Take 2: The Esports Branding Checklist

Are you trying to start an esports organization and don’t know where to begin with naming conventions, logos, colors, social platforms and just about anything else? That’s great, I’m here to help you. Almost every day I see a new esports organization that makes me want to tear my hair out because the creators put such poor planning into the team brand. The longevity and popularity of a brand, not only in esports, but in general is directly proportional to the originality and simplicity of it’s design. Here are some basic dos and don’ts for build your esports organization.

DO NOT

Copy the logo or name of a well known existing team. I feel like this one should be self explanatory but somehow every now and then I still see new organization take stuff from old teams. Last week I saw someone tried to start an esports team with the name Instinct and just blatantly stole the logo of long-time Halo roster Instinct. We also have Eunited, Reunited and at one point Weunited as well.

Start the name with Team or end it in Esports, Gaming or GG. No traditional sports team calls themselves by their sport. Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey, Pittsburgh Steelers Football and Brooklyn Nets Basketball all sound pretty stupid, don’t they? As a follow up to this, do your best when naming the team to secure social media handles that don’t involve using these naming conventions either.

Create separate social media accounts within your brand. While this is more of a guideline, it usually only works after surpassing a follower threshold and shouldn’t be attempted by new organizations. A couple of examples to follow if you require multiple accounts are Millenium, who created separate accounts for it’s French and English followers and CLG, who created a separate account for it’s female Counter-Strike team, CLG Red. When trying to gain fans it’s very disruptive for them to follow multiple different accounts to get the information they want. Stick to one account per platform.

Don’t hire a “Stream Team” or “Design Studio.” I see more esports organizations adopting these teams because they are an additional way of promoting their sponsors. In the current esports ecosystem, teams are mostly just marketing agents for sponsorship dollars but as esports evolves, teams that house non-pro team branches will fail to be taken seriously. I’m looking at you, Enemy and Denial.

DO

Have a website, keep it up to date and use a .com address. Building a basic website isn’t hard anymore and there are plenty services that will help you get started, even some directly targeted at esports teams. Please for the love of god stop using .gg as a top-level domain!

Put a lot of thought into a brand hashtag. Before Naventic rebranded they used to be called Swarm Gaming. They attempted to start using the hashtag #StingersUp, referring to bees, the now defunct Kingsmen liked to use the term #PlayLikeKings, and Rise Nation — a team partially owned by LA Rams gaurd Rodger Saffold — uses the hastag #RiseWithUs. None of these are particularly specific or add anything that their twitter handle doesn’t already. The purpose of a hashtag is to create discussion outside of tagging handles in tweets. If you’re going to create a brand hashtag relate it directly to your fans as a group. Denial are a #Wolfpack, Team EnVyUs have their #BoysInBlue and OpTic Gaming are the fabled #Greenwall.

Pay a professional for a logo design. There is a night and day difference between something that your friend made in illustrator and what a professional logo designer and graphic artist can build for you. Not only will you have a lot more input in the creative process but you will get many more assets than just a logo.

Be original and keep it simple. Name. Logo. Everything. Cloud 9, Fnatic, Splyce and Immortals are all fantastic examples of this principle.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and there is a ton more planning that needs to happen when building a brand from the ground up but these are some of the largest mistakes that people continue to perpetuate in esports.

P.S. DON’T START AN ESPORTS ORGANIZATION WHERE YOU,
CAN’T
PAY
YOUR
PLAYERS.

 

Cover photo by Blake Bottrill

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