It's all about the STORY!

Posts tagged ‘games’

Thought of the day: Competition means partnership (AKA: The world is flat, and competition looks different)

Are you in charge of keeping your business afloat? Relevant? competitive? Sustainable? Yes? Then, my friend, you have much to worry about.

You have much to worry about unless words such as diversification, collaborations, change-management, resource-sharing and partnership are central to your business philosophy. Beyond incorporating these key words in meaningful ways, perhaps the most important part of this newly-needed philosophy is redefining your concept of competition.

Today’s competitive edge is far from the 80s version–kill or be killed and destroy your adversaries; wipe out the competition so that

Samurai Competition

you’re the only one left standing.

Why doesn’t this philosophy work any longer? Because the world is flat. The world is flat due to advanced communications and globalization. The world is flat because customers and clients can reach all corners of the globe to get the goods and services they want and need. The customers and clients–your target population–in your community no longer need you. You need them. Redefining your concept of competition is a powerful method of cultivating them.

At the end of the day, it’s all about value. Some things have never and will never change about business, and central to these constants in a free market is value. Customers and clients will seek it out and build their loyalty around it. So, the question is, are you as valuable as you can be?

A key way to raising the value of your business is through partnerships and resource-sharing. This doesn’t necessarily mean bringing partners into your business to run things and work with you and your team to make things happen. What it does mean is looking around for your competitors, getting to know them and the services they provide, looking for the unique–looking for value. Then, see how you can leverage your difference to share referrals and team up on projects, utilizing one anothers’ expertise. Very few pros are equally good at everything, so look for ways to share resources in niche markets. This will increase your value in the eyes of your public and demonstrate that you and your partner(s) are innovators in your field working together to provide the absolute best for your customers and clients.

Look at your competition differently–they are your greatest potential allies, and working together, you can each raise the value of offerings to your customers and clients. By viewing competition as partners, everyone wins.

This is all about game theory for business. Wiping out your competitors could concel you out, too. Better to collaborate than lose everything.

Here is an example–a florist delivery cooperative shares resources on delivery services so that flower deliveries going to the same zip code end up on one truck from a variety of florists’ orders:

What Poker, WoW and Chess mean to marketing… (AKA: Game theory and cultivating market research)

Games–the word brings different meanings to different people, from cards and gambling to board games on rainy days or smart phone apps  with angry birds attacking defenseless pigs to massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) such as World of Warcraft. Games capture the attention of people across the globe, hooking them into an experience that requires skill, attention to detail, concentration and often strategy and high levels of thinking. People young and old and everything in between love games, and savvy marketers have learned how to apply game theory to gathering intelligence about target markets.

There are specific traits of games that entice people to play them:

  1. It’s interactive–players do something and engage in a game.
  2. There is often an imaginary element to a game–players can transport themselves into another world, environment, character, space and time.
  3. It’s competitive–even if players only compete with themselves to get to another level or to receive a response that they want, there’s an element of achievement.
  4. Visual–using pictures, graphics and even animation to tell a story or further engage players–games are often highly visual.
  5. Rewards–games have an element of reward, and this can include anything from unveiling more information a player may want to receive to just attaining high scores and potentially comparing scores with friends and other players.
  6. Brain power–games require thought, whether they engage strategy, skill, knowledge or a complex combination of these elements, the brain is activated, and players get hooked.

What does this have to do with marketing? I’m glad you asked. Innovative marketers have learned that they can develop games, including all of the elements above, to collect valuable information about players–otherwise known as respondents in marketing lingo. In other words, market research in the form of a game, versus a bland survey, can be used to collect complex, valuable information about target markets. Research has demonstrated that players are far more likely to engage higher levels of thought and consider more complex elements to provide information collected if they are engaged in a game versus answering questions in traditional market research surveys. They are also more likely to return to the game and spending far longer periods of time providing enhanced information depending on the game’s structure and interactivity between multiple players.

Think about it. How can you use game theory to amplify your communications and marketing strategies? Hint: It can go far beyond market research and include customer service, e-commerce and multiple other systems in business. Get creative, and the applications are nearly limitless. It’s all bout engaging your target market more completely and collecting valuable information. Collective intelligence is the real name of the game.





Communications: Games and Advertising (AKA: Angry Birds vs. Pogo Sweet Tooth)

On-line games and advertising, it’s a natural combination. Ads want to collect the attention of eyeballs. Period. Collecting the attention of targeted eyeballs is even better–eyeballs generally attracted to a certain lifestyle, recreational activity or demographic. While this has always been true of every sort of ad, on-line ads have an advantage–they can be interactive.

Let’s face it, traditional on-line ads have a bad rep. In fact, if traditional on-line advertising had a personality, it would be my gaudy, drunken uncle wearing his circa 1970s polyester leisure suit, making an obnoxious toast, insulting every guest sitting around the Thanksgiving Day table. Banner ads, pop-up ads, customized ads–flashing, blinking, blurring, distracting and obstructing your view from the content or game or other on-line experience you intended to consume–have become an unfortunate part of the commercial web-based landscape.

Games, however, have found ways to integrate ads into the user-experience, often triggering urges in gamers to go get the product, now. They borrowed the concept of product placement from TV and movies and put the impact of these things on steroids, having gamers interact with the products in the games they are playing. is notorious for this, advertizing such products as ice cream and orange juice. They insert name brand items into the games as an integrated part of the game that gamers must interact with to participate in the game.

Seeing the enticing graphic of a tub of strawberry ice cream over and over again, that you must concentrate on to complete your game, gets your sense memory going about what that ice cream tastes like, feels like and where you can go get some. Same goes for the frosty carton of orange juice. Yes, I admit to falling victim to this manipulative device, and have stopped playing a game craving and even going out to get the product I was playing with.

This reminds me of an older ad campaign by the now obscure Blimpie sandwich and sub shop. They played this TV ad late at night in college towns, knowing the nocturnal habits of college students who are often up late studying or partying or both and who are always on the prowl for easy, tasty, cheap food. Blimpie, which was often open late at night and even 24 hours in some cases, played a TV ad that just showed a giant sub sandwich and the Blimpie logo, saying over and over again in a strange tone, “Blimpie,” “Blimpie…” Sales for Blimpie skyrocketed as a result.

There are other games, however, that are wildly popular, such as app games like Angry Birds. App games are still using the banner and pop-up ads as their primary source of revenue, allowing for the free download of the app. While I appreciate the free games, I feel compelled to report that I have never, not once, clicked through to an ad. Not ony will I not click-through, I don’t know what the ads are–I just see them as distractions as I’m trying to concentrate on a game, much like buzzers and flashing lights in a casino.

Now, make me play with the products in the game–you’ll have my attention. If Angry Birds were made to knock down piles of Campbell’s Tomato Soup cans and Ritz Crackers, I’ll notice. I’ll likely even have these products on my lunch menu in the very near future after playing with them often enough. I wouldn’t want to see this on every level of the game, but maybe the first game of each set would be enough to reinforce the message.

And because I can’t help myself, if this is true of products, what about other types of messaging such as social marketing–spreading prevention messages for health and behavioral health issues or other social problems such as bullying and violence prevention. What great things we could communicate through games!


SERIOUS ABOUT GAMES: Games can be serious business for ALL serious businesses

Use games right, and you will create a viral wave of your brand that will prove to your public you are strong, creative, valuable and clever.

Gaming: Serious Business

Games can be a truly interactive communication medium that can add significant value to your brand when woven into a comprehensive communications strategy.

By now, businesses are getting the picture that to stay relevant in the public, be valuable and strengthen branding for business development and sustainability, it’s necessary to look at that scary abyss of communications strategies fearlessly.

But why games?

Like all things–not just any games. They have to be good games. They have to speak to your particular brand. They have to be easily transferred via email or social nets. They have to entertain and engage. They have to promote your brand in a clear but inviting, energizing, motivational way. (Remember to market values).

Depending on your budget, you can do this at low-cost or high cost with custom-designed games that immerse players into your branding universe.

If the game is “cool” enough, players will pass on links, embed in their sites, etc. Now players are doing your advertising for you.

Think GAMES.

Below is information about a blog that explains this more in-depth. Please click on the link below and find much more information. The part about ad-supported gaming is towards the middle of their blog (as of right now). Great stuff! Thanks Digital Worlds!

Digital Worlds – Interactive Media and Game Design
A blogged course production experiment…

From Blog Post AD SUPPORTED GAMING posted 10/27/08
Here is a description of using a game AS an advertisement
“Advergames are games that are heavily branded and as such essentially “are” the advert. Advergames typically present a game world that reflects the advertiser’s branding, or at least the message the advertiser wants to communicate, and in so doing potentially engages the interest of the player for many valuable minutes in what advergame developer Skyworks calls ‘branded interactive entertainment’”.

From Blog Post MAKING CASUAL GAMES PAY posted 10/28/08
A grrrreat! description of embedding ads in casual games
“Casual games are seen to be similar to television sitcoms in that ‘…in exchange for the ability to play and be entertained for a short period of time, people are willing to watch ads’ (these ads correspond to the interstitial or pre-roll ads that were described in Ad-Supported Gaming). However, it is also possible “to integrate dynamic in-game advertising platforms into the game. [That is, in-game advertising.] With the constant connection, the adverts can be altered based upon a player’s moves, or even their geographic location, providing targeted and more effective advertising. … It wouldn’t be surprising if in-game ads soon become integral to the content of a game, offering clues, extra levels or other hidden rewards for the player who clicks through.” In-game advertising, even in casual games, offers the potential for interaction. By engaging the player emotionally in the game, they may well be forced to pay more attention to the promotional message or advertised goods (for example, if you have to go in search of the missing Nuvo Cola can…!)”

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