Amplifying JBL’s brand presence on Amazon
JBL is an American audio electronics brand, best known for producing speakers and headphones. JBL entered the Amazon cosmos as a well-known brand with the goal of maintaining a consistent brand image not only on Amazon, but across its entire web presence and beyond. FACTOR-A/DEPT® took on the challenge of optimising a huge product portfolio in multiple marketplaces to increase brand awareness and product consideration while staying true to JBL’s beautifully cultivated brand identity.
Building a brand on Amazon
JBL asked us to optimise the product content for its very large portfolio on multiple marketplaces, while building and maintaining a uniform brand image in the Amazon cosmos. We needed to develop an Amazon presence for JBL to reach new shoppers and appeal to loyal customers, while fitting seamlessly into its existing e-commerce and corporate identity.
The main goal of this project was to achieve efficiency and feasibility. Cultivating success not only for the present, but also setting up for success in the future.
A comprehensive approach
We took a comprehensive approach, working to adhere to the Amazon content regulations while staying true to JBL’s international brand image, keeping a customer focus and raising brand awareness and product consideration.
When working with such a large portfolio across multiple markets and categories, it can be complicated to maintain a uniform brand image and to optimise the content in a timely manner. For JBL, we developed a master layout / design guideline with a one-size-fits-all design concept that could be applied to every content type in every marketplace.
This, combined with our Amazon expertise and local insight, allowed us to sustainably push JBL’s performance while creating a strong international brand image. In combination with content creation, we implemented content monitoring to ensure the maintenance of the optimised content.
Efficient & relevant content creation
Forms of content
Brand building on Amazon: We worked with the designs provided by JBL to maintain a consistent brand image across all aforementioned forms of content.
Brand building across products: Our design concept ensured a consistent design across multiple different product types.
Brand building across marketplaces: By applying our concept to every marketplace, we built a globally recognised brand image, regardless of which country customers are shopping in.
Monitoring optimised content to ensure continued quality
The energy and resources used to create relevant, optimised content for JBL is only fully exploited when it is monitored. Due to the high possibility of content deviation on Amazon, our optimised content does not always remain as the version that is live.
We implemented content monitoring for the JBL portfolio in order to:
- Notice the overwriting of already optimised content
- Quickly detect and correct any changes
- Monitor and adhere to changes in the Amazon guidelines
- Keep the intended, optimised content live at all times
Brand presence and time saved
With the help of FACTOR-A/DEPT®, JBL has built a strong, uniformed brand presence across all products, categories and marketplaces. The content design concept and implementation has boosted scalability and will cut time in half for future product optimisation.
Head of Editorial at FACTOR-A/DEPT®
Creating digital collectibles for an esports pioneer
With a staggering audience of 81 million people, the 24H of Le Mans Virtual has established itself firmly as one of the pioneers of the fast-growing world of esports.
Motorsport Games, the developers behind the virtual race, partnered with Algorand and DEPT® to launch an NFT marketplace to sell, auction, and promote iconic moments from the 2021 race as they happened.
A new first for a historic event
As the longest-running endurance race for sports cars, the in-person Le Mans race has amassed an equally long list of historic moments. The 24H race is punctuated by driver switches, pit stops, inevitable mechanical failures, and the transition from day to night. It’s a demanding test for both drivers and their vehicles and the race’s history encompasses everything from major wins to high-speed crashes.
When the in-person event was postponed in 2020 and Motorsport Games launched the 24H of Le Mans Virtual, the immersive simulation event was designed to have all of the hallmarks of the original—including those same historic moments.
For the 2021 race, Motorsport Games decided to celebrate the return of the virtual event with an NFT collection of these moments. Working with DEPT®, they set out to launch an NFT marketplace to package and sell the race’s historic moments both from its inaugural year and also as they occurred during the race’s second outing.
Iconic racing moments, now collectible
The 24H Le Mans Virtual NFT marketplace was built using Algomart, the open-source platform on the Algorand blockchain created by DEPT®. We worked with Motorsport Games to take Algomart out of the box and launch their branded marketplace just in time for race day 2021.
Using Algomart opened the door to what otherwise might have been nearly impossible. Building a full-scale branded NFT platform from scratch requires an inordinate investment of time and resources. And, with blockchain technologies still relatively new, most brands don’t have the in-house capability to marry the off-chain and on-chain systems needed to build a blockchain-based marketplace.
Algomart provided a solution to these issues that looked and functioned like a traditional e-commerce experience. Moreover, it put Motorsport Games in control of creating their own bespoke offering with a tech stack that could scale as needed.
Motorsport Games’ NFT offering consisted of five collections, each representing a world-renowned racetrack, and each containing multiple NFT packs. Much like the NBA’s successful TopShot NFT series, fans who purchased these could “rip” packs to reveal iconic moments of sports history. In the Le Mans case, these moments were captures of the race from the immersive platform created by Traxion.gg.
Depending on the rarity of the pack and just how iconic the moments it contained were, prices ranged from $5 to $50. But it’s also worth noting that Motorsport Games also released 526 editions of four “common” NFT packs for free, all of which were claimed within a matter of hours.
Ultimately, by taking advantage of Algomart, we helped Motorsport Games successfully enter a new and exciting market that fits the brand of a pioneering esport like the virtual Le Mans race.
An important foundation for the esport revolution
The first collection of NFTs for the 24H Le Mans Virtual was generally well received.
The promotional free packs were claimed quickly and nearly 60% of the total NFTs available have been purchased. Overall, fans were excited to see a sports car race enter the NFT world and even more excited that the Le Mans NFTs would be created on the Algorand blockchain.
By working with DEPT® to create an NFT marketplace, Motorsport Games has built the foundation early for an evolution in esports that seems inevitable. As blockchain technology ushers in play-to-earn gaming and draws more attention to the fast-growing world of esports, Motorsport Games will be able to expand their NFT marketplace accordingly.
Director of Web3 at DEPT®
An immersive metaverse gaming experience
Star Atlas is an AAA space exploration strategy game and blockchain-driven virtual metaverse. The highly anticipated game has epic graphics, compelling lore, and a forward looking blockchain-based economic model including Play-to-Earn and other DeFi features.
The brand is set to revolutionise the future of gaming, entertainment and beyond. Creative studio Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) partnered with the Star Atlas team to build an immersive digital experience to create excitement around the game’s launch.
A portal to the future
Star Atlas, set in the 27th century, combines everything a sci-fi gamer’s heart desires; it’s about space exploration, territorial conquest, and political domination. The teaser homepage features a galactic portal that pulls users right into the Star Atlas metaverse. The colour palette is colourful and light to move away from the traditionally dark and moody sci-fi aesthetic to help Star Atlas stand out in the world of sci-fi gaming.
The navigation structure is inspired by the solar system. Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) worked to develop a motion approach and iconography style that felt unique and reflects the Star Atlas brand.
Users can easily download the Star Atlas whitepaper, sign up for more information or click “play now” to visit the marketplace, where they can view the game leaderboard and buy and sell resources and services both in and outside the game. This combination of blockchain based in-game currencies and a fully decentralized, non-fungible token (NFT) asset ownership makes Star Atlas a truly innovative game.
Visualising the metaverse
Users can scroll through various chapters that introduce the game lore, and interact with 3D visualisations of spaceships and planets inspired by the Star Atlas world.
The 3D visuals are rendered as point clouds, a set of data points in space, alluding to stars in the universe. They needed to be recognisable and visually appealing while staying abstract to help tease for the upcoming game aesthetic. To achieve this look, the Hello Monday team wrote a custom WebGL point cloud shader that gives the illusion of a depth-of-field effect while staying very performant.
The 3D models are made from projecting light rays onto the surface of actual game models, and pre-processed in a custom compression pipeline based on Draco, an open-source library for compressing and decompressing 3D geometric meshes and point clouds.
Star Atlas is among the most talked-about Play-to-earn games. We were excited to help bring the digital experience to life and try to make it just as forward-thinking as the game itself.
Anders Jessen, Founding Partner, Hello Monday
The stars aligned for Star Atlas
The unique immersive digital experience Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) created for the launch of Star Atlas received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both the Star Atlas community and different award juries around the world:
- Webby Awards 2022: People’s Voice Winner in the category Entertainment
- Awwwards 2021: Site of the Day and Site of the Year in the category Users’ Choice
- FWA 2021: Site of the Day
Founding Partner, Hello Monday (part of DEPT®)
The Drone Racing League
Creating collectibles for a 21st century sport
The Drone Racing League (DRL) is the world’s premier professional drone racing property. Millions of fans watch the best drone pilots in the world compete in high-speed, highly competitive races broadcast on NBC, Twitter, and other international sports networks.
DRL partnered with DEPT® to launch a series of NFT collectibles by building a branded platform on the Algorand blockchain, making them the first brand to take advantage of Algomart.
A reputation for leveraging groundbreaking technology
DRL doesn’t just hold competitions IRL. During the pandemic they launched a full-scale virtual transformation by taking advantage of the DRL Simulator. The cloud-based technology enabled DRL to broadcast live races within an immersive simulation and proved so successful that it stamped DRL as a pioneer of a new era of sports racing.
With the rapid expansion of Web3 and the metaverse, DRL has since partnered with Algorand’s Playground Labs to take digital drone racing a step further with blockchain-enabled ticketing, fan transactions, and, of course, digital collectibles in the form of NFTs.
After learning about DEPT®’s role in creating Algomart, Algorand’s open source technology enabling brands to launch their own NFT platforms, DRL approached us for help in this endeavour.
A non-fungible, first-of-its-kind promotion for a 21st century sport
Building a full-scale branded NFT platform from scratch represents a hefty investment of both time and money. Furthermore, blockchain technologies are still relatively new and finding a team that can marry the off-chain and on-chain systems needed to build an NFT marketplace is tricky. Most brands don’t have this capability in-house, limiting options even more.
Algomart is a groundbreaking piece of technology in that it provides an out-of-the-box solution to these issues, putting brands in control and enabling them to enter a new and exciting market with a bespoke offering that feels like a traditional ecommerce experience and can scale as needed.
DEPT® helped DRL take full advantage of everything that Algomart has to offer. We worked with their team to take Algomart out of the box and launch their branded marketplace in under a month. Their first run of 400 NFTs featured fourteen drone pilot avatars created by the award-winning digital artist Metapunks. Of that first run, 387 NFTs were a “common” design and the remaining thirteen were one-of-a-kind “rare” designs.
Rather than releasing their first set of NFTs for purchase or auction, DRL debuted their marketplace at Algorand’s 2021 Decipher conference as a promotional offering. They distributed 400 flyers with QR codes which attendees could scan and find out which of the fourteen designs they had redeemed.
As a promotional release, DRL’s NFTs symbolised the brand’s place at the head of a first-of-their-kind 21st century sport. Additionally, they provide an exciting, low-risk way for DRL to test the waters for digital collectibles.
The entire ecosystem of blockchain and NFTs is going to bring people closer to the brands they love and open a whole host of new experiences.
Anne Marie Gianutsos, CMO, Drone Racing League
An exciting future
Going forward, DRL has big plans for their NFT marketplace. Recently, they’ve announced their official mobile game, which will allow fans to compete in play-to-earn virtual races for cryptocurrency and NFTs. The game was launched as part of DRL’s partnership with Algorand’s Playground Labs and DEPT® continues to have a role in helping expand the marketplace to include a secondary marketplace.
Play-to-earn games are a much-anticipated part of the future of blockchain. By integrating them with their NFT marketplace, the possibilities for new NFT offerings from DRL are almost limitless and will continue to be facilitated by Algomart.
Director of Web3 at DEPT®
Accelerating the play & earn industry
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in games are booming. The decentralised autonomous organisation Merit Circle foresees a new era in which gaming not only costs money but also creates financial opportunities. Merit Circle chose DEPT® to be its strategy & technology partner and develop a gaming community platform that brings capital, expertise and players together.
Next level gaming
Gamers play for fun, to be challenged or to experience a sense of belonging. NFTs bring gaming to a whole new level by adding an earning element on top of this gaming experience and opening up the possibility to easily create open economies . Play & earn blends video games with in-game economics that reward players with NFTs for their performance. Gamers can sell their NFTs in games and across marketplaces to other players and collectors. Ownership of NFTs can also grant access, rights and benefits from reward schemes, live events and early releases. NFTs make certain aspects of games tradeable and turned the play & earn industry into the biggest development in gaming nowadays. According to Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit, 90 per cent of people within the next five years will not play a video game unless they are being properly valued for that time.
Starting in 2021, Merit Circle focuses on developing the play & earn economy and has already gathered a massive community that’s now the most significant gaming DAO in the industry, both in market value and treasury size. To pave the way for future growth, Merit Circle asked DEPT® to create a revolutionary NFT marketplace that will truly make its gamers’ lives better. Specific wishes were to automate the onboarding process for gamers and enrich their community with coaching and education that goes beyond gaming. And finally, to create a clear financial overview with a pay-out function that integrates multiple crypto wallets.
Developing a whole new market
The community is an essential part of the world of gaming, but onboarding new gamers was very labour-intensive. This goes beyond just creating an account: it’s about getting familiar with the concept of play & earn gaming, helping with the right set-up of the wallet and game device, choosing the right game and teaching newcomers the basics. In a new platform built from scratch, we automated this whole process while still ensuring every single gamer feels comfortable, welcome and heard. By adding elements of comradery, advice and interaction to the community, we aim to make play & earn gaming more accessible.
Currently, Merit Circle provides thousands of gamers with scholarships to play the popular games Axie Infinity, and Vulcan Forged for free. Making actively participating in the games more accessible to the masses, as for some NFTs, prices can run up to thousands of dollars. In exchange, Merit Circle receives 30% of everything a gamer earns. The community platform supports scholars in all kinds of areas. Scholars and more experienced gamers with the right social skills, so-called coaches, come together here to learn from each other. Progress and achievements are tracked via leaderboards. Coaches not only coach their scholars with game challenges and skill learning but also help with operational processes and educate scholars on crypto, finance and personal development. The platform integrates and facilitates learning, earning and community and forms a significant step towards a competitive and scalable platform in the play & earn gaming industry.
DEPT®’s approach is unique! There are only a small number of agencies that can fulfil this role within a blockchain scale-up like Merit Circle, as DEPT® is doing now.
Thale Sonnemans, Head of Operations at Merit Circle
Meeting all the gamers’ needs
The first version of the gaming community platform is set to release early in Q2 of 2022, with more than 30 exciting play & earn games in the pipeline that are sure to attract new gamers. Through open and transparent in-game performance tracking, points for improvement are found and addressed. When the platform is finalised and functioning as envisioned, DEPT® will guide Merit Circle in forming a dedicated team to sustain the platform and improve as the industry evolves. Possible future additions are team play, switching easily between different games and gamification of the whole scholarship process. Merit Circle aims to raise the industry standard by developing a platform that covers everything a gamer could need. With DEPT® in the game, Merit Circle is expected to be a kingmaker in the new land of play & earn.
Executive Creative Director
Developing the leading NFT marketplace for gamers
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are at the heart of Merit Circle, a rising star in the crypto industry. NFTs enable the play & earn economy that Merit Circle focuses on, in which gamers buy and earn NFTs that they can sell and trade. For this, Merit Circle asked DEPT® to develop an NFT marketplace that distinguishes with an experience that is devoted to both gamers and game developers.
By gamers, for gamers
Merit Circle is all about games. Investing, playing, building and now the trading of the assets that power the play & earn economy with an NFT marketplace. For Merit Circle, it’s the final piece in their portfolio that closes the circle. While most NFTs are being bought and sold for their aesthetic and speculative properties, gaming NFTs add a new layer by enhancing the gaming experience. Instead of just displaying your shiny item, you can also use it in a gaming metaverse to slay that terrifying dragon. This allows for its own niche in the crypto industry, one that Merit Circle is set on conquering.
With a massive market share, OpenSea is currently the most dominant NFT marketplace by far. Still, new players with a heavy focus on the gaming industry such as Fractal, are popping up every day. However, what better company to build an NFT marketplace than a community owned gaming DAO, which is already fully tailored towards helping gamers succeed in this space. And on top of that, Merit Circle has another advantage that most competitors lack: the actual content. It has the benefit of being able to leverage a rich network of games, each bringing its own gaming community. To accommodate this expected growth, we built a gaming community platform from scratch that makes onboarding and interacting more user-friendly. At the same time, we developed the NFT marketplace for this community to trade their gaming NFTs.
Upgrading the gaming NFT marketplace experience
At OpenSea, NFTs for gaming are treated like any other NFTs and every profile looks the same. Creators have few options to display the usage of an NFT in a game, or to tell the larger story behind it, which is essential for the world-building on which games rely. Without these two essential properties, gaming NFTs are mostly considered for their financial history and possible value gain. In a nothing about us, without us approach, we held a series of 1-on-1 interviews with game studios, gamers and investors. In three explorative design sprints, we listened to user experiences, complaints and wishes, and discussed prototypes and new solutions. This way, we learned what would be needed to upgrade the current experience of trading NFTs for gaming. At the same time, we also aspire to address the general issues with NFT trading that we currently see.
Anyone who has taken a dive into the world of crypto, wallets, NFTs and gas fees, can tell you how incredibly difficult it can be to truly get in to the crypto industry. Especially if you are not tech-savvy. The UI is often lacking, and sometimes it’s unclear what is happening or how to get engaged. We decided to meet this challenge head-on with contextual education in an approach called just-in-time learning. Instead of referring users to support forums and FAQ repositories in which they have to find their own way, we provide short explanations and next steps. By applying proven design patterns that users will know from webshops, the user experience becomes smoother. Transparency was another key factor, for which we ensured the fees and value of the NFT are clearly visible. We also worked with Game Development Studios from the very start of the project, which allowed us to lower the threshold for creators and Game Developing Studios to create their own marketplace. The Merit Circle Marketplace will be giving them a good deal of options to customise their own landing pages, enabling them to create a unique environment that fits their identity and needs.
Wider appeal to the masses
Together with Merit Circle, we firmly believe that a better user experience is essential for Web 3.0 to break through to the masses. With the launch of an NFT marketplace for and by gamers, we aim to move the needle and make the trading of NFTs for gaming more accessible for everyone. Authentic to the Merit Circle brand, and with a clear focus on creating value and improving the gaming experience. Merit Circle has the clear ambition to lead the play & earn industry, and with the addition of this NFT marketplace to its ecosystem, Merit Circle is one step closer to minting that role.
Executive Creative Director
Creating the soundtrack to the metaverse
Dequency is building first-of-its-kind decentralised music licensing marketplace for music and visual creators to connect, collaborate and transact. Built with web3 technology and ethos, Dequency seeks to connect visual creators with recording artists and other music rights holders and provide a simple, transparent, and fun licensing experience. They turned to DEPT® to help bring this vision to life and build the marketplace.
Building a decentralised music licensing platform
Dequency aims to build a platform that eliminates third parties from music licensing transactions to increase the speed of payment, reduce fees, and give control of the system to market participants. The Dequency platform will enable music and visual creators to connect and collaborate on NFT art and metaverse content more easily.
Initially catering to on-chain content such as motion graphic NFT projects, video games and metaverse productions, Dequency wants to showcase recording artists offering their music to license and facilitate communication between the parties to foster community. With the ultimate goal of creating a fully-decentralised, trustless music licensing marketplace, Dequency will also provide creators income-generating opportunities with minimum fees and instant payment.
The power of blockchain technology to help streamline music licensing
All visual productions that use music require a synchronisation licence (AKA “sync licence”) negotiated between the copyright owner of a piece of music and the party seeking to use the music. The license permits the synchronisation of copyrighted music to any other type of content.
Dequency believes that blockchain technology has the power to revolutionise the market for music licensing and create more opportunities for artists. The company wanted to build on Algorand, a blockchain that is known for its environmentally friendly “pure proof of stake” consensus mechanism. Algorand offers quick, efficient and secure transactions on its blockchain.
Licensing of music into film,TV or other applications in 2022 is currently akin to booking travel in 1975; inefficient, rife with unnecessary intermediaries and rent-seekers, and closed off to those unable to get through the corporate gatekeepers.
George Howard, Dequency Co-Founder
DEPT® is very familiar with building on Algorand, as we built the first white-label, open source platform for launching an NFT marketplace on the Algorand blockchain. And we’ve worked with a number of companies who are looking to launch NFTs or build platforms on Algorand.
Through a series of design and architecture sprints, we helped the Dequency team flesh out their idea. Over the course of five months, we then designed and built an MVP of the product, focusing first on offering up ready-to-sync music for visual projects that are legally licensed directly from the music rights owner, and recorded on-chain.
Shortly after the MVP was created, Dequency made history by executing the first-ever sync licence on a public blockchain. “Late Night People” by Goldfish ft. Soweto Kinch was licenced through Dequency’s SmartSync contract for use in Algorand’s Decipher conference, held in late 2021.
In early 2022, Dequency was also able to raise $4.5 million through an investment round led by Borderless Capital to further build out the marketplace. The funding will go toward building out Dequency’s peer-to-peer function, enabling music creators to upload their work to the platform and directly license for use in visual art projects.
DEPT® is currently working with Dequency on phase two of the project, focused on enabling music creators and rights owners to host their catalog on Dequency and work directly with visual creators looking to purchase the rights to use music in their projects.
When Dequency fully launches, the marketplace will be the only option to license music on-chain for blockchain-native content such as motion-visual NFT projects, games, and metaverse productions.
The Dequency platform built by DEPT® facilitates communication and direct transaction between music and visual creators, giving them the opportunity to benefit from this explosion of artists entering the space.
Keatly Haldeman, Dequency Co-founder & CEO
Global SVP, Engineering & Technology
From start-up to the UK’s most used fitness app
Doing a workout of your preference whenever you want, wherever you want. A dream for many. Thanks to Fiit, this dream has become a reality for many fitness beginners and enthusiasts. Since launching as a start-up with a unique business plan, it has grown to be the most used fitness app in the UK. How did they get there? DEPT® and Byte (part of Dept) gave them a little push in the right direction.
Making fitness accessible to everyone, everywhere
Fiit is a fitness app with the goal to make the world’s best fitness classes accessible to everyone, everywhere. From intensive HIIT workouts to peaceful yoga classes – the app offers it all. To measure its success, Fiit depends on free trials. But in the highly competitive fitness app market, how can you stand out?
The idea and business plan were there, but the company still needed a well-defined digital marketing strategy to reach its goals. This is where DEPT® and Byte (part of Dept) came into play. We joined forces to help Fiit with their social, search and affiliate strategies.
Our way of working
Taking over the UK
Together with Fiit, we set up marketing strategies that have shown incredible results, with the indication that Fiit is taking over the UK when it comes to the world of fitness:
- Most downloaded fitness app in the UK
- Most used fitness app in the UK
- Highest 30 day retention rate in the UK
Being the most used fitness app in the UK has brought Fiit one step closer to reaching its goal. But, this incredible result is not where Fiit’s journey ends.
We will continue working closely together with Fiit to launch their hardware products by moving into e-commerce, while investigating possibilities to roll-out in more countries and move them towards becoming the most used fitness app worldwide.
Resonating with gamers across the globe
SteelSeries has been a leader in e-sports gear for 20 years, and its contribution to e-sports gear has changed the game forever. The brand can pride itself on trophy-like achievements such as creating the world’s first ever glass mousepad and designing the most awarded headset in gaming. Having cemented cemented its position as an e-sports pioneer, SteelSeries turned to DEPT® to help tell its ‘Glory Story’ in celebration of the brand’s 20th anniversary.
Until 2021, SteelSeries’ rapid growth had mainly been driven organically by its unparalleled product performance. The successful brand hadn’t started exploring the golden opportunities connected to claiming its brand story and basing it on its unique history and the immense role the brand has played, and continues to play, as a challenger of the status quo in the world of e-sports gaming gear.
As SteelSeries reached its 20th anniversary in 2021, it became clear that there was no better time for the brand to tell the world its Glory Story. For two decades, SteelSeries had fuelled the gaming industry by creating innovative new products, designed specifically for e-sports and passionate gamers everywhere. With millions of new gamers around the world constantly entering the market, the brand wanted to find a compelling way to share this heritage. Together with SteelSeries, we crafted an innovative campaign that resonated with gamers across the globe and turned 20 years of brand history into a 20% increase in brand awareness.
The strategy: making ads that gamers want to share
It was clear to both SteelSeries and DEPT® that the brand’s rich legacy was an untapped goldmine of growth opportunities. However, as we ventured into this uncharted territory with a wealth of material to choose from, a number of challenges presented themselves. The main questions were:
- How do we turn this into a cool and engaging story rather than boring self-praise?
- How do we strategically pick the right stories or achievements from the SteelSeries legacy?
- How do we best communicate these awesome stories to gamers who do not tend to watch 30-60 second flow TV commercials?
First and foremost, we needed to find ways to connect with different types of games. It was clear that relevance was the key to success, so finding the right messages and choosing the right channels was crucial to driving and maintaining interest.
The solution: ad sequencing with tailored storylines
To craft compelling content that would appeal to the target audience, we focused on three elements: enlisting leading creatives; targeting two core target audiences; and using ad sequencing for tactical storytelling.
Ensuring that the campaign would feel just as cool as the digital realms in which gamers immerse themselves was paramount. SteelSeries enlisted top-notch creatives to portray the world that gamers know and love; the world of gaming.
Smart targeting for smarter story telling
We identified two core gamer groups and custom built the narratives of the brand story to match their specific characteristics:
- PC console gamers: we showed them that we understand them, that SteelSeries is, has always been, and will always be, a by-gamers-for-gamers brand. This was visualised through a series of gaming moments that make gamers feel glorious. We also showed them our long line of gaming innovations and how they’ve continued to elevate the performance of gamers everywhere.
- E-sports gamers: we showed them our huge involvement, support and commitment to the e-sports community, centred around the fact that e-sports pros have won more prize money with SteelSeries than any other brand.
Ad sequencing for tactical storytelling in the digital world where gamers live
Having outlined the big idea and how we wanted to customise this message to each of our audience types, we wanted to ensure that we not only met the gamers on their preferred platforms; we also wanted the campaign to stand out as the extraordinary story that it was. It had to be more than just another marketing campaign.
To achieve this, we made use of a number of tactical elements. With first-class visual content, strong storytelling and bold, attention-grabbing statements such as “if you suck, that’s a problem we can’t solve” in place, what we needed was to get gamers to start watching.
Initial testing of non-skippable ads showed that these did not achieve the significant impact that we were looking for, so we needed to find a different tactic to pique the interest of our target audiences. Using ad sequencing on YouTube allowed us to divide storylines into shorter segments and craft them into sequences tailored to each target audience to increase the chance of catching the gamers’ attention.
Moreover, if a gamer skipped an ad, we used customised messaging based on the gamer’s previous interaction with the campaign with ad copy such as “we know you skipped our last ad, but you’re really missing out”. As results quickly showed, combining ad sequencing with this approach significantly increased the chance of catching the gamers’ attention and seeing them complete the remainder of the sequence.
The results: 85 million views and a 20% increase in brand awareness
Fast forward a year, and the campaign has been watched more than 85 million times across 30 countries. Moreover, gamers expressed their love for the campaign across social media with comments such as “the first ad I’ve watched in its entirety” and “this is the mother of advertisements”, among hundreds of others.
And the result? A 20% lift in brand awareness, significantly above YouTube and Facebook benchmarks. With the Glory Story campaign, SteelSeries has succeeded in claiming their brand history and harnessing it to boost brand awareness among their core audience. And it’s only the beginning, says SteelSeries CMO Kathryn Martinez:
“Ultimately, it’s been incredible to see that we have a story worth spreading. It took a leap of faith, but thanks to this campaign we know there’s an audience out there that really wants to hear from us. And we have so much more to say – there are many more levels to this game.”
The world’s first NFT portal for brands
Non-fungible token (NFT) sales soared 20-fold within a year, from $13.7 million in the first half of 2020 to $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021. By the end of 2021, the marketplace for NFTs reached a $41 billion value. To help brands make the most of the opportunity, DEPT® created the first-ever open source, white-label solution for launching an NFT marketplace, built on top of the Algorand blockchain.
Taking advantage of a massive opportunity
NFTs open up avenues for consumer brands to innovate and let consumers engage with digital ownership and digital collectibles. But, brands have been missing a straightforward way to launch an NFT marketplace to leverage the benefits of unique digital assets. To address this, DEPT® created the first-ever open source, white-label solution for launching an NFT marketplace, built on top of the Algorand blockchain.
NFTs allow brand loyalists, collectors and investors to own and engage with a piece of virtual brand property. The market for these virtual goods is expanding exponentially. For brands, digital assets are a game-changer in terms of engaging, connecting and creating value with their audiences. Why? Because collecting is something that humans have done throughout history. But now, the ability to digitise and certify memorabilia gives brands new ways to provide authentic experiences to consumers. This is especially valuable as brands compete for customers on a fully digital playing field.
NFTs also represent better monetisation for creators, a more intimate connection with consumers, and a much better fraud prevention mechanism, all while providing total ownership and control to the owners. At the end of the day, it’s a fundamentally better distribution method that brands can leverage to generate new and increased value.
Unfortunately, these blockchain technologies are still very new, and the complexities and required expertise make starting from scratch with NFTs extremely difficult and costly. Brands need an out-of-the-box solution that makes it easier for them to enter the market, have the control to make a bespoke offering, and a tech stack that can scale and grow in this new space. Together with our long-term client, Algorand, we recognised the need to lower the barrier to entry to allow brands to take charge of their digital assets and how their users engage with them.
The entire ecosystem of blockchain and NFTs is going to bring people closer to the brands they love and open a whole host of new experiences.
Anne Marie Gianutsos, CMO, Drone Racing League
DEPT® created a ready-to-use platform called Algomart to assist brands in getting started with NFTs. Algomart is an open source platform built on top of the most cutting-edge blockchain technology from Algorand in order to quickly create unique and user-friendly experiences. Algorand is an attractive infrastructure on which to launch these marketplaces as it is eco-friendly, scalable, and offers inexpensive transaction fees.
Algomart provides core modules that can be used out of the box and enable brands to easily create new models and experiences, whether it’s engaging with customers through auctions for digital collectibles, creating NFTs to engage with gamers in the metaverse, offering something redeemable in the real-world or blending physical and digital experiences. Brands can get started easily, as the development and deployment experiences use cutting-edge infrastructure like Terraform and Docker. Additionally, Circle allows brands to remove the complexities for marketplace users creating and funding crypto wallets, so users can use a credit card like any other ecommerce transaction.
Bringing people closer to the brands they love
Since the launch of Algomart, DEPT® has been in discussions with a number of brands to launch an NFT marketplace, including global sports brands, lottery games, fantasy sports providers, food and beverage companies and more.
Motorsport Games used Algomart to launch its first ever NFT marketplace for its live Virtual Le Mans 24-hour race event. This included opportunities to find exclusive moments and artwork on the marketplace.
Also, the Drone Racing League, the world’s premier, professional drone racing property, became the first sports league to run an NFT marketplace through Algorand. The marketplace features unique 3D avatars of DRL’s Algorand 13th Pilot, MannyH!MSLF, to use for gaming and in the metaverse.
David Markley, Director of Business Solutions at Algorand, said: “NFTs exploded as many of the world’s top brands realised the role the digital assets can play in a diverse set of applications. I’m excited to see DEPT® recognise the opportunity and launch its state-of-the-art platform that removes complexity for brands to more fully incorporate NFTs into their businesses.”
I’m excited to see DEPT® recognise the opportunity and launch its state-of-the-art platform that removes complexity for brands to more fully incorporate NFTs into their businesses.
David Markley, Director of Business Solutions, Algorand
Head of Marketing US
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