Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Harnessing the power of Discord: brand strategies and best-in-class examples

By Vanessa Zachariadi, Media Planner, the7stars’ Entertainment, Culture & Youth Team

Discord is the go-to platform for millions of users around the world, seeking to engage, collaborate, and stay connected with their favourite interests, communities, and brands. Once the domain of gamers, Discord has evolved to become a place for people from all backgrounds to come together and discuss a broad range of interests and hobbies.

The app encourages users to create and join servers related to their interests and is particularly appealing to younger users, who value the ability to share their passions. With over 150 million monthly users, Discord offers a unique and powerful opportunity for brands to interact with audiences and to create a culture of super fans, encouraging meaningful conversations and long-term engagement.

Top 5 Brand Strategies for Discord:

One of Discord’s strongest attributes is that it is entirely ad-free. Because of this, Discord has become a powerful tool for marketers looking to interact with their target audience through unique and engaging content, without relying on intrusive ads or third-party payment providers. Here are some key strategies to consider:

1, Creating official Discord servers: Brands can create their own Discord server and build a community around their brand or product. This can be an effective way to engage with fans, customers, and other stakeholders. These servers can include channels for discussions, announcements, and exclusive content.

2, Hosting events: Discord is a great way to engage with fans in real-time. Brands can host Q&A sessions, gaming tournaments, share sneak peeks of upcoming products or services, and watch parties. This allows fans to interact with the brand in a more personalised and immersive way.

3, Providing exclusive content: Brands can provide exclusive content to fans on Discord, such as behind-the-scenes footage, early access to products, giveaways and even NFT drops. This creates a sense of exclusivity and loyalty among fans and incentivises fans to join their server.

4, Partnering with influencers: Brands can partner with influencers who have large followings on Discord to promote their products and services. This can help increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience.

5, Offering customer support: Brands can offer customer support on Discord by creating dedicated channels where customers can ask questions and get help, via voice and video chat, in real-time. Plus, brands can use Discord to gather feedback from their customers, which can be used to improve their offerings.

Overall, Discord can be a valuable tool for brands looking to engage with their customers, build communities, and increase brand awareness. The breadth and spectrum of brand categories show just how far the platform has come from its gaming roots, to become an important channel for all brand categories looking to harness its Gen Z audience.

Best in Class Examples:

Entertainment Brands

Brands in the entertainment space, such as music artists and film studios, can use Discord to host virtual concerts and movie screenings, provide sneak peeks of upcoming releases, and interact with fans in real-time. Marvel partnered with VeVe, an NFT marketplace, to release a series of Marvel NFTs, including digital comic books and collectible figures. The company has used Discord to create a community for Marvel fans and NFT collectors, where they can discuss the drops and interact with each other.

Individual music performers are also getting in on the act, using Discord to offer exclusive content, host Q&A sessions, and promote new releases. Grimes used her server to engage with fans, tease new music, and host events on Stage Channels. Zedd partnered with Discord to host a remix contest, allowing fans to submit their remixes and be a part of his next album, whilst electronic music act, Deathpact, used a Discord server created by a fan to build an extensive alternate-reality game. Fans completing the game, triggered the release of Deathpact’s new music – with much fanfare and buzz ahead of the release. 

Lifestyle Brands

Fashion and beauty companies are also using Discord to create dedicated communities where fans can share tips and advice, offer exclusive discounts and promotions, host events, and provide personalised customer support.Discord’s invitation-only model helps to foster a sense of exclusivity and can also act as a gateway into the metaverse.

Cult & Rain, the luxury sneaker start-up, built hype around the pre-sale of their NFT “skin” shoes using Discord servers after finding that influencers did not drive enough traffic. Using Discord to attract NFT enthusiasts and share projects with existing fans, helped provide the “clout” needed for a successful NFT drop, and leveraged the platform’s exclusive model to create a sense of anticipation and desirability to legitimise their NFT model.

Gucci used NFT platform Arianee to create a collection of NFTs that are linked to physical Gucci products. By creating a community for fans and collectors of NFTs, Discord helped the brand to break into metaverse/Web 3.0. As with Discord, Web 3.0 is all about community. Many brands will try to enter the NFT space, but most will fail without the necessary community behind it. By offering unique content and experiences that are tailored to the platform’s features, fashion brands have been able to build a dedicated following and increase brand loyalty.

Moving forward

Discord has transformed from a gaming platform to a powerful tool for community building. Its unique features make it an appealing platform for Gen Zers to connect with others who share their interests. As a result, it has become a valuable tool for brands and artists looking to connect and engage with this demographic in a more personal and intimate way. Furthermore, using Discord allows advertisers to better understand and target their Gen Z audience, as the platform offers valuable insights into user engagement, behaviour, and preferences. Data, that in turn, can be used to create more effective and personalised campaigns.