MyRepublic has clearly won over the hearts of gamers here in Singapore and was shortlisted as a finalist in the Best engagement strategy - specific audience in MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020.
As one of the first internet service provider in Singapore to launch a gaming optimised broadband network (MyRepublic GAMER), gaming has always been part of MyRepublic’s DNA. MyRepublic established itself as a pioneer in Singapore’s gaming scene through a series of gaming events, influencer sponsorships, and internet sponsorships at local gaming events and tournaments.
As the enabler to bridge the gap between grassroot/rookie gamers and professional esports players with a platform and community to provide aspiring gamers with opportunities to test their skills, and meet like-minded individuals, the GAMER Arena became the first esports tournament of its kind in Singapore. Being hailed as a “rookie league” that provides a platform and community for all levels of gamers and wider gaming communities to meet, and showcase their skills to professional teams or brands who might be recruiting.
We speak to Lawrence Chan, managing director of MyRepublic Singapore on the brand's plans in 2021 and beyond.
What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?
Chan: As with all service providers, they expect the world! But that’s no surprise given the standards we’ve set for ourselves these past few years among gamers.
In January 2020, we ran the first GAMER Arena regional tournament in both online and offline, and the finals took place at GameStart Asia 2019.
All this was done to strengthen our brand name among gamers and to reinforce the fact that we have the strongest gaming broadband product in the market. Gamers choose us because we understand them, we play the same games, consume the same content, and face the same challenges as they do.
Regional and international tournaments allow us to showcase the reliability and stability of connectivity for gaming beyond just within our borders, highlighting to our players and their audience what a good gaming experience can be like, especially where uninterrupted, low latency competitive gaming is a concern.
This, coupled with the fact that we have been providing a consistent support for the gaming community since our very first year where we ran a modest Diablo III tournament makes me believe that MyRepublic and MyRepublic GAMER have become synonymous brand names associated with gaming broadband.
I think the consensus is that we need to go bigger the next time around to cater to a larger group of gamers or even provide more titles in our tournaments. However as we all know, this may not very well be possible with the current pandemic, and we are constantly looking into ways to work around this.
How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?
Chan: Honestly speaking, it’s been turned on its head, which is not at all a bad thing. It has been quite an enlightening process for us as a service provider - one might even add - an essential service provider. As more people were staying home (and still are), there was a significant shift to online advertising and virtual events especially during the circuit breaker.
Interestingly, we also saw a rise of new, casual gamers as well as gamers who had since quit and returned during the pandemic. This insight led us to shift our focus to developing more gaming content for our audiences beyond just tactical marketing. This included streaming content campaigns like Play with MyRepublic, The Cast of MyRepublic and Achievement Unlocked which were mainly gaming focused, and Live with MyRepublic which we engaged home-grown singers to stream performances on our channel during the circuit breaker.
We were well rewarded for this where engagement on our social channels were at an all time high, brand surveys and service reviews were giving us good ratings, and we continued to meet our business projections. While Singapore has been a profitable market for a very long time, we were also able to announce that we were a profitable business for the first time across all our markets.
What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?
Chan: One of the aspects we’ve been aware of, as I’m sure many other employers are, is that our workforce can function and has been functioning just as efficiently or if not more efficiently, telecommuting and working from home. This has brought up the question of reallocating office space and resources as an avenue to remain lean and mean where required.
The way we work has changed fundamentality and many of us are moving from a time-oriented work focus to a task oriented one. Online collaboration and task tracking tools are going to be essential for this, as you want everyone working remotely to be able to delineate their own work/life boundaries. As such, post pandemic, MyRepublic Singapore will be moving to a hybrid working model where our employees will be working from home for the majority of the time with hot desks available for employees to come in once or twice a week.
What do you think makes for great marketing these days?
Chan: I think the fundamentals of great marketing have not changed because at its very core it's about delivering effective communication of ideas. The best way to make this happen is to understand your audience - to have conversations with them. With the tools available to us now, marketers are moving away from wide, all encompassing, single direction communications and moving towards segmented, micro-segmented and even marketing to the individual.
As a consumer, we want to know we’re special and we want to know that marketers understand us and our needs. A great example of this is how we market our GAMER products. We don’t just tell you what we offer, we tell you how our GAMER broadband can let you top the leaderboards on Call of Duty or ensure you won’t drop off your favourite game of Among Us livestream, all while putting a local spin on things.
I think that’s the best way to affect and improve what Google terms as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). The customer’s positive experience with us, be it through first hand knowledge, through our service, or from our highly segmented communications, often leads to positive sharing and recommendations within their communities and segments.
With the technology available to us today, marketing - especially segment-focused content marketing, is very much about creating content in quantities of a certain standard in order to be able to reach all our micro-segments effectively. Companies who do not take advantage of these tools are going to find it very hard.
How are you planning for 2021?
Chan: Granted that the pandemic has meant that a lot of events have either had to be cancelled, we’ve seen an increase in interest for tournaments and gaming related events in the online arena.
As of now, we’ve reverted to hosting smaller initiatives like livestreaming - Live by MyRepublic which we ran in conjunction with music artistes who were finding it hard to earn during the circuit breaker. This year we also ran a number of smaller content-related initiatives like Play with MyRepublic, The Cast of MyRepublic and Achievement Unlocked, which we may revisit soon as they were well received.
We are also interested in delving deeper and looking at even smaller gaming communities. There’s no reason why we wouldn’t be able to host a Chua Chu Kang or Pasir Ris tournament. Our strength has always been in the micro and grassroots communities where brand and product education can then be conducted at a more personal level.
What is likely to happen, is that the team may come up with something entirely new that incorporates the need for engaging content, the enthusiasm of our target segments, and further out of the box thinking. Keep an eye out for us.