Brand New DayNov 13, 2009
Brand New Day
A new-look Aruze Gaming America takes on the world
The marketing of slot products is undergoing a period of significant change. But it’s change that may not be immediately obvious to players or industry commentators unless they happen to be branding professionals.
In effect, it involves a subtle shift away from the Detroit-style branding traditionally associated with older industries such as the automotive sector (where the badging that says ‘Ford’ or ‘Chrysler’ is literally placed front and centre of the product).
Instead, in the gaming equipment supply market, the focus is increasingly on creating brands within the core brand. If that sounds a little abstract, here’s a practical example.
Say you are a casino operator and you know from market research that the majority of the players on your mass slot floor are seeking entertainment rather than hard gambling. If you’re considering a particular manufacturer as a supplier, you want to have a ‘destination’ within that supplier’s product range where you can go not only to seek product with the sort of basic characteristics that would suit your clientele, but also for variation within that basic structure.
That’s where the brand within the brand comes in. Typically, it is identified by a single letter, number or short name and is then split further into sub sections (in the way that the German car manufacturer BMW has been doing for many years with its BMW 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Series, etc).
In the case of Aruze Gaming America (AGA), the magic branding letter is ‘G’. Aruze’s brand within brand sub sections include G-DELUXE™ for premium slot products, G-LINK™ for group gaming products and G-STATIONS™ for the multiplayer games offer.
The potential benefits of this approach are several. First, it helps to rationalise a company’s product catalogue and make it easily understandable to the outside world. Second, it allows an original equipment manufacturer and its existing or potential customers from the casino industry to target products at specific types of player. Third, sub branding allows suppliers to attract new customers and new players on a ‘clean slate’ basis. The target audience need have no preconceptions about how a ‘typical’ product from that company should look and perform. Fourth, it allows makers to form strategic relationships with content developers from outside the company—either on a licensing basis or via merger and acquisition—becoming a sort of publishing house and thereby sharing the benefit of fresh creative ideas and the burden of development costs.
Branding within branding also captures the spirit of the digital media age. More than ever, slot products are not just one ‘thing’. They are often multiple entertainment and sales platforms featuring games within games, a second screen for marketing products or ordering drinks, and a sophisticated top box with high quality animated graphics. These developments in slot content presentation and interactive capacity mirror the kind of developments that have been happening in Web browser platforms and websites on the Internet.
This multilayered approach to marketing has been adopted enthusiastically by Aruze Gaming America. The business was taken private earlier this year as part of a strategic reorganisation by the Japanese parent Aruze Corp, a publicly listed gaming company based in Tokyo, Japan. Although the newly privatised US-based unit retains the name Aruze Gaming America, its remit is global. AGA is responsible for the development and sales of Aruze slots and systems around the world.