Lessons On Being A Good Brand Partner
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Lessons On Being A Good Brand Partner

You’re making a game attached to a popular brand. What does it mean for you to be a good brand partner?


You’re making a game attached to a popular brand. What does it mean for you to be a good brand partner?

Whether you’ve licensed the brand or have been hired by the brand owner to develop a game, there are significant considerations for your team if they’re not experienced in making games tied to brands.

A brand relationship can be like a publisher relationship: Instructions or demands that impact creative decisions may be placed upon your team. Sometimes the decisions don’t make sense within the context of game development.

The brand owner usually has other brand activities outside gaming. Your branded game is a crucial component in the brand ecosystem. Decisions made for your game can have far-reaching impact on other brand activities that are only tangentially related to gaming.

Recognize that the brand owner is the only one that can see where your game fits in the flurry of brand activity. If you acknowledge and appreciate this, then your game will supplement the overall brand efforts. Working with a brand lets you benefit from its consumer reach, leading to more players in your game when fan interests intersect with your domain (in this case, gaming).

It’s not uncommon for interactions with brand owners to develop friction. You may notice notes and revisions being interpreted as personal affronts by your team. Perhaps the brand owner doesn’t seem to understand what your team is trying to do in the game.

This relationship dynamic can impact the quality of your game, which is why it’s important to recognize the early signs and reset before things get worse. No one is happy when the finished game fails to meet either party’s expectations.

The brand owner is not a monolithic entity. You’re interacting with people on the other side. Those people have their own managers and bosses, their own deadlines, and other brand partners to manage. They’re often juggling requests from multiple brand partners while ensuring that public-facing brand content stays cohesive in the fans’ eyes. That’s their job!

At Epic Story Interactive, we frequently remind each other to assume good intentions. It’s common to attribute other people’s actions in a negative light when those actions frustrate, annoy, or anger us. “Assume good intentions” is a mental exercise that lets us step away from our emotions and imagine a different perspective, one that hopefully doesn’t evoke the strong emotions we’re already feeling. Always assume good intentions.

A good brand partner is part of a team that includes the brand owner and all other companies working with the brand. While it’s rare that you will interface directly with the brand owner’s other partners, you must still recognize that you are stronger working towards a common goal: Making that brand dominant by ensuring all brand partners win in their respective domains. The sum of the results will be greater than its parts.