Former Pinnacle Marketing Director Aly Lalani is one of the key stakeholders behind the launch of BetRegal.com, a new European facing sportsbetting and gaming brand created to provide its customers with the “best possible value” in prices. In a new regular column, Lalani will share his experiences about the challenges of bringing a new brand to the market.
After several years at Pinnacle, I was ready to make a change. I have a young family now and was very keen to move back to Canada full time. However, I was not ready to leave the iGaming space, where I’ve been for the 13 years. When this opportunity presented itself, it was like a dream come true.
I’ve been very fortunate to be able to work with some really smart people during my years with Pinnacle. Some of that must have rubbed off on me, which has helped give me the confidence in my own knowledge and skillset to take on a challenge like this. It’s no easy task to try and make a successful move into the European betting market; a very competitive geo-segment of a very competitive vertical. But I do think there is room to create a brand whose differentiators address an under-serviced segment of the market.
Okay, that’s a pretty important first step in this process. There is a problem (or rather a lack of a solution) out there in the marketplace, and we are going to address that problem. We are now starting to get a bit more of a vision of our customer. I know it’s early days and that this is just an idea, but getting some clear visibility into who our customer is can’t start soon enough, especially if they are to be the cornerstone of every decision we make. We better have an idea of who they are and what they need.
These customers we are envisioning, where are we going to find them?
How on earth does BetRegal compete with the marketing budgets of the large European books? Quite simply we don’t. We’re going to have to try and be smartly efficient with our marketing spend. We definitely need to have a presence in the key European markets, but do we really anticipate outspending the likes of bet365?
One of the core strengths of our business is our knowledge and risk management of North American sports, dare I say as well if not better than most European bookmakers. We have no desire to be anywhere near the US, and Canada is undergoing its own compliance evolution, however South and Central America are regions where US sports are immensely popular. We could focus on slow and steady brand development and growth in key European markets, and look for more of a big bang marketing push in a much more cost effective South America and LATAM market.
Dare I say we have the beginning of an acquisition strategy?
So why not aim only at South America right away? Like any good bookmaker we should hedge our bets with a two-pronged attack. If we push some marketing dollars initially in South and Central America, we can hopefully leverage some acquisition in a ‘fresh’ territory not ripe with competition. The maturity of the European market is also attractive, as we do have a differentiator in terms of value to the player. I think we can find a niche for ourselves with having better pricing than the larger European bookmakers, although not as aggressive as Pinnacle and SBOBet as we won’t have the volume. Yet.
That settles it. We now have the skeleton of a product that has i) a defined intended customer, ii) a defined target market (in fact 2 target markets with different strategies), and iii) intended core differentiators. We are going to be the brand that appeals to the customer who values aggressive pricing, but not at the expense of traditional marketing incentives (albeit on a lower scale). All the while that customer can expect to be treated to the highest level quality customer service.
Who are we going to be to the customer?
The brand definition process went from discussions in an office, then to a boardroom, then to a bar and then back to the boardroom the next morning where we threw around a few ideas. What did we want to be known for? More importantly, what emotion were we trying to engage when a user first landed on our site? Before we ever started on the actual brand identifiers (name, logo, colors) we discussed what kind of experience we wanted to present to customers and that’s where this royal association came from.
We conducted some market research with some trusted affiliates and players about some of the ideas we had. The shortlist was also partly determined by which URLs were available as well, as we had a couple that we really liked that were just not available.
The BetRegal brand we thought would play well in the European marketplace, but also is short and catchy and lends itself to some creative imagery potential in some of our other markets. A brand that implies the higher end of service, but not exclusive. An aspirational name really. We had some playing around with the royal theme when deciding on the brand name itself.
We do want people to think when they come to BetRegal they will be treated like a king. We’re using a big throne and crown in our branding and the implication is that they are there waiting for our players to make themselves comfortable. We’re not saying we are the king; we’re saying the customer is.
Building on the exclusivity, aspiration and royal connotations of the ‘Regal’ part aspect of the branding, the aim is to be as accommodating as possible, with an overall BetRegal customer support motto of “killing them with kindness”. Let’s hope they receive that message.
Let’s go build a brand!