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Ico Partners' Fanny Moreaux on what makes creative partnerships key to an authentic campaign

It's not just twitch streamers and influencers that developers should be focusing on says ICO Partners' communications manager
Ico Partners' Fanny Moreaux on what makes creative partnerships key to an authentic campaign
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A particularly interesting talk at Develop: Brighton on its first day was from communications manager at Ico Partners, Fanny Moreaux, who discussed creative partnerships and their advantages for developers.

The Brighton-based self-publishing agency was present at the Develop: Brighton 2023 conference, fittingly enough. And Moreaux discussed the advantage of creative partnerships beyond the accepted realm of streamers and influencers. Instead she pointed to a segment of creatives often overlooked, that being cosplayers, artists and other creatives.

The advantage of art

Although it may not be the first thing you think of when you consider creative partnerships, Moreaux indicates there are a number of key potential partnerships that should be considered. That being: Cosplayers, artists and other creatives (musicians etc.) but is your campaign suitable for creative partnerships? Well, Moreaux says, "TL;DR in our opinion, yes."

She indicates how creative partnerships can be suitable for developers of all sizes and budgets, depending on who they choose to work with.

But is your campaign suitable for creative partnerships? Well, Moreaux says, "TL;DR in our opinion, yes."

So how do you choose who you work with? Well, the easy way is to look for creatives that are interested in the same thing you are. Moreaux offers an example of work that had been done between Magic: The Gathering - published by Wizards of the Coast who've also been making big moves in mobile - and their partnership with musicians Brokenbrow to produce a song based on their expansion Kalhdheim. The aim here was to appeal to those into vikings and heavy metal music, who would then naturally be intrigued by the nordic-inspired card expansion.

Moreaux advises developers to look into a variety of artists, not to discount those who deal in more mature subject matter - and in-fact saying working with them can be an advantage if your game deals in more mature subject matter itself. She also advises clear communication, understanding the brief (what's allowed and what definitely isn't), paying creatives fairly with a clear contract, and most importantly; communicating timings.

Creative partnerships offer a huge range of advantages, including but not limited to the ability to create an authentic campaign that connects with audiences, leveraging a creative's existing audience and their reach, the production of "free assets" - social media assets in this case, such as videos showing the progress of art and cosplays or a creative's thoughts - that make easy fodder for social media sharing.

In terms of case studies, Moreaux points to one of theirs, Tunic and the social media campaign they undertook with three key creatives. Published props academy - who specialised in creating props from games, Cheesecake Panda Cosplay and Kappy Cosplay. With a budget of only $5,000 USD, the campaign generated  over 40,00 impressions over two weeks, focused on a broad audience of players interested in adventure games.

If we look closer to mobile we can already see the crowd-sourcing of creative partnerships. The addition of user content tools such as Subway Studio being added to Subway Surfers by Sybo - one of our top 50 mobile game makers of 2022 - encourages the same kind of social media interaction and sharing that creative partnerships can offer. However, as Moreaux tells it, the value creative partnerships offer is authentic connection with an existing audience, and plenty of content to be shared across social media channels that further exemplify the unique nature of the partnership.