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传统公关没落,新时代游戏营销沟通将何去何从

发布于:2019-07-18 12:31来源:一夜红传媒 作者:佳文 点击:

传统公关没落,新时代游戏营销沟通将何去何从

原作者:Cat Channon 译者:Vivian Xue

上周我在“Reboot Development”开发者大会上做了一个演讲,我觉得它回答了一个问题:传统公关死了吗?答案是:当然,早就死了。死了、埋了,就像是一个借酒浇愁的人在还没来得及买单之前就倒下,腐坏的肝脏已经被蠕虫啃得渣都不剩,神仙都救不回来。

然而,现场观众和大会结束以来我收到的回应表明,一些人对传统公关的地位仍然抱有疑惑——更重要的是,如果传统公关时代结束了,接下来怎么办呢?

首先我要说明,我对“传统公关”的定义是,游戏媒体和游戏公司之间不恰当的合作关系;这种公关靠花钱摆脱麻烦、扭转社论、塞钱强迫媒体帮他们打广告。这种公关思维依然将登上印刷物封面放在首要位置,一旦遇到内容泄密问题就开始追究责任,而不是将它视为一个收集数据或预估消费者兴趣的机会,仍然将获得IGN独家报道视为营销重点目标。

这些公关手段存在于一个没有数据、关键绩效指标和投资回报率的世界,被称作“暗黑艺术”。

—不断变化的媒体市场—

由于传统媒体地位的动摇,旧式公关开始消亡。如今任何能上网的人都可能成为水军。广告收入依赖于搜索量,导致大部分媒体文章都按照赚钱的套路编写而成,缺乏深度的内容(看过《堡垒之夜》的头条文章吗……?)我们见证了“Doritogate”事件。越来越多的媒体影响着人们的消费行为。影响者们(influencers)不会轻易为利益所动摇,Metacritic的出现使文字评论变得不那么重要,一切靠分数说话。

Candy Crush Soda Saga(from pocketgamer.biz)

Candy Crush Soda Saga(from pocketgamer.biz)

游戏邦注:

-Doritogate:引起游戏圈争议的事件,TGA游戏盛典主持人Geoff Keighley的直播视频中出现了由Dorito薯片赞助的《光环4》站立广告牌,人们认为他收钱为游戏做宣传。

-Metacritic:Metacritic电子游戏评分是电玩界最受玩家信赖的分数,甚至足以影响一款游戏的销售成绩。

在这个充满活力和多样性的市场中,消费者声音比任何时候都强大。它不仅能影响媒体的议题,还能影响国家对行业的政策——从战利品宝箱和游戏成瘾的争论中可见一斑。

—公关已死,沟通永存—

那么接下来怎么办呢?答案是打造忠于目标、灵活多变的沟通组合策略。它远非你所能想到的那些千篇一律的线性新闻报道,预览和回顾过去的计划。

当你思考如何实现沟通目标时,玩家社区、用户支持、内部沟通、公司道德/价值观、影响者、社交平台、活动和系统营销都应该被考虑在内。无论你的目标是营销游戏、宣传公司、招聘人才、打造新IP、与发行商取得合作还是获得投资,上述任何一个因素都可能影响你的成败。

—沟通策略的成败案例—

在变化多端的营销环境下,业内出现了许多成功的沟通案例,也有许多失败案例,而那些仅仅把目光放在传统营销上的公司错失了许多机会。

1. 2004年,《魔兽世界》发行时,暴雪就深知玩家社区是重中之重,并把它和传统媒体营销放在了同等位置上。暴雪的价值观引领他们的决策,多年来“玩家至上”一如既往地体现在他们的对外沟通上。正因如此,当他们将一个游戏系统加入到最大的IP中再把它去掉后,并没有对公司或品牌产生持久的负面影响。(指《暗黑破坏神3》关闭拍卖行功能,游戏邦注。)

2. 汤姆·弗兰西斯(Tom Francis)曾经是游戏记者,后改行制作独立游戏。他完美地运用自己的社交媒体影响力为他的处女作《Gunpoint》做宣传,使游戏获得了好评和商业成功。这一切都归功于他长年来客观公正的报道,使他积累了一批忠实的粉丝,最终将流量转化为购买力。

3. 《山羊模拟器》运用系统化营销,打造滑稽搞笑、可分享的视频内容,配合它们反传统的社交媒体营销和用户服务支持。这是一个通过多渠道进行内容营销大获成功的例子。

4. 个人观点与其所在企业的形象密不可分,并且会对公司业务产生深远影响,可Testology创立者却不明白这个道理。(Testology创立者在伦敦袭击事件后发表了反穆斯林言论,有违其公司追崇平等、多样化的价值观,游戏邦注)

5. 众所周知,Riot Games几乎完全脱离传统媒体,但这种做法也使他们失去了庇护,使该公司面临众多围绕社区毒性、玩家安全、公司价值观的沟通难题,之前还陷入了一场社区口水战(指2016年,以《英雄联盟》赛前发布重大更新为导火索引发的Riot和电竞战队之间的争执,游戏邦注)。

—传统媒体仍然值得重视—

以上事例说明,主流媒体和游戏爱好者论坛在解决大众关切问题和引领重大问题探讨上仍然占据重要地位——举个例子,了解一下之前英国《镜报》上关于《堡垒之夜》的头条报道背后的动机(文章标题是《堡垒之夜使我成为了一个有自杀倾向的瘾君子》,游戏邦注)。如果你认为和传统媒体合作对游戏来说不是必要的,或者你认为等到需要时再与传统媒体建立关系也不迟,你就将自己置于了一个危险的境地。

往好的方面看,尽管营销沟通人士的工作更为艰辛,,但如今每个人都能通过沟通对他们的业务产生影响。在考虑使用什么沟通组合策略时,你需要思考玩家在哪里,然后有针对性地采取措施。首先把重点放在用户服务和社区互动上——它们是粉丝活动的核心地带,也是沟通危机经常爆发的地方。

正确运用沟通组合策略不容易,但关键在于忠于目标。你的目标不是获得报道和知名度,而是销售游戏和寻找开发人才。找到玩家中有影响力的决策者,关注他们分享的内容,以适当的方式与他们接触互动。

—总结—

思考你想实现的具体目标、谁能帮你实现它,去寻找他们。秉持实事求是和负责的态度,认清你真正能实现的目标和你拥有的资源。最重要的是,必要时改变你的计划——保持灵活。

我个人很高兴看到老派公关已经成为过去,我也希望业界对我的大多数同行的刻板印象——一群在永无止境的危机中发挥才华、创造力和聪明才智的人——能够随之消失。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信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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