Dear GameStop,

Yesterday I tweeted the following,

“GameStop should turn all of their stores into lan centers that also sell games and gaming hardware. Have brands bid on being the official headset/mkb/controller/pc/console/etc provider of the lan center.

Charge by the hour on stations.
Sell products.
Sell concessions.”

Then the joker in me followed that tweet up with this one,

“I just saved their brand. They should give me double on my Xbox one trade, $3.75 would work, I guess.”

The point behind these tweets was to draw attention to a brand that I love and to shine a light on just how worried I am about their brand, with that being said I’d like to take this time to talk about GameStop and my vision for their brand.

LAN centers. I firmly believe the gaming and esports space 100% needs a national brand to support LAN centers in every state in the United States. Name a brand that is in a better position than GameStop to make this happen?

Some of you are thinking WOW Scotty, LAN centers? Nobody would even care, wrong… GameStop could be the official LAN partner of every single video game that remotely has an interest in esports. With my idea, you would have GameStop running qualifiers that would lead to state championships for state titles. So many people think that people with the most significant followings on social media speak on behalf of everyone; this isn’t true.

Everyone wants to talk about esports viewership numbers, but they should be talking about esports participation numbers!!! Esports fans are not equal to traditional sports fans… traditional sports has a distinct pathway to being a pro, and once you fail at becoming a pro, you are forever labeled a spectator.

This is what makes esports so amazing, you can be a top-level pro in an esports title regardless if you can’t run fast, you can’t jump high, you’re too short, too skinny, too big, for the most parts you’re not held back by the same physical limitations that would hold you back from being a traditional sports pro.

GameStop stores are not fresh or fun or exciting, and they 100% need to be. GameStop should celebrate the playing of video games, and they should celebrate the best players of those video games, they should celebrate the professional scene of those video games.

With publishers like ATVI moving Overwatch and now Call of Duty to localized esports titles, and professional sports leagues like the NBA doing the same thing by having city-based esports teams, am I the only one who sees this as an immense opportunity? GameStop has the infrastructure to run local/state/national championships for any game/esport.

Lastly, I need a reason to hang out, take some of the pressure off of your core business before it’s too late, you must reinvent your brand now, not later… start today! PC Bangs are super popular overseas, and here in the states you have bars/restaurants that are focusing on gaming and esports, and they are blowing up because of it.

Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn with any feedback you may have!

Employee Social Media Advocacy

 

I posted a tweet recently from my twitter account the other day and I wanted to share my thoughts behind this tweet with you.

The Tweet: https://twitter.com/ScottyTidwell/status/1070377123922305025

“It’s almost 2019, and brands still are not using their employees to amplify their social media messaging… IMO, it speaks volumes about a brand when it’s own employees won’t share their employer’s posts.  Your most prominent fans/advocates should always be your employees.”

After a few replies, it was apparent to me that I needed to write a blog on this subject as it’s one that is very dear to me as a former Community Manager, Director of Marketing, CEO, and now CMO.  I’m still blown away by how many brands are scared to death to engage with their employees when it comes to amplifying brand messaging on social media platforms.

We live in a digital and very connected world, and employers have taken a strange stance with company social media policies that make ZERO SENSE to me.  I’ve had the pleasure or pain, depending on how you look at it, overseeing several brand social media policies.  I’ll go back to talk about how I would handle this issue if it were left up to me in just a second, but first I want to touch on some of the ridiculous comments I’ve heard over the years from all angles in business to include C-Level Officers, in-house PR team members, and even contracted PR firms.

It usually starts with these words, “we must protect our brand on social media, therefore we shouldn’t allow employees to state they work for us publicly, and we don’t want them engaging with anyone on social media, account we only want one voice and that voice should be from the main branded accounts”.

Yeah, I wish I could tell you that I’m kidding, but I’m not.  I’m going to highlight a few stats below before wrapping all of this up in a simple statement for brands to take to heart.

Here are some stats for you to look over.

  • Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employee’s vs the same words shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
  • 79% of firms surveyed reported more online visibility after the implementation of a formal employee advocacy program. 65% said increased brand recognition. (Hinge Marketing)
  • Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Social Media Today)
  • Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other points. (Marketing Advisory Network)
  • Earned media (press, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer referrals) drives 4x the brand lift as paid media. (Bazaar Voice)
  • Peer-to-peer marketing is the leading driver behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. (McKinsey)
  • 73% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23 percent more often. (Aberdeen Group)
  • According to IBM, when a lead is generated through social selling or employee advocacy that lead is 7X more likely to close compared to other lead gen tactics. (Find and Convert)
  • Sales reps using social media as part of their sales techniques outsell 78% of their peers. (Forbes)
  • 91% of B2B buyers are active on social media. (IDC)
  • 64% of teams that use social selling hit quota compared to 49% that don’t. (Aberdeen Group)
  • 80% believe their sales force would be more effective and efficient if they could leverage social media. (Sales Management Association)
  • An employee advocacy program can drive 16% better win rates, 2x pipeline, and deliver 48% larger deals. (EveryoneSocial)
  • More than 80% of Americans say employee communication is key to developing trust with their employers. (Lexicon)
  • 74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news. (Trade Press Services)
  • 85% of employees said they are most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news. (Trade Press Services)
  • Use of social software by employees can improve productivity by 20-25%. (McKinsey)
  • More informed employees outperform their peers by 77%. (CEB/Gartner)
  • When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information. (McKinsey)

So, with all of this fantastic data why are brands bullish on letting their employees have a voice and be social with the company that they are working for?  Why are employees signing social media policies that are telling them to stay the hell away from branded social posts and do not engage on social media with customers who are happy or sad with their user experience with their brand?

ALIENS BRO… ALIENS… seriously, it’s almost like everyone has forgotten about the ten golden rules of communication.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll list them out now.

  1. Convey messages in a clear and effective manner.
  2. Use clear and unambiguous language.
  3. Use non-verbal methods of communication.
  4. Use repetition.
  5. Check understanding.
  6. Be warm and attentive.
  7. Show that you are listening.
  8. Be slow to pass judgment.
  9. Use silence appropriately.
  10. Check understanding.

Notice how “check understanding” is on here twice?  Yes, it’s that important to ensure that you are on the same page with the people you are talking too or the people that are talking to you.  I see so many brands get themselves in trouble account they are not following or do not understand how to apply these ten simple golden rules.

Scotty, we understand that you think many brands are not handling social media correctly, so… tell us what you would do?

First, be human… By saying be human, I’m saying allow human interaction to take place on social media platforms.  It should be 100% ok for an employee on social media to engage and amplify brand posts and the customers/users who are also engaging with the branded accounts.

Second, build trust… the data tells us that consumers are more confident in purchasing a product or service online if they can easily find key people who work for the brand on social media.  It’s like asking to speak to the manager directly without having to ask… you type your message to them and hit tweet/send/post/comment.

Third, train/educate… brands need to train employees how to handle certain situations on social media, employees need to know when they should forward something up the chain of command vs when they can simple like/share/reply.  Remember, the idea is to allow employees to be social and proud of their brand, to do this you will need plans that help ensure employees are seen as human, but also “on brand” when it comes to how they engage.

Lastly, be fun, be engaging, be active, be friendly, it is never ok to get it wrong for a customer, but it is always ok to try and empathize, sympathize, with them.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with social media policies at work! Comment or Tweet @ScottyTidwell

 

 

Esports Is a Content Delivery Platform, Period.

Yes, I have said this for a while now, but I have never taken the time to put my feelings on paper for all to read. Most of you who know me know I am very passionate when it comes to esports, and I have a burning passion for seeing and helping it continue to grow.

Esports at its core is about competition right? Human nature is to compete, compete for food, compete for land, compete for a better job, compete for a better car, better house, competing is something we do and don’t even think about it.

I have seen 70yr old women competing on Bejeweled on Facebook and talking smack to each other based on who has the highest score or have reached the highest level. I have coached young men in football and watched them compete during a football game, then watched them compete after the game at my house playing Madden. Competition is in our DNA and esports allows anyone to scratch their competitive itch regardless of how fast he or she can run, or high they can jump, how much they weigh or how tall they are.

Content is king! How many times have you heard that before? If you follow me or know me, then you will know I say this all the time. Content is king, and we need to take care of our king at all costs. Without written and video content then all of the competition that I have talked would be almost meaningless from a value proposition.

Good content that is engaging and draws in views and traffic is valuable to esports, it allows us, marketers, to be storytellers for our products and services. As traditional media keeps declining, you will see more and more non-endemic brands turn their marketing budgets to gaming and more importantly esports. When these brands turn to esports, we need to be ready to serve them and help them integrate their campaigns seamlessly into our ecosystem.

Within esports, there are a few types of vehicles that are driving and delivering content.

1. Dev’s/Publishers:
2. Org’s/Teams:
3. Media Companies:
4. Independent Content Creators/Players:

If you have been around long enough, then you have seen first hand how meaningful content from Devs/Publishers has grown over the years. I mean, some of the content that is being created around the Overwatch World League is some of the best I have seen.

I love content from Orgs and Teams when I can get it, sadly not many of them are producing good and regular content, this needs to change asap. People want to connect with their favorite players and who better to quench that thirst than the teams that they play for. Behind the scenes, please, let me connect with my favorite player… People know Player B is impressive at his job, but they want to know the real Player B, what makes Player B tick? What does Player B do daily, how does Player B live? It is all about the players. As more investment takes place into other Orgs, you will see the content efforts pick up.

The big one for me here is Media Companies… running a media company is very tough these days and is NOT a short-term play in my opinion. I do feel that the best esports focused media companies that are left standing within the next 12 to 36 months will do very well. I am confident you will see a few of them get acquired by larger brands that are forced to move into the esports space for impressions/views/users.

Number four on my list is so significant to me that I am going to take the time to write another blog post that only covers that topic.  Look for it to go up next month.

If the content is King, who is trying to own esports?

Why Traditional TV is Dying.

It’s f’ing expensive, with just three or four months worth of cable bills(Avg bill is $103 per month) I could buy a nice tv to watch my shitty cable on. Think of gasoline as cable and the car is the tv… holy shit.. just think if one month of gas cost you 30% of the total price of the car. You probably wouldn’t buy the car? You probably wouldn’t purchase the gas? Some of you will understand that comparison and some of you won’t. Same.

Scotty, what are you suggesting? The TV makers are doing pretty good right now. Sure they are.. You have idiots like myself who purchase TV’s just to watch Twitch streams on 40″ panels(yes, I do this) or even Netflix on 50″ panels in their bedrooms(yes, I do this).

TV manufacturers are still winning although some data points to a decline in sales figures and cable providers are starting to feel the pinch for declining viewership and subscriptions. It’s been reported that ESPN is losing 10,000 subscribers per day and are down 12,000,000 subs since their all-time high of 100,000,000 in 2011.

Let’s look at ESPN for a moment; I grew up loving everything about ESPN. I loved the on-air talent back when Stuart Scott first said “cooler than the other side of the pillow.” I’m not saying the talent now days is bad, I’m saying it’s not original, and it seems forced at times.

ESPN is like that YouTuber who started his channel making videos of him playing his favorite video game and commentating over the gameplay to tell you all about how they feel about certain topics. Most all of those channels had to reinvent themselves, or their channels slowly died off with hardly any views.

Am I saying that ESPN is dying? Not yet.. They are on a decline just like a lot of YouTubers, and they must reinvent themselves so they can keep delivering content that people WANT to consume. Creating content is fucking useless if nobody is consuming it.

Am I saying that ESPN has a content problem? Yes. One of the issues is people want to watch sporting events free of political bullshit. When I turn on SportsCenter, I want to get caught up on all things sports related. I don’t give a shit what a professional athlete has to say about Donald f’ing Trump.. Nor do I care to hear the political views of the hosts of the shows. If I care what an athlete has to say on world topics, I will follow them on Twitter.

Let’s talk about ads. I’m still amazed that when I watch TV, I see a ton of ads that have nothing to do with my current purchasing habits/wants/trends. When if ever will TV deliver me a relevant ad for a product or service? You know what I hate more than ads? Ads that are not related to the goods and services that I care about.

TV must create/use smart technology to deliver relevant ads to consumers. TV must keep political pandering away from traditional sports. TV must create content that people are consuming.. what is that content? Gaming and Esports.

If TV can’t take care of these three areas, they will be forced to break out certain channels and offer them to be streamed from smartphones, laptops, and computers for a small monthly fee. Yes, I’m going to be watching SportsCenter one day on my MacBook for $4.99 per month.