With a reputation for challenging convention and an appetite for breaking the rules but not the law, Monster Energy Drinks is one of the best known brands operating in what is an ultra competitive market. The brand’s former VP Marketing (EMEA) and founder of consultancy, The Disruptive Influence, John Beasley, one of the key note speakers at the forthcoming EiG (Arena Berlin, 30 October – 1 November) explains why he thinks brands need to be brave enough to 'fail fast and then move on.'
What is going to be the core thrust of your presentation at EiG. How would you summarise the key take outs?
There is a trend I’ve noticed across various clients and companies I’ve worked for and that is when industry ‘experts’ faced with new market entrants claim 'They had absolutely no business doing that…’ Companies with little or no experience in the industry, and subsequently no adherence to the standards, rules and expectations. And yet it was this utter lack of prior knowledge, that enabled them to step forward un-blinkered, to consider all options, to take chances, to fail fast and move on, to play by the law but NOT by the rules.
I think the second take out will be commitment, specifically, how far a brand is willing to commit to go in forging strong long lasting relationships with fans/consumers and in the process, placing them at the heart of the business. Thirdly, I’m going to explore the Metrics for Success. When I first started working, companies were changing from measuring their value in terms of their assets and liabilities and P&L sheet, to also measuring value in terms of their brand. I would now add a third metric - the value of your engaged audience, and how a focus on this can deliver long term business growth.
Monster Energy is a brand that’s succeeded in generating fantastic levels of exposure and profile. How have you achieved that?
Monster has a strong brand that is simple and uncomplicated. Above that it has been fortunate enough to have Red Bull, as the greatest competitor in any industry, that constantly demands more - demands better, stronger deeper relationships with fans, and ensures that only the most genuine, credible, authentic activity and content succeeds, constantly raising the bar in the process. In fact one of the main drivers of category growth in Energy is branded choice – bars and shops sell more energy, when they have all the main active players available, as those brands are all fighting hard, and very actively engaging fans. In gaming there are more competitors, but with the rapid growth and profits experienced by the sector, perhaps there is less of a street fight going on? There are strong gaming brands, but I think there’s room for an authentic, cool, lifestyle led brand with personality.
One of the big challenges in gaming is customer retention, how would you advise a gaming operator to stand out from the crowd and generate some brand loyalty in what is a promiscuous market?
Be audience focussed not exclusively product focussed. Know them, care about them above all, and understand what unique place you can play in their lives, how you can mean something to them, and establish a long-term relationship beyond the quick sale, or the mid-term promotional incentive. That means actually doing something, standing for something, and creating a reason to be part of their conversation.
What proportion of Monster Energy revenues is directed into events and sponsorships?
I can’t talk specifics, but I can say that Monster fundamentally believes in supporting scenes, and invests accordingly, with the largest percentage of budget going into athlete/ambassador/team/event sponsorships from the authentic grassroots activities up to the very highest global level. The next largest percentage is invested in leveraging those sponsorships through digital/social and core media, as well as through trade partners, passing on all the benefits directly to customers and fans. We used to say sponsorship is what we do in January - leverage is every day for the rest of the year, doing everything we can, with every breath we have, to support the scenes we invest in, the customers who back us, and keep giving back to the fans.
How big can eSports be?
eSports has the content, and the fans to grow; but what it needs are some fascinating and driven personalities as well as organisations who understand that progression and innovation are critical to survival and growth. That means always looking to make the experience better, to engage fans across platforms, to enable brands to engage with eSports and connect with fans in new and meaningful ways. How big can eSports be? As big as it’s willing to commit to.
How important are events such as EiG to help share knowledge, enhance professional standards and showcase the gaming industry?
Incredibly important. We can’t keep doing the same thing, and expect different results. Sometimes you need to press the reset button, and try something new, fail fast and move on to success. EiG represents the opportunity, to break the rhythm, step outside the routine, and hopefully get some inspiration. To look at the business and success of others, and maybe think… Wow, they had absolutely no business doing that!
EiG, one of the most anticipated b2b events on the gaming industry calendar, is being held at The Arena Berlin, 30 October – 1 November. The theme for 2017, Generation Hybrid, will focus on key challenges and opportunities facing the I-Gaming industry, including Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and how to engage with Generation Z. For more information and to register: visit: eigexpo.com