Bodog: A Case Study in Branding
If you were looking to write a case study on success in the online gaming business, Bodog would be a pretty obvious first choice. Bodog’s founder Calving Ayre has been in the iGaming business since before most people even had access to the Internet. The rest of the story is igaming history.
Under Ayre’s guidance, Bodog has grown into one of the most recognized gaming brands on the planet. But what is that special something that’s given Bodog the edge over dozens, if not hundreds, of other companies over the past two decades? And what lessons can affiliates learn from the Bodog success story?
Build A Brand
Ask your non-gaming friends to name a single sports betting site and, if they can name any at all, it will probably be Bodog. Ayre has established the Bodog through a series of sponsorship and licensing deals that cover everything from MMA fights to coffee.
Today, Ayre is a Hugh Hefner style figure who surrounds himself with beautiful women and fast cars. He also cuts a dashing figure as a man living one step ahead of the law. The Bodog lifestyle not only keeps his lawyers and accounts busy, and it also makes a great marketing tool.
Of course not every affiliate can live the billionaire lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from Bodog style branding. There’s a consistent theme in everything Ayre touches and it all centers around his core gaming business.
Affiliates with multiple sites should try keeping a consistent look and feel across all their properties. Whether it’s a color scheme, a logo, or even a mascot, your customers notice. Over time, they’ll come to associate your brand with the high quality gaming and content you, presumably, provide.
Bodog isn’t so much of a visionary company, so much as company that moves when it needs to move. Back in the late 1990′s, Ayre built up Bodog by providing innovations that old guard bookmakers simply wouldn’t provide. By catering to low limit bettors and paying them off online, Bodog grabbed a huge chunk of a booming market.
There’s really nothing revolutionary about any of that. In fact, Jay Sarno built Circus Circus into a hugely profitable business on that same model in the 1950′s. Sarno, and Ayre, took the initiative to innovate, and make a lot of money, when others were happy to simply sit back and make a moderate amount of money.
Ayre took the initiative again when he moved his gaming operations off of Bodog.com and based them on Bodog.eu. Gaming sites that operate on .com domains are subject to seizure by the Department of Justice, .eu sites are not. That’s a pretty smart move when the DOJ has you permanently in their sites.
The takeaway here for smaller igaming sites and affiliate partners is that there’s nothing wrong with trying something new and different. It may be something as simple as adding a bingo site to your existing portfolio, or even something as radical as offering a rebate on losses. Ayre took steps his competitors wouldn’t and made a billion dollars while doing so.
Bodog has a good reputation in the gaming world because they provide their customers with fair, fun gaming and betting. Again, there’s really nothing complicated about it. How do you measure their success in this field? Try Googling the terms “Bodog” +”Rogue Casino” and see how many results get returned.
Gaming sites of any size have no reason to do anything but treat their players well. After all, house edge takes care of the profits, so why bother nickel and diming your players? Bodog’s never bothered with this and it’s paid off big.
The Bodog Way
Bodog is a huge company that’s managed move nimbly through the ever changing gaming landscape. Their success is no accident and it’s definitely repeatable, maybe not on as big a scale, but repeatable none the less
Affiliates who build a recognizable brand; provide value to their customers; and aren’t afraid of innovation will come out on top just like Bodog.