Innovative motor oil brand marketing campaign highlights new possibilities for all
Aftermarket companies large and small are continually on the lookout for ways to engage with their customers, employing everything from clothing giveaways to points earning programs and contests. Rarer are those projects that create a new space for customers to engage in, with programs that challenge both their creativity and their competitive spirit.
A recent esports program by Castrol distributor Wakefield Canada has done just that.
Esports, the term coined for competitive video gaming, is massive on a global scale, but still evolving as a branding tool.
Wakefield was recently approached by the Pfaff Automotive Group with a new proposition. Wakefield was already involved in motorsport sponsorship with Pfaff, and the dealership group wanted to expand that into the esports arena, through the Forza Motorsport 7 Xbox One platform.
According to Natalee Davis, marketing manager, sponsorships and promotions for Wakefield, “The esports event took place in theatres, and since we were at the Canadian International AutoShow, they wanted to see if we could get them a prominent place at the show, too. We didn’t want to just sponsor something. We wanted to see how we could get their customers and their workshop staff as well as the consumer engaged.
“We decided to have two initiatives: first, the racing competition, where we worked with Xbox to get our name throughout the whole competition program. The second was the livery program where they could design the racecar.”
She says more than 400 submissions were garnered – with a significant proportion coming from the repair community – all vying for $20,000 in cash prizes and a chance to test a Pfaff racecar.
“Both of the competitions coincided, and we were able to communicate a lot throughout the AutoShow. There was a lot of engagement. We’re trying to engage new people in racing, and knowing that gaming is so prevalent now, to see how we could grow our brand.”
She says that the program was successful and she would certainly consider doing it again, but adds that it is something that organizations small and large can engage in.
“Esports has a captive audience; you don’t have to do a big sponsorship like we did. And there are even racing pods that they can rent for a while. These are ways to engage their employees to make them feel like they are part of the community.”
Branding within esports activities, like applying a branded “skin” to a car, can be had for a relatively small investment and can help build corporate culture and branding. It is also possible to connect to learning environments. Even small jobber operations could learn from the approach and create a program for their own staff and customers.
A recent article from The eSports Group highlighted the challenges organizations have in attracting and retaining people and the role esports can play in bridging that gap.
“Brand marketing in esports is already here. However, the current approach is focused on positioning corporate/product brands with customers. On the other hand, an employer brand is the image of an organization as a ‘good place to work.’
“In the same light, esports is a valuable marketing and advertising platform which can and should be used in employer brand strategies. Competitive video games are already a proven medium for reaching millennials – a growing percentage of the global workforce. Accordingly, employers can realize an edge in the heated competition for talent, by communicating their company culture and identity through digital sport.”
“Once they’re engaged, they want to interact much more than traditional ways,” says Davis. “Some people learn in the traditional way, but if you can make it fun and if there is a screen involved, we find that that really helps to motivate people.
“People are captivated by their screen. It was something that really resonated. It provides an experience that they feel they are part of something, versus information just being thrown at them.”