Games Sell Your Brand’s Story
Your brand has something unique to offer, but can a pithy sentence or short ad encapsulate what makes your product or service great? Your brand has a story, and games give potential customers the tools to experience and engage with that story firsthand.
Experience your Story
If the experience of playing a game approximates the experience of your product or service, they can get a clearer, more visceral sense of what you have to offer them. You may have heard the term “ludonarrative” bandied about, which refers to the interplay between user and game that tells a story through the game’s mechanics. In other words, the player’s unique interaction with the game can inform their understanding of your brand.
In the Workinman-developed e-learning game, $ky: Money Matters, created for the Boys and Girls Club of America & Charles Schwab, we tried to replicate and gamify the experience of managing your finances. Instead of getting into the nitty gritty details of explaining the complex interplay of various financial and life decisions, we presented them as gameplay options to the player. Through play, the users discovered for themselves the effects of a plethora of investing options, positive or negative.
Products, brands, and services that lend themselves well to a particular type of game genre can be an excellent marriage of form and function. During brainstorming and conceptualization with a client, these are often the first ideas produced, but aren’t necessarily a great fit for every situation…
Tell your Story
In many cases, the game style that best fits to your brand may have already been done to death, be out of your budget, isn’t popular with your primary demographic, or simply isn’t what you’re looking for. In those cases, it’s best to take a style of game that fits your needs, and explicitly connect it with your brand.
In the case of MSM: Exhibitor Live!, a game that would be played on a show room floor, a board game was deemed the easiest format to allow multiple prospective customers to play at once, and made it easy to pop in and out of play. The actual decision cards that would pop up had very little to do with gameplay (essentially, they were varying degrees of risk vs. reward), but more to do with the issues and complexities of setting up a live exhibition event, and promoting what MSM could do to work according to whatever your needs would be.
This approach is best utilized when you let your targeted demographic guide how your game plays, and how to tell players about your product or service. A short, casual game may need judicious and brief descriptions, while a longer, single player experience can get away with longer flavor text and narrative. Gameplay, however, should be prioritized. Engaged and happy players are more likely to respond to a call to action!
Grow your Story
Let’s say you’ve already hit brand saturation with your target demographic: you’re looking to expand into other markets, convert more targets into customers, or enforce brand loyalty with the customers you already have. First of all, sincere congratulations on a job well done, and second, games are a safe way to expand your brand without alienating your core audience.
It’s no secret that Workinman has worked on a lot of Spongebob Squarepants games. What’s less obvious is the breadth of different games, genres, and scenarios we’ve put Spongebob in. The six games below are, respectively, a horror game, pet sim, chess, dating game, a sandbox puppet show, and a steampunk game.
None of them are antithetical to the Spongebob brand, and they highlight and expand what Spongebob means to the player personally. Some may identify more with the scary moments, others with the more emotional side, and others may want Spongebob to reflect their own specific interests. Players who may have written off Spongebob at a certain period of their life could find a reason to reconnect with the brand, while some genre fans can gain a new personal connection with the Spongebob brand, even if they’d never shown interest in the show before.
If you already have a strong and recognizable brand amongst your target market, this may be a path that works best for you. The story that you’re trying to tell the players isn’t YOUR story. It’s the story of the player’s unique connection with your brand.
At Workinman, we spend a lot of time designing, tweaking, and perfecting the connection between clients and their customers. We strive to immerse the player in your story, and make you a part of the player’s world. What’s your story?