Soft2Bet’s Uri Poliavich says operators looking to diversify should consider adding extra brands to their portfolio if they want to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.
Thanks to the wave of mergers and acquisitions that have taken place in the igaming industry over recent years, there’s been a significant shift towards multi-brand operations.
Most analysts expect the trend for consolidation to continue or even accelerate, particularly given the problems caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
But even for those operators that aren’t looking to get involved in the industry’s consolidation, there’s a strong rationale for simply growing their own brand portfolio to incorporate multiple brands.
As Uri Poliavich, co-founder and chief business development officer at Soft2Bet, says: “Multi-brand operations are a big trend now and this trend continues to gather pace. If you have only one brand, it can take years to reach your desired numbers. With more brands you can monetise the same traffic more than once.”
He adds that it’s also a good way to keep player interest high. “It’s important to remember that we are a part of the entertainment business and just as watching the same movie five times could be a bit boring, players may tire of a single gaming brand.”
Limitations laid bare
The challenges of single brands have been particularly pronounced during the pandemic, he adds. “This year single-brand sports operators suffered a lot in Q2 because they didn’t have any plan B for providing clients with any other content instead of cancelled sports events.
“Single-brand casino operators also suffered as they didn’t have enough exposure and had to invest even more in order to get some marketing space.”
While some operators may have adapted by adding to the products they offer under their existing brands, Poliavich says adding additional brands as well as new verticals can sometimes produce better results.
This is a strategy Soft2Bet has adopted in its own B2C arm with much success. Prior to expanding into the B2B market, after launching in 2016 the casino and sportsbook group spent its early years developing a number of distinct brands. Today these have grown to number more than 15.
This diversification strategy has allowed the company to tailor its brands so that it is able to meet the demands of different types of players.
“Each of our brands is targeted and customised for different geos, age groups, genders and interests. For example, Wazamba targets Western European markets, Frumzi targets Nordic markets and Rabona is customised for West European and Nordic markets,” explains Poliavich.
The targeted approach
Interestingly, some of its brands have even been set up with payments as the unique selling point. Frumzi, for example, was designed to tap into the Nordic popularity of Pay N Play (in this case Trustly) casinos, where players do not need to register.
Poliavich says this all forms part of what he sees as the need to, “offer something unique to the audience and not just another generic casino or sportsbook template”.
He adds that there are a number of variables operators should consider when contemplating a new brand. “The key elements that you should pay attention to are geos and the respective localisation, payment solutions, anti-fraud and AML tools, responsible gambling and customer support.”
The tailored approach to new markets is something that has also been implemented in the company’s B2B offering. Its most recent B2B launch, Irokobet, came about as a result of a client request for a brand that appealed to both African players and those in New Zealand.
Such a venture requires developing an in-depth understanding of the needs of specific markets, which Poliavich says is best achieved via undertaking a lot of market research and analysis during the early stages of design. The technique of product marketing prior to launch is also a vital part of the process.
Without such a high level of preparation it may prove difficult for operators to make an impact, especially if they are moving into one of the many saturated gaming markets, he adds. “The igaming market is overloaded with decent competitors and the audience is limited.
“The market wants fresh, gamified, unique, modern brands and you need to provide this in order to be competitive.”