Esports Funding Guide – DNA – create your story
You’ll find Nike’s mission statement on their website under the about section. It says, “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” (Source: https://about.nike.com/) Behind that mission statement, Nike has created a story, vision, goals, and core values that all tie into each other in the form of their mission statement.
Having a story to support your esports organization is important. Your story is unique and will separate you from other esports organizations. It will make your organization stand out and it makes it easier for brands, sponsors, players and employees to connect with your organization and understand where you come from and where you want to go. While some think that business deals are all business, I believe that there are emotions involved and you must recognize the power in them.
Build your unique story by answering the questions below and find someone good with words to help you create a compelling, emotional story to which others can easily connect.
Why do you do it?
Describe and know your why. Your why is critical in order to get buy-in from those around you. It demonstrates your motivation and makes it easier for people to get involved with your efforts and contribute with the same kind of passion and interest.
Most start with the what and the how, but I think that’s the wrong approach. You must start by defining your why.
Who are you?
Start by jotting down some notes to describe your organization. Why are you unique? Who is on the leadership team, who is on the management team, what is your story, education, experience, where are you located, etc.?
Why is your organization unique?
Describe why you are unique. Can you do something special, do you work with specific or new audiences, or have you developed special services that others do not offer? Do you have experience or an education that differentiates you? Do you have a special story or new and different skills and qualifications in your organization?
What is your vision?
Will you make a difference worldwide? Do you want to make a difference in the local community? Would you like to create a sense of community for children with challenges at home or at school? Are you interested in building an organization for the masses or rather for an elite group? What do you and your team want?
What are your dreams for the esports organization?
Write down your dreams — your innermost, wildest dreams and desires for the organization. For example:
- Esports becomes as recognized and respected as football.
- Your organization grows to X size.
- Help X number of kids each year.
- Become a world champion.
Think big and be honest with yourself!
What will you achieve and when?
Get more detailed and explain your goals and deadlines for your dreams. What will you achieve, how, when and with whom?
Want to win something? Write down the specific tournament or prize. Should the organization have more members or develop new offers? Find an exact number that you will aim for. What goals do you have as an organization? Make a list of your goals with realistic timelines.
Who contributes and with what?
What has your organization or management team contributed to the project? Time, money, materials, network, staff, volunteers, experience or something else? Who is involved and will contribute to achieve your goals?
Create an overview of your team. Who will be involved in each effort and who will take ownership of what?
What have you done so far?
Write down how you work, how often you meet with the management team and what you have done so far. Are there others around the organization that are also dedicated and invest time and resources in the project? Make sure to celebrate your progress so far even if it is just completing the first few steps to understand your DNA.
Case Study: Apple and their why
In order to better understand why I believe in starting with the why. Take a look at Apple. Apple’s why is at the heart of their marketing and the driving force behind their business. To help illustrate this point, imagine if Apple started backwards and made a marketing message that started with what, their product.
What does Apple do? They make good computers that are user-friendly, beautifully designed and easy to use. Now think about that pitch, would you buy that computer? Probably not. Lots of companies make good computers that are user-friendly and have great design – it’s not unique and it’s not why we buy Apple products.
Apple’s pitch is more like the following, “With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user-friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” (Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/customers/3-takeaways-from-start-with-why)
Apple’s pitch helps the buyer better identify with their feelings and their why – to challenge the status quo and the idea of thinking differently. It may well be that we do not challenge the status quo on a daily basis, it may also be that we do not always think differently, but we are willing to buy more expensive computers and phones that give us that feeling. This allows us to show the outside world that we are progressive and think outside the box, something that Apple represents (even if we don´t). This is key! Most partnerships are based on network, relationships, feelings and intuition.
The same goes for your esports organization. Tell others your why and they will follow you. What is your why? What is your motivation? Winning, hosting events, being an organization, or having 22,000 likes on social media is not interesting alone. You need a great story to back up the numbers. Decisions are largely emotional, not logical. (Source: https://bigthink.com/experts-corner/decisions-are-emotional-not-logical-the-neuroscience-behind-decision-making) So make your story emotional and connect to your audience on a deeper level.
What is interesting is your team, your inner motivation and your ability to get things done. Consider the following:
- As a player, it may be that you want to change the classic stereotype of a gamer with pizza and soft drinks. This is an idea that others can buy into.
- As a team you may want to rethink your esports teams and include more women or promote anti-bullying – something others can buy into.
- As an event organizer, it may be that you will make an effort toward more inclusion and cooperate with organizations that advocate for persons with disabilities.
- As an organization, you may want to promote integration and collaborate with local asylum centers, job centers or even try to differentiate yourself by creating the most amazing moments in sports, ever.
- As an esports club, you may want to create the best players and teams and win masters and championships. You can team up with a strong sports club, utilizing the club’s talent management systems and performance models to gain momentum and create the best results.
When you have found the answers to the questions above, have a clear idea of who you are, what you want, and why you are unique … then what? You know your goals, your inner motivation and your why. This is your story and your DNA that sponsors, fans, players, coaches, funds and grants will want to be a part of and buy into.
Find that friend, or person in your network, who can help you write this into a compelling, emotional story that others can easily connect with. Put this story on your website, in your presentations, on your social media and have fans, partners, players – everyone – connect with it.
Take the HFX Wanderers FC, a team playing in the Canadian Premier League, founded in 2018 (https://hfxwanderersfc.canpl.ca/club-overview). Their club and team are new founded in 2018. Nevertheless, they have a compelling and strong brand, with a great story to tell about the people and heart of Nova Scotia. You don’t need hundreds of years to build a great brand or story, you just need to be creative, honest, and express your why.
Our Harbour, Our Home, Our Soul. Nova Scotians have heart. The evidence is everywhere. You hear it in the laughter, you feel it in the music. And the veins that pump life to every corner of the province originate from the same place; Halifax Harbour. Communities grew on either shore nourished by the beating tide. Despite suffering unimaginable damage, it healed to become the main entry point for new Canadians. It’s where you unloaded your bounty, and then celebrated after. The Harbour is like Nova Scotians themselves…welcoming, even in the worst storm. It’s also evolving. A rich history can sometimes be an anchor holding a city back. Not in today’s Halifax. The wind is right, the sail is up…and there’s something big on the horizon. Young-old, male-female, Nova Scotian-newcomer; they’ll all be invited. And they’ll sing those hearts out. The harbour has inspired the club. The club motto Ar Cala, Ar Dachaigh, Ar n-Anam means: “Our Harbour, Our Home, Our Soul” in Gaelic.
Your job now, is to create the story of your esports organization.