Author: Timothée Pineau
In 2014 we can follow the second season of the Pro OC Cup at HWBOT. This new style of overclocking competition is designed for those who receive a fair amount of support from the industry. It is a team-based overclocking competition, where the pro overclockers compete with up to four colleagues (so five in total). The team aspect of the Pro OC Cup is what makes it different from any other league at HWBOT. The team aspect allows you to combine resources to be more competitive, but also implies that there’s a greater good. It’s not just about you, it’s also about the team!
The teams can work out a strategy to address the different stages in each round of the Pro OC Cup. Similar to eSports gaming teams, they can work out their own branding. What logo do we use? What message do we sent to our followers? How do we create a following? These are all questions to be answered by the different Pro OC teams.
In the first season of the Pro OC Cup we saw the big teams having a clear advantage over the rest, but it seems things might have changed in the second season. More overclockers jump up from the Overclockers League to join the Pro OC and may be contending for the top spot this year.
More than just overclocking with friends
Even at the most extreme level of competitive overclocking, for most of us overclocking is still a hobby. For team and joined sessions we look at our friends and organize a meet up with people we talk to mostly. But entering Pro OC isn’t just about overclocking with friends. A Pro OC team’s commitment stretches further than the social aspect, it also requires a certain level of professionalism as the teams are supported by the industry. With support comes responsibility.
On the social spectrum, it is true that a Pro OC team founded within an already existing, larger overclocking community will build a followership more easily. The followership includes people who cheer for your team, but also listen to what the team members have to say. It is the team’s responsibility to grow the fan base and interact with it. It is very important not to cut yourself out of the overclocking community once you reach the level of industry support. Isolation is a big threat!
This brings us to the following item list for teams to consider as part of their team strategy:
- Team Branding
- Team Partners
- Team Activities
- Team Opinion
Let’s review the items one by one and look at examples of how some teams have leveraged their Pro OC status to achieve more.
Just like you and me, a team comes with a name. The name can be randomly chosen, but preferably it would be related to the teams’ origin. For example referring to a local forum or community, to a brand or to a country. So far, we’ve seen a bit of everything:
- KPC Pro OC (Kingpincooling branded team)
- Hardware.info (tech site/community branded team)
- Kronos Pro OC (community branded team)
- Team Germany (country branded team)
- The Overclocking Knights (MSI supported team, without explicit branding)
Branding is about creating a great first impression. The way you make your team come across will attract a certain type of audience. It’s an important aspect of the team, not to be considered lightly. Branding involves a lot of things, much more than we have space for in this editorial, so it’s not possible to give you a manual. But we compiled a quick list of elements that you should consider: team name, team logo, team home (fb page / website with contact details, team info, story etc.), team accounts on social media (facebook page, twitter, blog), team wallpaper (for benchmarks results – featuring sponsor logos), and so on.
By the way, you are right if you think this sounds like basic marketing. It kind of is, actually. But branding is not a dirty word. To those who argue they won’t engage in branding because they overclock only for their own pleasure and hobby: branding is a way for you to express your passion and inspire others to follow your way of thinking. You can brand your team as a collective of passionate, non-commercial overclocking enthusiasts and surely you will find people who want to join that collective!
Building a home for you and your followership is very important. You need to tell the story of your team: the results, the overclockers, and the process. The people who form your followership are interested in finding out more about what you do and how you do it. Leverage that! Having a Facebook page might sound stupid, but it is not. You need to tell your team’s story, or nobody will remember you.
Remember to stay active at your home. Share pictures form your team’s benching sessions, write reports about events you’ve participated at and connect with you fans by giving them something they can interact with and bond over.
In the Pro OC, the best overclockers from around the world compete with the most high-end and extreme hardware. To achieve a top rank and maintain it over the rounds of a season, support is critical. Sponsorship is where business comes into play. This step involves relationships, sponsorship contracts, exposure deals, ROI negotiations and of course an agreement on hardware support.
Not everyone is capable of this, but the most skilled at relationship building and with the right vision for their team will be able to grow the support. Teams should consider more than simple hardware support. Consider international events, local LAN party’s, demonstration in shops, tradeshows, plane tickets, accommodation, LN2 supply for the whole team as possible exposure and partnership opportunities.
For the teams that see things big, a single partner will not be enough. Be creative, think outside the box and most importantly don’t be too greedy. Find the right balance and never promise something you can’t live up to. Remember: saying no is not a crime!
As a team you can do activities to demonstrate your strengths and captivate your followers. Being number one isn’t good enough if the exposure for your partners is limited to a small audience; for them it’s nothing more than a name on a leaderboard. It’s important to highlight your achievements to your follower base and show your partners you are a good resource to cooperate with.
A prime example when it comes to team activities is the Hardware.Info Pro OC team. The team is formed by overclockers from The Netherlands and Belgium and has its foundation on the Dutch tech website hardware.info. Through the website, the team harnesses the industry relationships and there is a clear mutual benefit. In exchange for support, the team regularly hosts overclocking events in computer shops in The Netherlands. The events usually feature a demonstration part, where the overclockers show how they compete in the Pro OC Cup, and a workshop part, where the followership is invited to try out overclocking themselves. In every event the team is promoted directly and the event coverage ensures their partners of exposure not just at the event, but also to the online community afterwards.
Judging by the response of the online community, it looks like the Hardware.info Pro OC team is growing their fan-base and is attracting attention from people who don’t overclock themselves but are interested in following “their” team.
As the team grows, so will its influence. Working with hardware vendors and becoming a respected overclocking organization will indubitably lead to people asking for your thoughts once in a while.
People, fans, overclockers and enthusiasts will look up to you and remember the progress and achievements you’ve made in Pro OC. Your team’s insights on topics such as hardware releases, product features and competitive overclocking will gradually be taken more seriously. You will become a reference. It is important to communicate about your achievements, express your thoughts and feelings on things that happened to you, guide your followership. In short: inspire!
Most team are still quite young and their reach is still fairly minimal (mostly way below the individual influence each member has). Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see these teams evolve over the coming rounds and seasons. We look forward to seeing how they deal with their followership and which of the teams truly have a team vision. Which team will go the extra mile to inspire future overclockers and achieve the most through Pro OC?
So, what are your thoughts on today’s Pro OC professionalism? Let us know in the comments below.