FaZe Clan have won the award for Best Social Media team at the Tempest Esports Business Awards.
One thing that teams really struggle to do to this day in esports is authentically engaging with their fans. But according to Matt "BK" Augustin who accepted the award for FaZe Clan, that's core to FaZe's identity, whether they are talking about their content creators, esports superstars, or just memeing it up about a roster move.
We had a chance to chat with BK about his experience with FaZe Clan, their social media strategy, and more at the Tempest Awards in the wake of the award.
Dustin Steiner, Americas Editor, Esports.gg: Can you tell me a little bit about FaZe Clan's strategy and the brand identity of FaZe?
Matt "BK" Augustin, FaZe Clan: I think the biggest thing there is remaining Authentic. Since I came into the game and came to work for FaZe, the biggest thing that we really do if we're going to work with someone, regardless of who the brand is, it needs to feel authentically FaZe. So whatever we do goes through the lens that our fans will see. That way they don't feel that we're just shoving advertising in their face. Rather something that's going to entertain them, that will evoke some sort of emotion whether it be sadness, happiness, anger, something is going to be brought out in them that will feel authentic to who FaZe is, rather than just putting out commercial content just to put out commercial content.
What sets FaZe Clan apart?
Steiner: With FaZe, it's not necessarily a traditional esports brand, it's very different. I've sometimes described it as gaming meets a fraternity. What would you say to people who don't understand or maybe "that's just bro culture." What would you say to them, and what sets Faze apart and makes sure people feel included?
BK: Number one, I'll say that I understand why that's the perception. When you look at the outside looking in, it can seem like it's a very specific type of way. That said, once you get inside those walls of FaZe, you just see how diverse it is. I'm saying this as a young black man myself, I did not know how diverse FaZe was until I started working for FaZe. So what I would say to anyone who is a little bit cautious about getting into the brand, or felt it was bro culture or just a frat, you are right - we don't just do esports.
We do everything from merch, to content creation, to streaming, esports is looped into there, and there's so much more on the horizon. We are growing into that media powerful, however, there is that history where people can group us like that because we're in the gaming world, that's not who we really are. I would say take a chance, really get to know the roster, get to know the people that do make up FaZe because there are some amazing people that make up this roster. They may not always be on camera to bring them more to the forefront so people can see that. Really, I want people to view FaZe as the organization that is bringing gaming to mainstream culture, the same way that you saw hip-hop infuse with sports, that's what I think FaZe is doing to music and the general world.
Authenticity is key for FaZe's social media strategy victory at Tempest Awards
Steiner: With esports in general, something that brands really struggle with is building personalities around esports players. These players in many cases are drafted more for their skills than their on-camera personalities. How does FaZe work with their esports stars to build a brand around them, rather than just saying 'hey, they're really good, follow them?"
BK: I love that, and that ties back into the award, the social content team of the year. The thing I love about FaZe is that it's FaZe first, and everything second. And I don't mean that in a toxic way, the brand of FaZe, and voice of FaZe - you look at our social team and they truly understand our audience, and in my opinion better than a lot of other people understand our audience, regardless of schooling, regardless of their research into Gen Z or whoever it is. Our social team really has their finger on the pulse of that culture.
To bring it back to the question, it's not necessarily about that individual talent - it is, but they ladder up to the larger story. Whether you're an esports player, content creator, streamer - there's a place for us to figure out where we slot you into these deals. Not necessarily as a product, and I think that's a problem that folks coming in from the corporate world view this talent as a product.
So they'll look at these esports players as a brand opportunity, looking for brands that want to get involved and asking how they slot in whatever name they have to solve the deliverable and check that box. It's not like that for me at Faze. For us, it's about telling the best story of Faze through the lens of different people. Esports players happen to be one lens of that. It's about making sure we find the most authentic story specific to that talent, specific to that team in that game, and telling that story through FaZe Clan.
Steiner: What would you like to say in closing to the FaZe fans out there?
BK: I appreciate this award. I've been here since January of 2021 and this is literally the best job I've ever had in my life.
Be sure to check out the rest of the winners from the Tempest Esports Business Awards, and keep it locked here to Esports.gg for all your esports and gaming news needs.