Meet the 30X30: Bad Moon Talent’s Reed Trimble is Leading a New Era in Esports Marketing
Our sixth annual Bay Street Bull 30X30 guide showcases a group of incredible individuals who are redefining the way we do business, championing their communities, and cultivating entirely new industries. From tech and environmental pioneers to cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and media trailblazers, each of this year’s inductees is challenging Canadians to think (and work) differently for a brighter future.
In our series of one-on-one interviews, get to know each honouree a little better: their values, mission, lessons learned, and best advice.
VP, Partnerships, Bad Moon Talent
What is your elevator pitch to the world?
Reed Trimble: With over three billion playing worldwide, gamers will become one of the most culturally relevant industries in the next five years. Gaming has transcended past entertainment as Gen Z and Gen X use it as a primary form of socialization in key developmental years, ultimately affecting their behaviours once they have spending power. While gaming is already a huge industry, there is still time for brands to educate themselves and build strategies around this culture shift, making sure they have a seat on the rocket before it takes off into orbit.
What excites you most about the work that you are doing?
Reed Trimble: The gaming industry changes every month and in order to be successful you have to adapt or die. There are new games, new influencers, new platforms, and new marketing strategies to explore every day. Nothing is more exciting than building something unique and seeing it come to life to change the game. What gets me up in the morning is knowing I can not only make a direct impact on the gaming and influencer marketing industry but on my clients’ livelihoods as well.
Where do you think you have made the most impact in your community?
Reed Trimble: Building best practices for the future of influencer marketing in gaming. The rapid growth of gaming and esports during the pandemic saw a new wave of investors and talent enter the market. Everyone in influencer marketing talks about being “authentic” but I believe it reigns most true in the eyes of a gamer. My impact is felt after every influencer recommendation, campaign concept, and audience reaction. My goal is to guide my clients to a successful experience in gaming so that they return for a second campaign and not end up on the front page of Reddit.
Which kinds of problems are you trying to solve?
Reed Trimble: Education. Decision-makers at many brands are still typically of an older generation and may not understand the value of a Twitch stream or a gaming influencer because they do not understand the platform or the influencer’s brand. The stigma that a gamer is someone who lives in a basement eating chips and drinking soda still exists, whereas in reality, a gamer is also a sports fan, a fitness enthusiast, a world traveler, and so much more. The introduction of the metaverse, Web3, and more make it even more challenging to present the industry in a digestible manner. I take every conversation, whether it is a CEO or a kid trying to break into the industry because the more that people understand the ecosystem, the healthier it will be in the long run
What are some misconceptions about esports that you are working to dispel?
Reed Trimble: The biggest misconception is that esports equals gaming and gaming equals esports. Esports is a very, very small segment of an industry that is bigger than the movie and music industries combined. People think that marketing strategies in esports can work in gaming which is not the case because the audiences are different. Someone watching a streamer like Ninja is different than someone who watches a Pro Fortnite or Call of Duty stream—one is based around entertainment, the other around competition.
Esports players are elites who train, compete, and live and breathe competition, whereas the biggest names in gaming (Ninja, Pokimane, Sykunno) are influencer-first, content-first, and have the sole purpose of creating entertainment for their audiences. The more brands that understand this, the smarter they will be when choosing a strategy to follow.
How do you think businesses can harness the talent and potential of the esports community as they plan for the future?
Reed Trimble: The gaming and esports communities are fiercely loyal. According to studies done by Tubular Labs, gaming influencers have the most loyal audiences out of any industry. Fans will go through hell and high water in order to emulate and even support their favorite streamer or team. In a partnership with a cooking brand this year, we had a community member purchase over 200 dollars of product just because they knew it would be supporting the streamer, not because they liked the product. If a business can create an authentic partnership in gaming they will see amazing success in connecting with that partner’s audience.
What are businesses getting wrong in how they view and approach esports marketing currently?
Reed Trimble: In esports, businesses can fall into the trap of “because it works in traditional sports, it will work in esports.” The easiest to point to is the logo slap on a jersey, which in the past has been used to drive brand awareness. Because esports is a predominately digital asset (most games are viewed on platforms like Twitch and YouTube), businesses need to take a more analytical approach and ask how many people are going to see that logo for the price they are going to pay. For example, if I am Tim Hortons and I want to expose my brand to the esports audience, I can sponsor the Toronto Ultra with a logo or sponsor three to five tournaments, collegiate circuit, or even work with former pro players who are now content creators for half the price and drive double the eyeballs.
In influencer marketing, the biggest issue we face is creative liberty for the influencer. Our most successful campaigns have been the ones where the creator is allowed to create. Brands need to do a better job of formulating briefs that nail down important talking points without giving up creative control. The influencer knows their audience best, let them be the onramp for the brand
What are you doing that no one else is doing? Or, how are you doing it better than others?
Reed Trimble: What separates us from other agencies is our ability to identify and capitalize on trends within the gaming and esports market. At our core, we represent talent but have been able to expand our business into consulting, metaverse experience, and media.
TikTok has been a cornerstone of our agency and was something we identified as a major growth area in gaming and esports two years ago. Being one of the only agencies to recognize this new wave of gaming creators has led BMT to have the largest network of TikTok influencers in gaming in North America. This gives us a competitive advantage as more brands and companies look to tap TikTok influencers to target Gen Z
From a client perspective, BMT’s approach is to treat clients like family. We are very selective of who we bring onto our roster which has kept us from losing a client since the start of the agency. So much about influencer management is about making money, but what makes BMT unique is our ability to work with each client in a customized fashion to achieve their goals. Something we do before ever signing a client is a three-month trial period. This allows both agency and influencer to understand the working relationship and feel comfortable before signing anything long-term. I hear too many stories of talent signing to agencies only to find out it’s not a good fit two months into the contract. I hope more agencies can take this approach to talent.
What is the most rewarding part of building your business?
Reed Trimble: One, the work we are doing now is going to set up the future of influencer marketing in gaming and esports. Not only is the “gaming influencer” barely three to four years old, but platforms like Twitch and TikTok are only just starting to be utilized by brands and businesses as marketing tools. It reminds me of the early days of influencer marketing on Instagram and how things like Fyre Fest (for better or worse) transformed the industry. It is really fun to see some of the campaigns BMT and our clients have been a part of beginning to get replicated by others looking to find success in the industry.
Two, recognition. Nothing feels better than the reaction of a client who gets to partner with their dream brand, or a brand client whose campaign was a success because of the work you did.
What have you learned about yourself as you’ve helped build Bad Moon Talent, as well as a growing industry in Canada?
Reed Trimble: I’ve learned that I love change. Change means every day presents new opportunities to build, impact and educate all parts of my job enjoy most. After over two years at BMT it’s been so rewarding to look back and see how far our agency has come. A lot of that is because of strategies I helped create and implement. Not only that but being able to give back to the next generation of kids looking to find a career in gaming (through my work at Seneca and beyond) has shown me the dramatic increase in popularity of jobs in esports. This makes me confident the Canadian gaming market is set to take off in the next few years, something I plan to be a major contributor to!