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傳統公關沒落,新時代游戲營銷溝通將何去何從

發布于:2019-07-18 12:32來源:佳文 作者:佳文 點擊:

傳統公關沒落,新時代游戲營銷溝通將何去何從

原作者:Cat Channon 譯者:Vivian Xue

上周我在“Reboot Development”開發者大會上做了一個演講,我覺得它回答了一個問題:傳統公關死了嗎?答案是:當然,早就死了。死了、埋了,就像是一個借酒澆愁的人在還沒來得及買單之前就倒下,腐壞的肝臟已經被蠕蟲啃得渣都不剩,神仙都救不回來。

然而,現場觀眾和大會結束以來我收到的回應表明,一些人對傳統公關的地位仍然抱有疑惑——更重要的是,如果傳統公關時代結束了,接下來怎么辦呢?

首先我要說明,我對“傳統公關”的定義是,游戲媒體和游戲公司之間不恰當的合作關系;這種公關靠花錢擺脫麻煩、扭轉社論、塞錢強迫媒體幫他們打廣告。這種公關思維依然將登上印刷物封面放在首要位置,一旦遇到內容泄密問題就開始追究責任,而不是將它視為一個收集數據或預估消費者興趣的機會,仍然將獲得IGN獨家報道視為營銷重點目標。

這些公關手段存在于一個沒有數據、關鍵績效指標和投資回報率的世界,被稱作“暗黑藝術”。

—不斷變化的媒體市場—

由于傳統媒體地位的動搖,舊式公關開始消亡。如今任何能上網的人都可能成為水軍。廣告收入依賴于搜索量,導致大部分媒體文章都按照賺錢的套路編寫而成,缺乏深度的內容(看過《堡壘之夜》的頭條文章嗎……?)我們見證了“Doritogate”事件。越來越多的媒體影響著人們的消費行為。影響者們(influencers)不會輕易為利益所動搖,Metacritic的出現使文字評論變得不那么重要,一切靠分數說話。

Candy Crush Soda Saga(from pocketgamer.biz)

Candy Crush Soda Saga(from pocketgamer.biz)

游戲邦注:

-Doritogate:引起游戲圈爭議的事件,TGA游戲盛典主持人Geoff Keighley的直播視頻中出現了由Dorito薯片贊助的《光環4》站立廣告牌,人們認為他收錢為游戲做宣傳。

-Metacritic:Metacritic電子游戲評分是電玩界最受玩家信賴的分數,甚至足以影響一款游戲的銷售成績。

在這個充滿活力和多樣性的市場中,消費者聲音比任何時候都強大。它不僅能影響媒體的議題,還能影響國家對行業的政策——從戰利品寶箱和游戲成癮的爭論中可見一斑。

—公關已死,溝通永存—

那么接下來怎么辦呢?答案是打造忠于目標、靈活多變的溝通組合策略。它遠非你所能想到的那些千篇一律的線性新聞報道,預覽和回顧過去的計劃。

當你思考如何實現溝通目標時,玩家社區、用戶支持、內部溝通、公司道德/價值觀、影響者、社交平臺、活動和系統營銷都應該被考慮在內。無論你的目標是營銷游戲、宣傳公司、招聘人才、打造新IP、與發行商取得合作還是獲得投資,上述任何一個因素都可能影響你的成敗。

—溝通策略的成敗案例—

在變化多端的營銷環境下,業內出現了許多成功的溝通案例,也有許多失敗案例,而那些僅僅把目光放在傳統營銷上的公司錯失了許多機會。

1. 2004年,《魔獸世界》發行時,暴雪就深知玩家社區是重中之重,并把它和傳統媒體營銷放在了同等位置上。暴雪的價值觀引領他們的決策,多年來“玩家至上”一如既往地體現在他們的對外溝通上。正因如此,當他們將一個游戲系統加入到最大的IP中再把它去掉后,并沒有對公司或品牌產生持久的負面影響。(指《暗黑破壞神3》關閉拍賣行功能,游戲邦注。)

2. 湯姆·弗蘭西斯(Tom Francis)曾經是游戲記者,后改行制作獨立游戲。他完美地運用自己的社交媒體影響力為他的處女作《Gunpoint》做宣傳,使游戲獲得了好評和商業成功。這一切都歸功于他長年來客觀公正的報道,使他積累了一批忠實的粉絲,最終將流量轉化為購買力。

3. 《山羊模擬器》運用系統化營銷,打造滑稽搞笑、可分享的視頻內容,配合它們反傳統的社交媒體營銷和用戶服務支持。這是一個通過多渠道進行內容營銷大獲成功的例子。

4. 個人觀點與其所在企業的形象密不可分,并且會對公司業務產生深遠影響,可Testology創立者卻不明白這個道理。(Testology創立者在倫敦襲擊事件后發表了反穆斯林言論,有違其公司追崇平等、多樣化的價值觀,游戲邦注)

5. 眾所周知,Riot Games幾乎完全脫離傳統媒體,但這種做法也使他們失去了庇護,使該公司面臨眾多圍繞社區毒性、玩家安全、公司價值觀的溝通難題,之前還陷入了一場社區口水戰(指2016年,以《英雄聯盟》賽前發布重大更新為導火索引發的Riot和電競戰隊之間的爭執,游戲邦注)。

—傳統媒體仍然值得重視—

以上事例說明,主流媒體和游戲愛好者論壇在解決大眾關切問題和引領重大問題探討上仍然占據重要地位——舉個例子,了解一下之前英國《鏡報》上關于《堡壘之夜》的頭條報道背后的動機(文章標題是《堡壘之夜使我成為了一個有自殺傾向的癮君子》,游戲邦注)。如果你認為和傳統媒體合作對游戲來說不是必要的,或者你認為等到需要時再與傳統媒體建立關系也不遲,你就將自己置于了一個危險的境地。

往好的方面看,盡管營銷溝通人士的工作更為艱辛,,但如今每個人都能通過溝通對他們的業務產生影響。在考慮使用什么溝通組合策略時,你需要思考玩家在哪里,然后有針對性地采取措施。首先把重點放在用戶服務和社區互動上——它們是粉絲活動的核心地帶,也是溝通危機經常爆發的地方。

正確運用溝通組合策略不容易,但關鍵在于忠于目標。你的目標不是獲得報道和知名度,而是銷售游戲和尋找開發人才。找到玩家中有影響力的決策者,關注他們分享的內容,以適當的方式與他們接觸互動。

—總結—

思考你想實現的具體目標、誰能幫你實現它,去尋找他們。秉持實事求是和負責的態度,認清你真正能實現的目標和你擁有的資源。最重要的是,必要時改變你的計劃——保持靈活。

我個人很高興看到老派公關已經成為過去,我也希望業界對我的大多數同行的刻板印象——一群在永無止境的危機中發揮才華、創造力和聰明才智的人——能夠隨之消失。

本文由游戲邦編譯,轉載請注明來源,或咨詢微信zhengjintiao

At Reboot Develop last week, I gave a talk that I felt addressed a rhetorical question: Is traditional PR dead? Answer: Definitely yes. Long dead. Dead. Buried. And its alcohol-addled liver. Worm food quicker than you can say, “Put it on my tab.”

However, the attendance at my talk and the response I have received since the conference suggests that, for some, there is still a question about the status of traditional PR — and more importantly, if it is game over, then what next?

To be clear, I’m defining ‘traditional PR’ as the uncomfortably close dynamic between games journalists and video games PR; one that operates in a world where you can buy your way out of trouble, where messaging is massaged into editorial, and marketers can strong-arm the press with ad spend. It is a way of thinking that believes print covers should still lead every campaign, that regards leaks as a time to apportion blame rather than an opportunity to start capturing data or gauging consumer interest, and still treats an IGN exclusive as the answer to every campaign’s communication challenge.

All of which exists in a data-, KPI- and ROI-free world often described as a “dark art”.

—The changing media landscape—

As the place of traditional media has shifted, the demise of old school public relations began. Anyone with an internet connection now has the potential to be an opinionated hack. Search-driven page impressions and their associated ad revenues make the writing of most stories a financial equation rather than an editorial one (Fortnite headline anyone…?). Doritogate happened. More channels than ever before have an impact on buying decisions. Influencers aren’t easily influenced, and Metacritic moved the needle to such an extent that words became less important than the numbers.

In this dynamic and varied landscape, the strength of consumer voice is greater than it has ever been. It has the ability to independently drive not only the media agenda but — as evidenced in the discussions around both loot boxes and addiction — affect the very policies that govern our industry.

—PR is dead. Long live communications—

So what next? The answer is a communications mix that while fixed in its objectives is entirely fluid and agile. It is about as far from the cookie-cutter, linear news, preview, review plans of old as you can get.

Community, customer support, internal communications, company ethics/values, influencers, social content, events and systemic marketing should all be on the table when you’re deciding how you’re going to achieve your communications objectives. Whether that’s selling games, selling your company, hiring talent, establishing a new IP, getting a publishing deal or funding, each of the aforementioned channels has the potential to have a positive or negative impact on your ability to succeed.

—The highs and lows of modern communications—

Across the industry there are numerous examples of companies and campaigns that are succeeding and failing in navigating the changing communications landscape, and those focused on traditional media outlets alone are missing more than one trick:

- In 2004, when we launched World of Warcraft, Blizzard knew that community was king, and gave it the same level of consideration as traditional media relations. Blizzard’s values drive its decisions, and the player-first approach is as apparent in every piece of external communication today as it was back then. This is exactly why it can implement an entire game system into one of its biggest IPs and take it out again, without a lasting negative impact on the company or brand.

- Tom Francis, a former games journalist turned indie developer, made brilliant use of his personal social media to lead his debut game, Gunpoint, to critical and financial success. By delivering a steady cadence of authentic and informative content, he created a dedicated seed community that drove an audience of fans to purchase:

- Goat Simulator’s use of systemic marketing to create hilarious, shareable video content, coupled with an irreverent social campaign and customer service approach. This was a great example of how a blend of channels, and content creation being integral to production, can lead to significant commercial gain.

- Individuals like the Testology founder who failed to recognise that personal opinions and professional ones are indistinguishable, and that values and beliefs expressed on social media can have far reaching business implications.

- Riot, known for having moved almost entirely away from traditional media relations, demonstrated that doing so was to throw out both baby and bathwater. It has left the company with numerous communications challenges around community toxicity, player safety, company values, and a very public spat with its investors addressed in the community forums.

—Media relations remain critical—

All that said, mainstream and enthusiast media continues to hold a significant position of impact in both addressing the concerns of the gaming masses and leading the conversation in many vital areas — for example, coverage of the reality behind the UK tabloids’ clickbait headlines. If you think that not working with traditional media is an option for any or every game, or if you think that the press relationships you need can be created at the point you need them, then you do so at your peril.

The massive upside is that while communications professionals have to work harder than ever, everyone now has the ability to make an impact on their business through communications. In deciding what mix is best for your objective, you need to think about where your audience is and go there. Focus first on delivering solid customer support and consistent community engagement — they are the heartland of your fan base, and often the most common places for a communications crisis to begin.

Navigating this blended approach can be complex, but the key is to be laser focused on what you want to achieve. Coverage and awareness aren’t communications objectives; selling games and finding more programmers are. Find the decision makers and people with influence in your audience, look at the content they share, and engage with them in a way that fits with their current behaviour.

—In Summary—

Decide what you want, and be very specific. Think about who can help you to achieve it. Get names, go where they are, focus channel by channel. Be real about what you’re actually capable of achieving, and be accountable and realistic about your resources. Most importantly, be ready to pivot from your plans if necessary — be agile.

I for one am happy to see old school PR as a thing of the past, and I hope the industry’s perception of the majority of my communications peers as anything other than talented, creative and savvy individuals navigating some of the most challenging aspects of our industry — often in never-ending crunch — is gone with it.

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