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Published by a4agarwal

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Published by: a4agarwal on Nov 18, 2010
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© Sapient Corporation, 2010
As a brand steward, you probably dream of having your consumers being magnetically attracted to your brand, even stand in line all night to be the first to buy your newest product, postpone or delay other activities in their busy schedule to continuously engage with, and immerse themselves in, your brand’s world and, of course, tell all their friends about it online and off?In other words you’d want consumers to react to your brand like they would to successful video games.It therefore begs the question, “what draws people to video games, what keeps them coming back to want to talk and write about it, and what can brand stewards learn from them about managing their own brand?”
Here, we identify and cover four of those principles.
1. A compelling storyline:
Most gamers would tell you that a compelling story is probably the single most important criteria for agood game. It’s what draws you in, it’s what gets you excited and interested in the first place.The same holds true for brands and most marketers know this. The fact that brands need compellingstories is really not a novel concept. However, media fragmentation and the increasing speed oftechnological innovations over the last few years has distracted most of the industry’s attention towardsthe execution of brand stories (where and how to tell a brand story across various media platformsor leveraging the latest technological innovations) but very little actually about the quality of “brandstories” themselves (what story to actually tell). Should I use location-based services to communicatemy brand? Should I have a Facebook fan page? Should I develop an Ipad app? Should I do something with augmented reality or QR codes? The answer to all these interesting questions really doesn’tmatter, and turns your initiatives into expensive and short lived marketing gimmicks, if you don’t know your brand’s story.Powerful brand stories provide the narrative thatenables consumers to identify with the brand and find ameaningful and valuable role for the brand in their lives.For example, when you’re promoting a tropicaldestination, it would be easy to fall back on the clichés ofescapism, portraying beautifully pristine beaches, crystalclear water, palm trees and maybe even a cute dolphin or two. And while this story might be appealing and tappinginto a core consumer need (escapism) it has also beentold many times over. Another way to re-frame the task would be to tell a different story, a story that is unique
What a successful video game can teachyou about marketing your brand 
 By Ulli Appelbaum , Director of Brand Strategy, Sapient Nitro.
© Sapient Corporation, 2010
and even more compelling. This is what the Queensland Tourism Office did when it decided to offer consumers the opportunity to apply for “The best Job in the world”. In fact, consumers were invited tosubmit a video application explaining why they should be selected for the position, the winner beinggiven the opportunity to work as the Island’s caretaker” for a year. Not only did telling a different storyhelp the Queensland Tourism Board stand out from competitors with much bigger budgets, it alsomanaged to engage consumers in a very relevant and meaningful way. Last but not least, it created atremendous amount of earned media effectively amplifying the impact of the campaign.Ensuring that the brand has a strong and compelling story also ensures that the brand stewardmaintains the control and ownership of the brand. Today’s popular wisdom that “consumers own thebrand” is misleading and false. In fact, while it’s true that consumers have the ability to significantlyinfluence the perceptions a brand steward tries to build (and can therefore help the brand succeedor force it to fail), the control is ultimately still in the hands of the manufacturer. Or at least shouldbe. A compelling brand story provides the internal compass a brand needs to succeed. It determines what type of activities with which to engage (or not); what new products and services should launch;and what type of brand moments and brand experiences to create within the context of new mediaplatforms.
2. Great gameplay:
Another important criteria for a video game to be successful is a compelling gameplay. There isno universal definition for the term “gameplay”, so for the sake of this article let’s define it as theoverall player’s experience of the game design. Gameplay usually includes aspects such as the levelof interactivity and the choices at the disposal of the gamer. As such, it has very much to do with theplayer’s perceived sense of control based on the options at his disposal at any given moment in thegame.
We’ve entered a world of multi-channel marketing and commerce in which aconsumer wants the ability to access thebrand’s world and eco-system at each and every interaction point and on their terms.
 Applied to brands, the gameplay would be both the overall consumer experience within the brand’secosystem as well as the quality of the interaction with the brand at the various touch points, or “brand moments”.Consumers don’t travel through a linear and sequential purchase funnel anymore (who remembersthe AIDA model?). We’ve entered a world of multi-channel marketing and commerce in which aconsumer wants the ability to access the brand’s world and eco-system at each and every interactionpoint and on their terms. In other words, the center is everywhere.
© Sapient Corporation, 2010
Take Autotrader.co.uk for example, the used car trading website. Autotrader has launched anapplication for smart phones in the U.K. that enables users to take a picture of any car parked on thestreet and immediately access all the specs of its make and model. It also informs her about similar  vehicles for sale in her neighborhood with maps and all the other vital information needed to make apurchase.
All of a sudden, a service that was only accessible via a computer screen and a Website puts theconsumer in full control of the selection and purchase process at any given moment in time, wherever the consumer happens to be. And, in the process, extend the reach of Autotrader.co.uk beyond the fewhours consumers sit in front of their computer screen each day.How’s the brand’s gameplay? How much interactivity does the brand allow consumers, what choicesdoes it enable at the different moments of interaction, and what perceived level of control does thebrand provide? In the future brand stewards will have to answer those questions if they want their brands to thrive and grow.

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