With its new global brand positioning, PokerStars, the online casino platform aspires for growth as it aims to expand as an entertainment platform beyond its core sports betting offer.
PokerStars currently operates in over 40 markets, with the new positioning running initially across key markets such as Germany, France, Spain, UK, and Canada, and Portugal and with this launch comes the multi-channel ‘I’m in’ campaign that aims to promote three products: PokerStars, PokerStars Sports and PokerStars Casino.
The latest 60-second TV advert communicates the company’s responsibility around creating a safe environment for its betting community, while also promoting its tools and features as well. This will be supported by digital, print, out of home, PR and social media activity.
Over the past 18 months, the company has been developing its plan to position itself globally as a leading provider of poker, offering live tournaments and events as it has continued to grow its audience, which spiked to record level in recent months as a result of the Covid-19 enforced lockdowns experienced around the world. Martin Nieri, global director of brand, creative and communications tells The Drum:
“It's a case of what we position ourselves as for the future. How do we bring new people into the category where we are the market leader and how do we grow the category? How do we bring in people that haven't considered playing poker before to grow? When we do our research in multiple markets, that brand stands for many things, but most of all it stands for trust,” he claims.
“We have started to ask the question; 'Could PokerStars do more for you?'” he continues, while explaining the community development strategy that is being put in place to expand the platform’s engagement offering under the new masterbrand.
“Could PokerStars do sports betting? Could PokerStars do casino? Could PokerStars do music festivals? Could PokerStars do entertainment? We’ve got tens of millions of players in our community around the world… so how do we give our audiences this world to join where they can play different games and they can consume content, whatever it might be?”
To supplement its longstanding use of Twitch ,in recent months, PokerStars has upped its game on YouTube to build its audience and engage with new potential gamers there through a collaboration with vloggers KSI and The Sideman who have a combined social media following of over 20 million between them.
“We've always had poker influencers as ambassadors who represent us on Twitch with their massive followings and that will continue but how do we bring on influencers and ambassadors that reflect the brand and reflect the attitude?” asks Nieri who explains that attitude is key in who they work with.
“They might be in a different walk of life. They might not be gamers but they've got this attitude of wanting to challenge themselves and we can ask our audience to watch interesting content about people like them in different fields,” he continues, explaining that the hope is to create a brand that is more ‘urban’ and ‘contemporary.’
As a result of that ambition, another area of brand building that could potentially develop is in the merchandising around PokerStars as well, with the hope that it could become a brand that non-players even wear.
As for the lessons learned as a result of the huge spike in users that PokerStars and most online platforms witnessed during the initial lockdown stages of Covid-19 earlier in the year, Nieri explains that there was a feeling of responsibility to entertain those seeking amusement while forced indoors and how does the business contribute to economic recovery in the process.
“We always had a strategic roadmap, but we’re now thinking about how we provide a respond to changing consumer behavior. We've done some work on what those changes might be in terms of remote working and continued working from home and in terms of travel and we adapt our products to give our customers the tools and the different kind of ways of playing that they want. For example, we will look at video as part of the play experience going forward. So, playing home games should become like a Zoom experience that you're used to. We can kind absolutely develop and contribute to that economic recovery by doing the right thing for our community and making sure they're safe.”