If It Doesn't Exist, Build It
We develop strategies that cultivate fan power for some of the biggest brands in entertainment, but none of this would be possible without having thorough insight into who our brands’ fans really are.
Knowing fans means understanding what’s important to them; how they interact with your product and other touch points in the ecosystem that surrounds it. But we’ve found that despite the masses of tools available to us, there always seem to be a few holes in the data.
So, we plug those holes by turning to our tech team; in fact, we’ve got a long-standing tradition of seeking their advice, because we believe if it doesn’t exist, we can build it!
Our history of building it
This isn’t something new. We’ve been trying to get ahead of the game even before the game knew it was being played! In 2012 when ads moved from Flash to HTML, we made a tool that made it easier for ad builders to understand the changes and to drive efficiency within the whole process, making it easier and quicker to unite brands with their fans. We even made a game out of it that hit the headlines.
Since then, we’ve encountered similar obstacles when it comes to reaching fans. We often find ourselves either using tools that aren’t providing the functionality we need or the data that’s right for our clients, or using tools that require a long-term or heavy initial investment for a short-term project, which isn’t an ideal situation for the agency or the client.
Our tech team has yet to fail us when it comes to finding a solution to these hurdles.
Recent examples of building it
We use Steam reviews (and other platforms) to understand any commonalities in how players of particular games, series or genres talk about their experiences. However, a lot of games have thousands of reviews, so to ensure we’re able to analyse each and every one of them, we asked the tech team to help us get there faster and more efficiently.
The team created a tool that downloads all of the reviews and utilises the richness of data available through the Steam API (a lot of which is not available on the website) to make it a powerful source of information for us.
To gather data for a user acquisition campaign for the launch of a new game, we look at the reviews of games in the same genre. We look at the most talked-about features of the game, from the story to the specific mechanics, and cross-reference with the features discussed within their community data.
From this we can see what genre-specific elements are more beneficial for attracting new users and which are better for retention. It also helps us build out player personas based on shared passions and pain points.
How we develop our tools
To incorporate the data into the insights we produce within our reporting, we built our own keyword analysis tool that we use to extract insights from the CSV file. This has been incredibly useful for informing future content to create meaningful engagement with the community.
We use the tool in our reports to clients to inform future content by amplifying what players love and address any confusion. Additionally, we use these insights to test game features by creating social posts of any game features absent in reviews. How our community engages with the post (comments, likes shares etc.) can tell us a lot about how this feature impacts their experience of the game and how it can be improved or enhanced.
The future of 'building it'
Without divulging all of our secrets, we’ve got a number of proprietary tools in the pipeline to ensure our teams are getting the good stuff without spending precious hours searching for it. For example, a fan-specific calendar tool that’s invaluable for strategists to identify relevant opportunities for reactive content & campaigns, and equally beneficial to creatives when it comes to understanding and visualising context!
A fan-first approach is one that insists on going as far as we can to truly understand who resides within the community. We want to empower fans by listening to their thoughts and opinions, identifying their sources of confidence and bones of contention and turning them all into a better experience. If there are barriers to us achieving that aim - we break them down with technology!