To start, I’ll hit each of the initiatives we have wanted to push over our 12 years and why. We can prioritize or adapt based on:
*what is most valuable from a PR perspective
*where we have the best chance for ROI
1. The NAVGTR Awards (press-based, not peer-based)
As we have grown, I feel our program has the design of the Emmys and the spirit of the Golden Globes. If you look at our categories, they most closely match the Emmys (if you consider the non-televised creative arts Emmys where shows like Game of Thrones win a dozen Emmys before the big night). Because our voters are press, we share the Golden Globes’ tendency to really want to recognize new talent. All of this has been a winning combination in this way: because our award categories are so specialized (i.e. 4 categories for musical scores alone) and also have dedicated categories for new IP, very new or unrecognized talent has often been honored side by side with the big dogs.
One year we had 70 nominations that went to indies, plus several wins! It’s nice for an indie to say they won the same award as a big dog! The design of the program has been great for recognizing talent more comprehensively than anyone else, but brutally tough in terms of achieving a live in-person awards ceremony.
Reliance on trade shows has its own issues, and the cost of attending a trade show or award ceremony is really something that just gets in the way for award winners… and for our budget! I am willing to divorce our awards schedules from trade shows and events, and use them strictly as opportunities for photo-ops with the award, and building buzz.
2. Building Buzz
Besides the fact that various “competitive” awards groups understandably lock us out of DICE, GDC, E3, etc., I would still like to pursue a more complementary angle for our awards and organization. We are close to releasing an android app that allows users to start award buzz with category-specific tweets. Perhaps our trade show presence can be built around buzz for all the video game awards, starting the speculation about what will be nominated for NAVGTR and others, and after nominees are announced, that continues into handicapping races as seen at our PAX panel: http://navgtr.org/nominees/pax-east-debate/
3. Promoting NAVGTR Visibility
I think we have the program and the parts of a plan to serve as fertile ground once we determine the best way to execute. The needs we must prioritize are:
*encouraging more entries into the program (fees), before Thanksgiving for announcement of nominees in January
*more actively promoting past talent, minding headhunter concerns (use very big or very small names); we have 918 photos of past nominees
*gathering “stories” of past nominees and winners
*sustaining trade show/festival presence, tied or not tied to awards schedule, partnering with podcaster/streamer like Twitch.TV or other
*considering promotion of annual and cumulative winner tallies for individuals who have won most awards (effectively similar to a Hall of Fame but grounded in actual award history and tallies; Miyamoto and Houser have equal wins, Miyamoto is most nominated)
*as these efforts increase revenue, go back and ship awards to people who did not get them as they were “too protected” by the corporations or our outreach was not strong enough, and use job recruiter services to encourage developers to search for their names in our database
4. Current Trade Shows/Festivals being considered
PAX South – for exhibiting
E3 – for exhibiting
GDC Next – for networking
Indiecade – for networking
GDC/DICE could be effective if we can get away with a podcaster booth/buzz panel approach where we promote/handicap all awards as a way to promote ours (or the org) by stealth, even if done under separate company (either a company we own or even under a PR firm at E3, as the idea could be a great value add or reduce costs to clients).
If we don’t rule out PAX or E3, we could discuss strategies and ideas for events there.
I am trying to weigh the value of a podcaster/streamer booth, inviting press to use space in front of our nominee wall, giving the coverage a red carpet feel that advances the awards despite the lack of an award ceremony… People loved our booth at PAX East!
http://tinyurl.com/navgtrboothhigh and http://tinyurl.com/navgtrboothwall
5. other initiatives
*a PRN killer
*award bump sales data
*ad campaign gamasutra
*what to include if using kickstarter
Any new board of advisors people who would attract entries we could also feature on the site more prominently, and/or via announcement, if you think that is appropriate.