How to build a successful brand: Networking
We've now gone through the initial steps of; Creating, Stabilizing and Growing your brand. You should now be slowly getting recognized in the eSports world and the community you share your focus on. There is no set timeframe of getting to this point, just as long as you get here successfully...
#You're brand is now growing, how can you keep this up?
The next key step for your brand is networking and expanding to new levels, and this is where it's key to have a strong social media presence. In order to become successful, you need to have partners/sponsors investing in your brand in order to create a balanced company. A lot of people venturing into establishing their brand think that you can grow your partner network easily (i.e. overnight), but quickly realize they hit a brick wall.
Creating a successful network between your brand and partners is vital to getting to the next stage. Working with them together to form new partnerships (not only between yourselves, but other partners you have) can prove key to creating a long term, stable relationship.
#The true value in partners
A lot of people don't understand the true value of how to create a strong network for your brand; which is one of the big tips I have given people who have asked me. If it means doing work with companies at first purely for a bit of product in return... Then do it! Build a relationship/friendship and show them that you can be trusted, and can provide them with a commitment.
I have quite frequently seen a brand and sponsor create a partnership that had potential for the long-term, but ended-up being ruined because that brand did the bare minimum for them and gave them nothing in return.
#Key ways to network your partners
Whatever you promise to do for a sponsor, make sure you do more to keep them happy, and try to work with some other companies that they may have already networked with themselves! Cohesion is essential! Finding the right balance in partners is not a quick process, but once you have partners that you can work together with in practically all situations, you will be more successful than ever.
There are methods of bringing some partners together who may not already network together, but their products have the potential to do so. A key example is Fnatic, one of the world's leading organizations and have been very stable for many years now. This is predominately due to their partner network. They have brought two of their core sponsors MSI and Steelseries together to network their products side-by-side. Now all MSI Gaming laptops come with built-in Steelseries keyboards, because of the help Fnatic were able to provide.
Another fundamental example of networking is when Prophecy worked closely with SCUF Gaming to create a Prophecy-branded SCUF controller... Which is now available worldwide! This ties the two brands together to the global community to create a strong image for both companies. This allows the global community to create a perception of the brand/company tied together, in which both benefit hugely.
#Don't expect the world at once
A few final words about networking, as it's a topic that gets overlooked by many... Without any form of brand network you will not survive the long run, and your brand will not appear to be a worthwhile investment. Take as long as you need to grow and market your brand to create a successful network of trusted partners. Some people get lucky and know what they are doing, which allows them to grow and expand a bit faster than normal - just don't expect this to happen overnight, as it can be an endless process in which you have to make your own opportunities.
That wraps-up the fourth episode of Acid's guide to building your own brand. Stay tuned with eSportsNation for the next chapter in Acid's guide. As usual, follow us on Twitter at [eSportsNation](http://twitter.com/eSportsNation) for the latest news and updates.