Step one: Branding and bragging
Lessons on branding are like an infinite loop of trial and errors and there are a lot of ways you can devour a Kotler – My weapon of choice is, gaming…preferably. However, there are two underlying truths of brand marketing and online brand management: They are “awareness” and “engagement”. Simplistically, we question the objectives that need to be achieved in order to notify audiences that “we exist”.
Truly enough, awareness is often fuelled by traditional methods such as television commercials, massive billboards, radio and print ads, etc. Engagement however is a different ball game. Brand managers everywhere thank the heavens for Twitter.com and its digitalized ability to “talk about” the brand, hence enabling it to engage with the audiences.
Apart from that, there are technical tricks such as display banners that lead viewers to websites, videos and vines that deliver short and effective messages on behalf of the brand. Gaming, however, turns this process up a notch… okay, by several notches.
Step two: Gaming urf. ‘Gamification’
Compared to just doing an ad or putting up billboards, gaming has a blatant way of interacting with people. You engage the consumer as the consumer interacts with the product. We call this conniving little process ‘Gamification’.
Gamification stems out of the need to integrate games with brands while procuring benefits from the social media platform. So while games are designed to boost whatever campaign the brand is running around the product, they are also designed to target the primary audiences of that product and brand –essentially, be product-centric. Let’s face it though…everyone likes games. The Candy Crush escapade didn’t have an age bar on it that sent anyone with a CEO tag to Nazi Germany.
Unless you’re selling fancy sugar, most brand games are designed to educate or get a message out to the people about the product in a fun and interactive way!
Step three: That jazz about the web and social media
Consider two kinds of gaming audiences: The hardcore kind, with high-powered consoles and PCs whose gaming-nights need coded invitations. And then there are the casual kinds, who prefer to spend hours obsessing over Candy Crush that are socially integrated online and use Facebook and Twitter to grow. But that’s just game talk.
While analysing engagement on the web, it’s found that most websites on an average have a consumer-engagement span of only a minute and a half. When you create a game, you’ve ensured that the time span is expanded for approximately more that two minutes without fail, which is great for any webpage/website. If a game is engaging, the consumer engagement lasts longer hence establishing success of the brand in the consumer’s mind. Statistically, the life cycle of the game depends on the run-time of the brand’s campaign (which is ideally three months), giving the brand a lot of scope and time to engage audiences online.
Ideally, when games are made, the intention is to reach a lot of people and the web is a great platform to distribute them. Creating microsites, building gaming portals with a lot of mini games,designing applications for Facebook and finally, targeting mobile devices are some ofthe most effective things. Depending on the content created that the game carries, its scalability is increased. We can add levels, create upgrades and if the game turns out to be highly engaging, pushing new content to people always works, especially if the game has a high rate of returning users!
Step four: Addiction be thy name
Sharing scores on Facebook, winning contests, climbing leaderboards, competing and winning against your friends, these are the many psychological incentives we as brand marketers can think to use in our benefit, as far as gaming is concerned that is. Not only do these provide incentive for the consumer to play the game, their engagement with the brand is skyrocketed. For instance, Candy Crush is addictive because is makes you wait, makes you pay for ‘lollipop hammers’, bargains energy, shares your scores, and you just can’t get enough.
Here’s a fun trivia: Candy Crush is a remade, resold, completely morphed, ingeniously marketed avatar of Bejeweled. It truly is pure genius on part of the Candy Crush makers, KING.
Step five: Mandatory conclusion
Like Candy Crush, all the other games that run on the same method of gameplay, have placed engagement on tried and tested methods, which means they have fully violated the scope for new content – at least the successful ones have.
Each and every one of these games rely on social media. Games have a natural tendency to engage audiences and even more so when they are integrated with social media simply because people love to talk about their achievements. The underlying benefit is, while they’re at it, they’re also talking about the brand. Hence proven: Video games + Social Media = Brand Marketing