“I have a background in playing and watching video games for as long as I can remember,” says entrepreneur Brandon Freiberg. Freiberg, like many other gamers, is familiar with eSports and streaming platforms such as Twitch.tv.
In the early days of YouTube and other video streaming sites, it was hard to find quality video game-related video content. Nowadays, with the popularity of streaming sites such as Twitch, gamers can easily find entertaining personalities online playing their favorite games.
Around the time Twitch started gaining traction, so too did more mainstream coverage of eSports. No longer was watching two gamers play fighting games something underground; in fact, ESPN actively covers it.
As with anything trendy, marketers and advertisers will always find a way to promote their brands. When certain brands started sponsoring streamers, Freiberg was taking note of a pattern within the gaming community.
“I noticed a lot of streamers were talking about how hard it was to find brands,” Freiberg says. “Either they were too small and didn’t have the audience, or they couldn’t scale to advertise mid-to-large size brands.”
Another problem Freiberg encountered was sponsor repetition. “I also noticed a lot of the same brands were showing up and a lot of the brands that were buying up space were gaming companies.”
These two situations, combined with the rising popularity of eSports and how players were getting sponsored, caused Freiberg to start researching options to expand brand awareness in small-to-mid-size streamers.
He began by reaching out to streamers with smaller audiences on Twitch and YouTube. Since streaming is a social experience, Freiberg was able to speak to them directly through each platform’s live chat feature.
Freiberg and his team began the process of getting brands involved. “Typically, it’s a lot harder to get brands on board than the streamers,” Freiberg says. “The people who represent the brands tend to be older, and don’t fully understand streaming and eSports.”
After gathering information, Freiberg partnered up with an old colleague of his, Eugene Chung, and Harvard Business School student, Joe Kiernan. The three started developing a platform that worked similar to a marketplace, where brands can connect with streamers and vice versa.
Endorse.gg is a platform allowing streamers to become brand sponsors, and for brands to begin marketing to a different medium. Streamers log into the platform using their Twitch or YouTube account and fill out information regarding who they are and what types of games they stream. This allows brands using Endorse.gg to break down demographics and find the right streamer to become a brand influencer.
Brands will be able to create their own campaigns with their streamers, and will be able to keep track of their progress on a dashboard created exclusively for Endorse.gg.
The brands currently using Endorse.gg aren’t the typical ones associated with gamers (i.e. Mountain Dew). MasterCard and Harry’s Shave Club are among those who use the platform, and the team at Endorse.gg plans to expand its brand user base by including more food and beverage companies.
Recently, Endorse.gg is starting to have streamers promote giveaways during their streaming sessions.
Endorse.gg also has the distinction of being one of the few video game-related companies accepted into the 2017 MassChallenge program. “It’s been super great,” Freiberg says of his time at MassChallenge. “Being a part of this program has added a lot of value to us.”
Streaming and eSports are slowly becoming more popular not only among gamers but also with marketers who are looking to break into a new demographic. For many small-to-mid-size streamers, becoming a brand influencer is a huge accomplishment. Endorse.gg is giving those streamers that opportunity. As a longtime gamer, Freiberg is grateful to be working with others with a familiar mindset.
“I’m having fun in an industry I like,” Freiberg says. “I never thought I would be adding value to the life of an influencer.”
Images courtesy of Endorse.gg