Thursday, 20 October 2011

Playing the brand game

The Independent's SME section recently carried an interesting article drawing a comparison between game playing and branding. We'd like to share it with our Interiors & Lifestyle Futures companies. Author Rishi Dhir defines five principles to a successful brand and we've given edited extracts below plus a link so you can explore the original article.

" [The] core ideas of satisfaction, engagement and addiction [of competing in games] are similarly the holy grail of brand building and in recent years brand owners have applied the principles of gaming to enhance the brand experience. Boiling it down, there are five core principles that brands have borrowed from the gaming fraternity.

Make it challenging
Nike ID is a great example of the concept of challenge applied in the brand context: customers are given the tools online to design and create their own shoe, choosing the style, material and colour. Even though it's far easier to buy a ready-made (and probably better designed shoe) off the shelf, the task of building your own is somehow far more involving and satisfying. Nando’s challenges customers to avoid getting the hottest piece of peri-peri-coated chicken in a game of ‘wing roulette’.

Make it competitive
Ebay uses the idea of competition in its online auctions. By getting customers to bid against one another to ‘win’ their chosen product, they’ve injected fun and a sense of rivalry into the buying process.

Be the Best
Make it rewarding
Fiat’s Eco-Drive technology is [an] example: the system analyses driver technique, and gives a score on an eco-index, marking the drive out of 100. It provides tips on how to change braking, acceleration, gear changes and speed in a step-by-step tutorial to help drivers improve their economy. The system lays down a gauntlet for the driver to improve their driving style; the reward being the sensation of mastery, the knowledge that they have positively contributed to the environment (in some small way) and lower running costs.

Allow continual discovery
The best videogames take the player on a journey of discovery by providing an ever-evolving environment....... Even apparently 'simple' games, like Suduku, with a virtually infinite number of puzzles of varying levels of difficulty offer the gamer the opportunity for endless discovery.

Facebook and Amazon keep customers in a perpetual state of discovery. Whether it’s to stay in tune with what your friends are doing, or to discover a new artist, movie or book, as a result of a targeted recommendation based on your past purchases, the content is continually updated to stay fresh and exciting, which keeps users coming back for more.

Fun, games and branding

Incentivise collaboration
Online games, such as World of Warcraft require players to collaborate with one another, forging alliances and developing common strategies to overcome the enemy. The game itself is essentially reduced to a platform of rules and parameters, where success can only be achieved through co-operation with others. The environment encourages dialogue and creativity, both of which are intrinsically rewarding.

Groupon applies this principle beautifully: it encourages people to ‘buy together to save together’, collectively benefiting from lower prices on restaurants, spas, and other leisure activities in their cities. It works on the premise of bulk purchasing power and the whole idea of buying with your friends, makes the experience far more engaging. "

To read Rishi Dhir's complete article, please go here The Independent SME Now here