ENCE is the best known and most successful esports organization from Finland. The organization stars include one of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams in the world and world champion Starcraft II-player Joona “Serral” Sotala.
Competitive video gaming, or esports, is booming. Millions of fans watch and cheer for teams or individuals in real time as they compete in games such as the wildly popular Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO). In Finland, esports organization ENCE has built a business around the trend. ENCE trains and fields esports teams and helps other gamers sharpen skills.
Since its founding in 2013, ENCE has relied on branding and partnerships to help it keep pace with the phenomenal growth of the esports industry. The company’s partner network creates synergies with other respected brands to build overall awareness among its target audience. For example, ENCE offers an exclusive microsite through its partnership with Telia, a major Northern European mobile operator, to offer recommended, gamer- friendly electronics.
ENCE added Samsung as a team sponsor and outfitted team players with Samsung devices and wearables. ENCE wanted to explore further opportunities with Samsung that would broaden its new partnership and raise the ENCE profile among gamers.
ENCE and Samsung worked on a plan to use Telia’s channels to sell Samsung phones with special, ENCE-branded content. The partners thought the limited-edition phones backed by two great brands would help cement the partnership and build overall awareness in the gaming world.
“Starting work with an innovative brand such as Samsung is a privilege and a great match for us at ENCE,” the company said in a blog post announcing the partnership.
Hardware-labeling promotions are common in gaming industry. The ENCE-Samsung partnership, on the other hand, delivered a fully branded experience.
And Samsung Knox Configure made it all possible. The easy-to-use Knox Configure web-based portal simplified remote provisioning of a high volume of phones, and enabled complete, software-level customization. Using Knox Configure, ENCE helped design a profile for the limited-edition phones. They removed generic shortcuts to clear the home screen to better showcase the ENCE background. The customized home screen includes only one folder, which hosts an array of ENCE-recommended games and pre-installed content.
From the first boot up, a gamer can log into top games, surf the biggest gaming communities on the gamer-specific chat app Discord, and follow the newest scores and live games. Conveniently for the gamers, the apps include one for food-delivery service – available from another ENCE partner.
We wanted to do more than add our logo to the phone. With the customization capabilities of Knox Configure, we were able to design a phone experience specifically for gamers.
By aligning with the goals of key partners, ENCE was able to heighten awareness and build its brand. All partners benefitted from exposure to ENCE's enthusiastic and growing fan base, and ENCE was able to provide phone users a unique experience.
As a result of its ability to deliver custom, branded content, ENCE has raised its profile and built brand awareness among gamers for partners Samsung and Telia. This was met with enthusiasm by ENCE fans — with gamers cheering the partnership by converting the organization’s EZ4 ENCE meme to the hashtag #EZ4Samsung.
The response to ENCE phones has been positive, says ENCE. In addition, the phones help drive frequent engagement with the ENCE brand as part of everyday use.
ENCE has been able to build fan engagement with minimal effort and investment. ENCE did not need to invest in new IT infrastructure to provision the phones – it was able to implement the customization using existing tools and Knox Configure.
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