Since franchising, LCS orgs have stepped up their branding game across the board. Liquid built a whole training facility, 100 Thieves have custom streetwear and controlled merch drops, and Clutch went full cowboy, even donning the state of Texas on their jerseys. But one org has made it their mission to soar high above the rest—FlyQuest.
Upon their acceptance into the franchised LCS, FlyQuest rebranded with a new logo and overall org design, community engagement plan, big sponsors, etc. They released an open letter and accompanying video along with the rebrand, claiming a new mantra, “Showcase greatness,” and stating they were aiming to be a community-focused org. Just as they promised in their letter to “stand out from the pack [to] make our fans part of who we are,” FlyQuest have distinguished themselves as the single org who will engage with the community in every possible facet.
“We want to celebrate the unique passions of the FlyQuest community.," FlyQuest said in the open letter to fans.
One of the best examples of FlyQuest’s community involvement is their pre-game tailgating in the LCS parking lot. This Spring, eight of the 10 LCS franchises were present on opening day. While many orgs had various activities, games, prizes, etc., FlyQuest started the season off with an extra treat for LCS fans. They had games and simple merch like the rest, but also featured a taco stand and a shirt press, where they would print each fan their own personal gamertag labeled shirt. It was completely free, too, as long as you posted a picture at their booth on social media. FlyQuest’s goal is to provide young fans with food and swag as long as they continue doing what they were likely already doing in the first place—posting on Instagram.
By just the second day of this year’s Spring Split, only half of the league’s teams remained at the tailgate, FLY being one of the few. The following week brought heavy rain, the likes of which is rarely seen in southern California. While none of the orgs were set up in a traditional tailgate fashion, FlyQuest still managed to represent themselves.
FLY’s community manager, Jeff “Graynomic” Hoang, was walking fans from the garage to the arena, sporting big green-and-yellow FlyQuest branded umbrellas. FLY tried to single-handedly keep fans from entering the arena soaking wet. They didn't just help their own fans, either, but anyone excited about showing up to the LCS that day.
“We participate for our fans, but not just our fans,” FlyQuest COO Tricia Sugita told Upcomer. “The fans of the league.”
Other than their pregame activities, FlyQuest interacts with LCS fans in a plethora of other ways. Graynomic attends each match, handing out “thundersticks” to the whole crowd in the LCS arena. No matter who you came to cheer on, you can smack together two inflatable plastic pillows thanks to FlyQuest’s focus on fan engagement. Last year, when they weren’t tailgating, they would set up at Dave and Buster’s in LA to host large viewing parties for FlyQuest fans on Sundays. Since fans went consistently, they would see one another week after week, creating a face-to-face community.
They also connected with their fans online through various contests and content galleries, even allowing fans to design official FlyQuest merchandise. Some fans were even given birthday cards on their birthdays each month. This year, FLY is rolling out new ways to get involved, which are featured on their newly-launched site.
“There’s a lot of thought put into everything we do,” Sugita said. “It all ties back to our company vision: to be a platform to help others and to showcase greatness.”
Outside of their community engagement, FLY has a somewhat unique approach to social media marketing. Many orgs have gone full-in on meme culture. They often get in Twitter wars with each other, throwing banter around at an organizational level. FlyQuest, however, avoids antagonistic interactions altogether.
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Even when other orgs strike first, the account always answers back with a positive message or a funny gif. The biggest scuffle they’ve gotten in was with Echo Fox concerning their string cheese tweet, and that ended with the two sending each other gifs of anime hearts flying at each other.
“Our brand isn’t arrogant,” claims Sugita. “Our brand is being wholesome, kind, and inclusive…What we care about is greater than us.”
FlyQuest is sure never to stray away from joking about themselves, the gaming community, and pretty much everything else on Twitter. After their Academy bot lane tweeted a picture in their house (showing a rather messy floor), the official FlyQuest account responded stating they’d be buying them a vacuum. This is their calculated level of shade mixed with humor that never crosses into ‘fighting words’ territory.
When asked about their social strategy, FlyQuest COO Tricia Sugita told Upcomer that the social team has the same mantra and goal as the rest of the org—to showcase greatness.
“We want to lead, but we don’t want to lecture people… Wholesome, but not boring... Confident, but not cocky,” she said.
Their player branding is done very similarly. While they will occasionally poke fun, like with the vacuum tweet, they almost exclusively focus on their players’ humanity and personality.
“The difference is, Team Liquid [and other teams] content is super serious…It’s dramatic,” FlyQuest mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park said. “FlyQuest is more light-hearted. Showing more personal sides of the players is their main goal, rather than following the drama. They want to show who we are as people.”
This is most notable in their vlog series from Worlds and All Stars, where the players had a chance to brand themselves outside of just being a pro. The editors put in a lot of effort as well, according to FlyQuest, not only teaching the players how to work a camera and capture a moment, but also by crafting the vlogs in such a way that the true character of the player was shown. FlyQuest hopes this inner mantra comes across in their content seamlessly.
“It’s a dream when a player says they want to be involved more…” Sugita said, referring to WildTurtle’s desire to attend Worlds in 2018. “I think we have some real buy in, and that’s because of the culture we are building.”
Another example of how FlyQuest treats its players was shown in their video released after Valentine’s Day. After tricking Lucas “Santorin” Larsen into dressing up by claiming he had a sponsorship meeting, they dropped him off at a nice restaurant with his girlfriend waiting inside. She lives in Canada, so they rarely get to visit. FlyQuest flew her down to Los Angeles as a fun surprise and a good opportunity to pay it forward to one of their players.
Whether FlyQuest are engaging with fans, creating content, or just taking care of staff, they always try to showcase greatness. Their goal is to be intentionally bound and aligned by the same vision, from C-level executives to interns and volunteers. They aim to calmly and quietly take care of their own and those throughout the community, normalizing kindness and providing an alternative to the dominant roast culture of the internet. FlyQuest’s goal is not to inspire other LCS organizations, but simply to inspire the community they’re a part of.
“Greatness is within everything, it’s in more than just winning, “ Sugita said. “It’s within the community. It’s in minorities within the group. We want to inspire change, confidence, and inclusiveness. For us, it’s more than just winning Worlds, it’s investing in the whole community.”
Images via Upcomer