Claire Sharkey's role sees her managing brand for esports and video content firm Level Up - but what does this actually entail? Here she takes us behind the scenes
What is your job? What does it involve?
I run Brand for Level Up Media and with that look after events, sponsorship, partner relations and community. My primary goals are to present and spread awareness of the brand and the product services as well as seek out opportunities for creating partnerships and strategies mutually beneficial team-ups that also, where possible, serve to support the industry as a whole.
What are your main responsibilities?
I represent the brand and also work on our marketing strategies, which encompasses sponsorship of events, content creators and working with major industry names, be that in the triple-A or indie market. When I first started, one major task I had was to build and maintain our social platforms and blog, as well as creating our newsletters. I had to create the brands voice and ensure daily execution across social media, finding a way to not only promote our unique VOD platform but connecting with an array of gamers and ensuring a message of inclusion was shared.
How did you get your job?
Oddly to many, my background is in engineering and English. Before my current role, I worked in marketing in the e-gaming sector, while continuing to work freelance, where possible in games. I have my own site, called ScaryGranules, which started off as a podcast with a friend. Through that I got to review games and go to events and it helped kickstart my initial industry connections. My role prior to brand manager involved me owning the esport campaigns as at the time, truth be told it was just thrust onto me, as no one within the company understood just how prominent and ever growing it was and had dedicated no marketing push towards it. Ultimately I wanted to a role where I could dedicate more of my time and skills to gaming directly.
What special skills or qualifications did you need?
In my particular role, how you interact with people and gauge scenarios is a pivotal skill. It's important not only for how your company is presented, but for yourself, to ensure that you have honed communication skills. Of course, having knowledge of how to properly execute marketing strategies and being up to date on the general activities of the gaming industry as well as researching the needs of consumers, is also important. Showing that you're determined to do your best and learn, genuinely matters and can be as valuable as several pages of qualifications.
What new skills have you had to learn for this role?
There are some skills and work practises that transfer no matter the company, but some will be specific. For me, the method in which I report is slightly different than with previous roles. I had to increase my multitasking powers, which thankfully were none too shabby to begin with it, but in this role I would be flying to another country to meet clients, while putting together proposals, writing a feature on our latest major esport partners, while updating multiple social media platforms with scheduled content and live posting and getting a cup of tea going at the same time.
Describe a normal day. What do you do?
I usually check my emails about 7am, though I'm constantly checking them to be fair. This helps my inbox to not be too chaotic, come to normal working hours. I try to see what news there is in games and esport, as this is integral to how you decide what, and how, to communicate to partners or your social following. I then prepare for meetings that I have, either online or in person and every week unplanned meetings will more than likely occur. Every day has a reoccurring task-load but every week will have a large variety of plans and opportunities to research and put into practice, simultaneously thinking about the immediate and long-term goals for everything you do.
What are the best and worst parts of your role?
The best parts are how many people you meet and interact with. I've met people from companies that I'm a fan of and I've met people who are teeming with talent and it's great to see their work as it's just exploding (in a good way). I've also been fortunate to make a few wonderful friends. In my role, I've had a lot of jobs under my remit and the sense of accomplishment at being able to execute them all, has been a great feeling. I've also been incredibly fortunate to be able to support great causes like Special Effect and it's not often you get to go to sleep at night feeling happy gooey feelings because of something you did in your job. Unless you bake cakes.
The worst part for me is two-fold. One is you can't sponsor everything that comes your way, most companies can't and there's a lot of great ideas and events out there. The second is that you while the majority of people I've encountered are lovely, you do meet others that are not as socially savvy as they may think they are. It's part of the job, which is an unfortunate truth and when most of your time is dedicated to doing your job, as best you can and hoping to see the gaming industry strive, it can be a bit disheartening to see certain issues still hold ground. But as I said I've met more wonderful people than not.
What tips would you give to someone applying for a similar position?
Remember that you will have to conduct yourself, as if you are a brand. That while you are representing a company, it is important that how you represent yourself doesn't take a secondary position. Keep your eye out for opportunities in unexpected areas, the gaming industry is rife with pockets of talented humans and events that have so much to offer. Take risks, within reason and don't be afraid to inject your personality into what you do, that's what will stand out the most.
This piece is part of our New Year New Job coverage for the start of 2018. If you want to get in touch to share your insight, email [email protected].