Our Cari spoke at the Insights Theatre during the Prolific North Live exhibition this year, she gave her thoughts on the importance of creating connections and suggested that brands need to entertain and engage to cut through the noise…
Brands need to build meaningful emotional connections with consumers. Trust is at an all-time low, across all of our institutions, and brands are not exempt from this crisis.
We know that marketing is a competition for people’s attention. We live in a world where we have more information than we know what to do with. But we do, however, have great control over what we see; with a click of a button we can stop seeing promoted posts and tweets, we can fast forward through ads and scroll past your well-considered content before you can explain who you are or what you do.
Above all, we most definitely don’t want to be ‘sold to’ until we are ready to buy and even then, you better not be pushy about it! This is one of the reasons why content marketing has become so important; brands need to add value, to tell stories that are relatable and engaging.
To do this we need to take a ‘customer-first’ approach.
Creating connections with games
If you want to stand a chance of engaging with consumers in any sort of meaningful way, brands need to entertain. In a recent survey published by The Drum, 71% of consumers preferred entertainment as a way for brands to connect with them. One way brands have been entertaining their audience is through games. We humans have an innate desire to play – we learn through play, we socialise through play and video games have been around for decades because, quite simply, we love to play.
Gone are the days when video games were the privilege of teenagers playing console games in their darkened bedrooms. Following the dramatic rise of the smartphone, which in turn has led to casual gaming being one of the most popular mobile activities, the ‘gamer’ stereotypes have been shattered. 32 million people in the UK now play games, that’s half the population. 48% of those are women, half of them are over 40 and a quarter are over 56 years old.
We know that people love playing games and that playing games puts us the in the right frame of mind to experience all sort of positive emotions and connections, but what can games offer you, a marketeer or brand?
Using branded games in marketing, or advergaming as it’s often called, is not a new thing. Coca Cola were among the first to distribute games on floppy discs (if you remember those!) back in the 80’s. Online Flash games became popular as the World Wide Web rolled out in the late 90’s early 00’s but the possibilities have wildly increased since the rise of mobile devices, social media and the advances in technology.
1. Measured Engagement
Don’t expect to be surprised by average engagement figures of between 10 and 40 minutes per player when it comes to branded games. However, it can even be more – one of our clients ran a game with a daily competition throughout December and saw per player engagement in excess of 1 hour and 20 minutes throughout the campaign. One of our games for DFDS delivered 340,000 brand minutes over a 4 week campaign – that’s a total of 236 days! That’s pretty compelling in comparison to other forms of digital marketing and advertising.
Games are great way of building communities, with players sharing tips on gameplay, sharing their scores and engaging with the brand in a positive way on social media. With the inclusion of leader boards and sharing functionality you can help your audience spread the word with their friends and networks and create online brand ambassadors from top players.
3. Sales generation
If that’s not enough, games can start to generate revenue too, with links to special offers or promotions that are unlocked only from collecting enough coins, or finding a specific item in the game. These exclusive items give a real reason to play and rewards players for their persistence and re-engagement, whilst driving traffic back to the website to redeem a ‘25% off offer’ or a ‘buy one get one free’ offer, for example.
4. Permission based data capture
Games can also be used as a way of capturing data through a leaderboard based competition. With GDPR coming into force soon, brands need to offer relevant and engaging content to ensure compliant, permission based opt-ins to marketing databases. If you can make that process fun and positive you’re more likely to gain quality data and leads.
5. Stand out from the crowd
Branded games are a great way to increase footfall to your stand, having a branded arcade machine or an iPad running a competition offers something interactive and fun on an exhibition floor, it can help you cut through the noise and be memorable when following up post show.
Positive vibes that go a long way
There is a game genre out there for most audiences and if a brand can offer a space to play, in a way that is already familiar to them and its done well (that’ll have to be another article) you can create a truly positive interaction to build trust and harbour loyalty and if you can do that and have a little fun in the process – that’s most definitely a win!