (and still improving)
Organic traffic increased by 48% in comparison to the previous period (6 week period)
We had 67 applications from diverse applicants from countries around the world, including Chile, Russia and Brazil
Why are we proud of this piece of work?
It shows an innovative approach to SEO. We are one of few (if any) creative agencies who have built an SEO department in-house. It’s a new way of working that reduces the need for endless phone calls and painstaking hours trying to organise meetings with various different agencies, each with their own objectives and agenda. Our approach meant that this highly successful campaign was concepted and launched within two weeks and showing significant results less than a week after that.
Link building activity has become tired, fraudulent and overly complex in the last few years. Instead of overthinking things, our creative team found something so natural that serves to benefit the company business goals and their SEO performance.
It’s an innovative way to recruit. By using non-traditional recruitment methods, we were able to reach people from all around the world while lockdown was at its most strict. Our budget was kept low as all we needed was the console and one of our team to build the island.
It’s an innovative use of the platform. While B2B brands were creating exciting and inspiring experiences within Animal Crossing, there was very little (if any) presence from B2B brands. We took a unique take on the Animal Crossing environment and as such inspired multiple stories from a variety of different online publications who linked back to us.
Oh, and it won us a nomination at the DADI awards for best In-House Campaign. This just goes to show that SEO is far from dead, but rather this is an exciting space with lots of room for innovation that we intend to take advantage of!