Square in the Air Q&A

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GamCrowd Is delighted that Square in the Air (SITA), the premier PR agency working within the gambling space, has joined our partnership programme. We caught up with Ollie Drew from SITA to discuss what the company hopes to gain from the partnership and about what excites the firm about working with companies at the cutting edge of gambling.

GamCrowd: Why have you got involved with GamCrowd? What do you think you can get from the partnership?
Ollie Drew: The gambling industry is a hotbed of talent, innovation and creativity. By partnering with GamCrowd we are able to support and collaborate with the people and companies driving it forward. We have worked with Chris North and the team for a number of years and are firmly behind what GamCrowd is trying to achieve. Hopefully, along with the other firms in the programme, we can provide expertise in areas that might not always be readily available to start-ups.  

GamCrowd: SITA must see a lot of start-ups in the gambling sector - what do you think of the companies you have seen recently?
Ollie Drew: In the 10 years since Square in the Air was established, the gambling sector has developed hugely. A wide range of startups have been fundamental to this process and we have worked with a number of them from the beginning. The quality and variety of startups in this space only seems to have improved during that time and we are now seeing meaningful disruption across all verticals and at every level of the supplier cycle. Against the backdrop of significant M&A activity at the top of the industry, it is reassuring to see that there are plenty of people out there challenging conventions and advancing the overall offering with new ideas and inventions.

GamCrowd: What do you think the mistakes are that start-ups make with regard to PR and marketing generally?
Ollie Drew: PR and marketing is an inherent challenge for startups. On one hand, they are unlikely to have available resource – be that finance, personnel or time – to embark on eye-catching campaigns. Yet, having a marketing strategy is essential to getting a product noticed and securing investment, as well as its future success. Given the intensely competitive gaming landscape, no matter how creative an idea, they can live or die by how they are marketed. Startups have to be imaginative to generate awareness. Knowing how, and when, to promote your product or idea is a tricky balance to achieve. Go before it, or the market, is ready and it could soon fizzle out, wait too long and your technology or concept could be overtaken. You need to truly understand the marketplace. You only get one launch.

GamCrowd: From SITA's point of view, what do you think are the necessary ingredients for a successful start-up in this space?
Ollie Drew: The first question has to be, how will our product stand out, what makes it different? Does it improve on the existing market offering, or does it bring something completely new to the table? Then, how do you communicate this? However original your concept, it needs to be presented clearly and correctly to the people that matter, whether that’s investors, operators or consumers. Entrepreneurs need to be tenacious and driven, while remaining open to the input of others. That can be solicited advice, or simply observing what others are doing. Go to events like Start-Up Launchpad or Pitch ICE – see what other companies are doing well, learn from them, and share experiences. The GamCrowd Studio offers a great platform to absorb knowledge and find experts that have been involved in this industry for a long time, and who can help develop areas of your business. Beyond that, in order for the company to mature, it needs a clear identity, culture and set of aims to attract the best talent and keep on growing.

GamCrowd: What area of gaming and gambling excite the people SITA?
Ollie Drew: There is not a single area. The sector itself continues to stimulate us. As an agency that specialises in gambling, along with sport and finance, the breadth of innovation and product development allows us to partner with an incredibly diverse portfolio of suppliers and operators. Nothing excites us more than working with new individuals and businesses determined to shake up the industry.