Welcome to another Into Games Twitter Q&A which we host lunchtime every Thursday with industry professionals. Last Thursday we had the amazing opportunity to interview Max Downton, Senior Brand Designer at Splash Damage and a part of our Video Games Ambassadors Program,.
In this interview, Max talks about his journey getting into the industry coming from working in the NHS to now, the culture at Splash Damage, and transitioning from an agency setting to an in house studio.
Coming into the industry, you had a degree in English. Did you always have your sights set on the games industry or was there just a natural transition?
Absolutely not, to both of your questions! It wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I realised there were *other* ways into gaming that weren't art or programming!
I'd always loved games, but had no idea there was a path to it or a place for me!
What’s your favorite aspect of working as a Brand Manager?
Brand Management is such a varied role, and I think for people who enjoy being busy and trying lots of different things, it's perfect!
You get to see and work on games from their inception and concepting phase, all the way through to their launch and beyond!
Having previously worked at a PR Agency, what was the transition like to move in house to
The transition was pretty easy actually! Life in-house is a little slower than agency work, but looking after your own brand is a really nice change of pace.
Whereas in an agency you might work with a client for 3 months, or 6, I've been looking after Splash for over 4 years!
What’s your process for finding a game’s brand voice?
In 280 characters?!
It's important to really *get* the game you're making.
That's why being there from the start is beneficial; you know who you're making it for, you know its strengths, you know the characters and the world.
All of that and more can feed into your process.
Splash Damage always feels like it has an incredible supportive atmosphere. How do you find working there?
Splash is great!
We've done *a lot* of work over the past few years to ensure Splash is as welcoming, inclusive, and supportive as possible. It's not perfect, and there are still things we're learning, and working on -- but I'd rather be here than anywhere else!
What advice do you have for anyone hoping to become a Brand Manager in games?
Maybe I should write a blog on this one...
People who are in social media / pr / community management roles all have the skills to move into it, already. Those three disciplines obviously have ongoing paths, but getting into one of those can be a great way in!
Taya @tayadigital - What exactly is a "brand", and how do you quantify your impact on it?
Starting me off with a tough one Taya...
I think it's *everything* about your company and how it feeds into your image: your assets, your tone + copy, the games you make etc etc
Quantifying impact can be tough, but looking back before I started I'm proud to see a change
Joey @JoeyTwoFour - What would you say are the most important skills a marketer from an alternative industry would need to demonstrate to successfully transition into games marketing?
Most of the skills you already have will be relevant, but it's about demonstrating your love of games and what you're going to bring to the studio you're applying to.
Obviously, as a marketer, demonstrating an understanding of the space will be crucial!
Pauline Martyn Dragon @PirateScarlett - As a Brand Manager, what was the most fun/rewarding project you worked on so far?
I have two (sorry!)
Firstly, working on the tone/brand for @playoutcasters was a load of fun!
But my *real* answer would be the ongoing project of Splash's brand. Making sure we grow it, making sure it's inclusive, making sure it's the best we can make it!
Kat - a human @Popelady - What would you say is the difference between a brand manager and a marketing manager, or PR manager?
I'm going to get this wrong, Kat...
PR is all about press - relationships with journalists / outlets, making sure your studio's narrative is being told consistently throughout the year.
Marketing is execution-based; budgets, targets, cross-promotions, sales.
Jade Nicole @inheritix - Hey! What was your career path prior to being a Brand Manager?
Childcare > Freelance SEO content writer + GAME retail > Operating theatre assistant in the NHS > Moved to London > PR intern > Full-time PR > Content Marketing at Splash > Brand Manager > Senior Brand Manager
What a ride!
Thank you so much again to Max Downton for spending time with us and to the team at Splash Damage for being such a supportive studio! If you want to learn more about Max be sure to follow him on Twitter and if you're an industry professional curious about the Video Games Ambassadors Program, please head to the official website.
Our next Twitter Q&A, we'll be talking with 2 of the minds behind the game Say No! More, Oliver (Producer) and Alexander (Technical Director).