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Advergaming- The advertising value video games can offer

AdvergamingThe very best advergaming is actually a playable, interactive game that happens to include promotional messages.

Video games are designed to keep you in that sweet spot between happiness, frustration and progressive skill development. You just want to keep playing and playing. So, naturally, hardly anything would be more frustrating than advertisements plastered all over the screen, annoying promotional pop-ups or full-screen video commercials interrupting your gaming flow. That’s why you might think that marketing and video games don’t mix well. Yet advergaming exists and is very much alive.

The difference between gamification and advergaming

Gamification is the combination of marketing strategies with classic gaming techniques to keep you engaged with the brand or product. When you compete with your friends for Foursquare Mayorships, collect points for My Starbucks Rewards or play McDonald’s Monopoly, you’ve been lured in by gamification.

advergaming-hero-imageAdvergaming might sound similar, but it’s not the same. It means developing an actual game for the purpose of marketing. There are three main types of advergames:

1) Advertising inserted into an existing game

Have you played Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U? Did you notice how you can race with Mercedes cars in the game? That’s product placement right there. Back in the 90s, the rising wave of popularity of video games had advertisers salivating over all the possibilities to place brands and products in your favourite video games. What followed were games like Zool, a platformer where an alien ninja ant fights its way through a sweet world of candy — sponsored by ChupaChups — and Cool Spot, which had players jumping and running around…with the 7-Up mascot.

Advergaming_web2) Full games for desktop computers, consoles, or mobile devices

The restaurant chain Chipotle released a free iOS game called The Scarecrow in 2013. Marketed as an enticing game in which the player breaks up a monopoly, it not-so-subtly promoted the company’s values. Regardless, The Scarecrow was a huge hit with fans. Players downloaded the game more than 250,000 times in just four days.

3) Games on a company’s website

You might think of these as branded mini games, which you’ll find on sites like Candystand. But successful advergames on the web go beyond throwing together a bit of flash animation. Ubisoft’s video game Watch Dogs is set in a dystopian future where players hack cameras and mobile phones. To promote the game, Ubisoft produced the website WeAreData*, which offers infographics and real-time visuals of geo-data from Paris, London and Berlin.

What if brands had fictional ambassadors?

Celebrities and athletes have been representing brands since before most of us were even born. It’s not surprising that it still works; we emulate our idols. Lately, some companies have started thinking well outside the box. They’ve gotten creative by using fictional characters as brand ambassadors.

The idea is extremely entertaining, so we got to thinking: What other cool possibilities are out there?

So, let’s pair some of the most creative fictional characters as brand ambassadors for top companies. Hell, maybe they’ll take us up on the idea!

Sherlock Holmes

Praised as one of the most intelligent minds to set foot in his own world, Sherlock Holmes’ astounding reasoning, myriad disguises, and his uncanny investigative abilities make him not only a hot ticket fictional character, but a smart choice for the right brand.

With Sherlock the brand ambassador at the helm, this accounting firm’s marketing report will thrive.

The famed Holmes is guaranteed to carry confidence and assurance to those who trust PWC with their books.

Peter Pan

The mischievous flying boy from Neverland is always eager for a new adventure, especially since traveling doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.

Hmm… travel. You ever heard of Kulula Airlines? It’s a South African travel company that already stands out for injecting humour into their daily endeavours. Perfect match, and a great opportunity for creative branding.

Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz)

This innocent and friendly girl managed to get from rural Kansas to Oz in record time. She also walked, and at times skipped, the exceedingly lengthy yellow brick road, and all in heels! Those had to be some magical, but still very comfortable heels.

Dorothy will succumb to the superiority of the super stilettos, and agree to represent the company as its fictional brand ambassador. Dorothy could swap the bright red heels for the stilettos, then run off to Emerald City where she comfortably round-house kicks all the flying monkeys and the witch without breaking a sweat.

Hermione Granger

Harry had the bravery, Ron was the comic relief, but Hermione was the only one that was always prepared for anything. Whether it was potion class, or a Death Eater attack, it was next to impossible to catch her off her guard. If she had a personal slogan, it’d be “Be prepared”.

A fictional character with this much readiness for the unexpected would perfectly embody Lloyd’s Register of London. Fidentia is Latin for confidence. It’s the insurance firm’s motto, and any other character that buoys the confidence of those around them better than this young witch.

Mary Poppins

Everyone knows the magical nanny who swoops into the Cherry Tree Lane home to teach the children life lessons before departing once more under her umbrella.

She had some strange and magical powers, and even took the children on adventures. Her bag was a bottomless pit that stored innumerable objects. Although that’s not unheard of these days, and my girlfriend’s purse can back me up on that.

Mindset Segmentation And How to Use It

mindset 2What is Mindset Segmentation?

The term “mindset segmentation” was first used by marketer Kellie Cummings. She noted that:

“Mindset segmentation identifies people based on their emotional desires and expectations. Simply put, there’s more to customers than their willingness to purchase products. When employees see the human side of customers, they can develop communications that sustain customers’ trust.”

But mindset segmentation goes far beyond simply reaching out and building relationships with customers. It’s about getting to know your customers as people rather than just purchasers of your products or services.

Mindset segmentation can be broken down into the following attributes:

mindset 3Beliefs

A customer’s beliefs can be boiled down to one simple question — what are the principles that drive them? Are they more independent or introverted? Do they tend to feel that life is an adventure, or are they happiest when surrounded by a large circle of friends?

Hopes, Dreams, Fears

Much like understanding their beliefs, understanding people’s hopes and dreams can help you more closely align your business and marketing objectives toward helping them meet them. By the same token, knowing their fears can help you avoid disappointing them. If something goes wrong, possibly the worst thing a brand can do is bury their head in the sand and hope the customer firestorm passes.

mindsetExpectations

What do customers expect from you and how do you live up to that standard? When understanding a customer’s expectations overall, it’s important to look closer at their beliefs and their hopes, dreams and fears. What will they absolutely NOT stand for? What values does your company represent that they feel comfortable in aligning themselves with?

Emotional Needs

One may not instantly correlate a brand with a customer’s emotional needs not being met – but it affects their decisions more than you might think. Many financial decisions are affected by a customer’s self-esteem and their need for security and love. They have a direct, open need to be admired and liked, or to feel beautiful or be seen as hip or smart.

Brand Perception

How do customers see your brand? Beyond that, how would they describe your company to their family and friends? If you think your brand doesn’t have a perception, then you haven’t been monitoring the conversation. You’ll know if you’re doing mindset segmentation right, because you’ll go from a company that the customer recognizes, to one that they want to integrate with and use to reflect who they are.

Getting Started with Mindset Segmentation

The great thing about mindset segmentation is that it’s easy to work with. But it’s also worth understanding that not every customer will fit into these neatly packaged imaginary boxes or categories you’ve created — and that’s fine. Those are where mindset segmentation ends and persona creation begins.

Start by interviewing your most loyal customers. Touch on all the points mentioned above in a way that isn’t intrusive or annoying. Do more listening than speaking, and you’ll be amazed at what you hear. Take time to collect all the meaningful data you can about these people in a way that’s open and communicative. These people are going to be the linchpins of your mindset segmentation initiative. They’re going to be the people who drive the creation of your marketing personas and help shape your brand.

Put simply, mindset segmentation is another facet of data that you can explore to give your customers a truly customized, personalized and influential experience with your company — and that’s the kind of interaction that every brand strives for.

10 Ways to Make Customers Fall in Love with Your Business

Nurturing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of growing a successful business. In this age of automation and innovation, caring for your customers has never been more important.

It’s quite clear that now is a good time to solidify your relationship with your customers in a meaningful way. Here are 10 ways to help make your customers fall in love with your business.

customer-servicesTreat your Customers Right – Genuinely Interact

Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell 4 to 6 people about their experience. So that’s a way to significantly influence the word of mouth about your business. Don’t act as a nameless or faceless business; genuinely talk with your customers as a person representing the business. Address your customers by name, and tell them your name at the very beginning of your interaction.

Don’t Come on Too Strong – Respect Your Customers

It’s very important to be respectful of a customer’s mood when trying to resolve an issue they have with your company. Keeping your patience is key to giving your customer the time to air out their issue. And, in turn, it creates the opportunity for you to help resolve the issue and make them comfortable. The more comfortable the customer is the more likely they’ll share valuable feedback that can help prevent similar issues from occurring again in the future.

Erik PhoneAlways Listen – Hear What Your Customers are Saying

At a time when it’s easy to have a two-way dialogue with your customers, it’s important to truly listen. When listening to your customers, take into account what changes your organization should make from this feedback, and then follow through. Your customers are the lifeblood of your organization, and not dealing with the reasonable requests could cause backlash.

Continue to Satisfy – Offer Ongoing Support and Specials

The #1 reason for customer attrition is dissatisfaction with customer service. Do everything in your power to provide excellent service to your customers on an ongoing basis. Respond quickly and enthusiastically, and be ready to present a special offer or discount with the hope of up-selling the customer to buy more.

Treat a Customer Like a Valued Partner – Communication is Two Way

As previously mentioned, take your customer’s feedback seriously and act upon reasonable requests. What’s the point of listening if you’re not going to act on that feedback? Make sure it’s clear that you want your customer’s feedback and that your business truly values them as a partner.

01 service_frontBuild Trust – Alert Customers to Large Scale Changes, Good or Bad

It takes 12 positive service experiences to make up for 1 negative experience. This is how sensitive trust is between a business and its customers. No matter your size, keep your customers in the know when it comes to positive and negatives changes to your products and services that affect them. It’s crucial to tread lightly when making changes to your products and services because your customers have become accustomed to what you’ve already got.

customer service

 

Be Transparent – Honesty is Crucial When it comes to Mistakes

Being transparent in the digital age is a must. Much like the principles discussed above, transparency is a critical factor in building trust, satisfaction, and love from your customers. What does it mean to be transparent?

  • Transparency means that you are not afraid of feedback.
  • Transparency means that you have nothing to hide.
  • Transparency means your employees’ personal and work persona blur.
  • Transparency means you like to have conversations with your customers.

Customer service 2Follow Through on Your Word – Follow Up on Promises

Your word is your bond. Following up on your promises helps show the transparency of your business, while helping to build a feeling of trust and dependability with your audience.

Manage the expectations of your customers to ensure realistic goals are set and can be met. By remaining consistent in your messaging, your customers will learn what they should expect from you in the future.

Recognize Responsibility – The Customer is Always Right

No matter the circumstance, the customer is always right. This is a rule to guide your business through its growth, from customer service to user experience to product development. To help set this in motion, create a customer service policy to show your customers they are always right.

Always Say “Thank You” – Kindness and Gratitude will Take You Far

Last, but certainly not least, always say “Thank you.” As many as 3 out of 4 customers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive experiences. Kindness and gratitude for a customer’s business is an undeniable way to further enchant them for the long term.

Craft every thank you sent out from your company to be specific to the customer, relevancy is key. Be as appreciative as possible to your customers for taking the time to go through the process of resolving their issue. Finally, follow up with a good old fashioned “Thank you.”

Marketing lessons from the Vatican

Pope Francis“Find new ways to spread the word of God to every corner of the world”.Pope Francis

Stay on top of new trends. Once upon a time advertising agencies had only radio, newspapers and TV to distribute their content. Needless to say, today that list seems ridiculous. May it be viral marketing or social media, marketers need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new channels of communications.

“Work ends up dehumanising people”Pope Francis

Don’t lose touch with reality. In the world of advertising, it is important to stay in touch. Sometimes when we get caught up between the four walls of our office and a deadline, we lose touch with the real world and that can have some disastrous consequences. Don’t let it happen to you. Your job is your means to earn money, not your life.

Pope Bendict“The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young”.  Pope Benedict XVI

Go online if you want to reach the young. Nowadays people spend more time online than ever before. We read our news online, we watch our TV Shows online and we shop online. It makes only sense that marketing is there as well. BUT do you really know how much teenagers and kids are invested nowadays? In case you don’t know, a recent study shows that US teens recognise YouTubers more than mainstream celebrities.

Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part, they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is, therefore, the prerequisite for a significant presence there.” – Pope Benedict XVI

johnpaulii052wayDo not underestimate social media. In the quote above the former Pope Benedict XVI speaks about how social media is about human relationships and how important it is to understand that before jumping on the hashtag bandwagon. A poorly thought social media marketing strategy can cause more trouble than it is worth. They say that any kind of publicity is good publicity, but not on social media.

“Young people are threatened… by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire”. – Pope John Paul II

Be ethical. The question of ethics can be a complicated one. Most people would like to believe that it is a black and white issue, but in reality, there are many shades of grey. Ethics are influenced by geography, culture, politics and time, among other things. Still, there is an ethical advertising standard that marketers can adhere to.

Tips for Organizing a Spectacular Business Launch Party

Launch Party 2First, set your goals and invite the right people

Your PR team should take care of the journalists, media and influencers, but some of the work falls into your company’s hands as well. Don’t just invite the most high-powered or famous people you possibly can; instead, try to invite the right people for your business. That’s not necessarily the biggest name you can think of. For instance, is your goal to attract sales prospects? If so, get your sales team on board and invite their contacts.

Select carefully

You may think you know who your desired influencer is, but it might change when you do a deeper research on them. Be well aware of the gender and age group they’re popular with, which is not the same as the sector they’re popular with.

  • Do research on your potential influencer(s)
  • Approach those who cater to a niche audience of your interest

Launch partyIt is a symbiotic Relationship

Whenever you approach an influencer don’t forget about what you can offer in exchange for their promotion. Although some may charge for their services, this doesn’t necessarily mean money. Some may talk about about your product in exchange for a free sample, for example.

  • Develop a relationship with the influencer(s)
  • Compensate them (with money, free product sample, etc)
  • Encourage them to create content with your brand or product (review, haul, etc…)
  • Share their content

product-launch-partyGive your guests a reason to show up

OK, so your product is really cool and people are talking about it – that’s a good start. But that may not be enough to draw the people to your event, so make sure that your guests have a reason to come. The key to get people interested is either:

  • Being so famous for organising amazing parties or
  • Planning something so out ordinary that people have to check it out

Choose a cool location

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with holding your business launch at the same hotel as everyone else — it’s just wouldn’t be the most memorable location. That’s why many brands make an effort to think outside the box when they choose a venue for their launch party. By picking something that isn’t what people might be expecting, you’re on the way to creating a memorable experience.

Keep the event on-brand

Instead of doing what everyone else does, just do what makes sense for your company. Inject your personality into the event and show off what makes you and your company special. It shouldn’t be about what other people do. This night is all about you, so it should be about selling who you are and what your company’s mission is.

Launch Party 3Give a live demo

Your launch party is a celebration (we know, we like to dance and drink as well), but it is first and foremost a promotional event with some clear goals relating to your brand. Don’t forget to do something special at your launch event to illustrate to attendees what makes your product special and unique. Show people what your company offers that others don’t.

Encourage social media engagement

If you can go one step further, try to engage people on social media at the same time as you’re demonstrating their product. Let them try your product or service themselves to see what it can do. At the same time, encourage people to tweet and share photos of your product (custom hashtags are fun if you can come up with a good one), and you’ll be well on your way to a successful launch. That’s a great way to drive buzz and give journalists something to write about.

The League of Extraordinarily Rich Entrepreneurs

Walt DisneyWALT DISNEY AKA Laugh-O-Gram

Mr Disney is the bard of the group. He chants in battle to boost his teammates’ morale and, at the same time, inspire knee-trembling fear into his enemies. As a weapon, Walt wields pen and paper which allow him to sketch whatever his imagination fancies. His chants bring his creations to life to aid him and the rest of the league in battle. Walt’s charms are powerful, but they don’t last long. In order to endure, Mickey’s father must keep coming up with new ideas, constantly.

HENRY FORD AKA Captain Ford

The father of the modern car is the current leader of the League of Extraordinarily Rich Entrepreneurs. Kindly, but with a stern fist, he uses his leadership skills to lead his teammates to victory. Contrary to what most people believe, he is a pacifist preferring diplomacy over war. But Ford does go into battle from time to time and when he does, he uses a metal suit that allows him to transform into several different forms. Of course, there is a car shape that allows him to travel great distances on land, but his favourite one is a jet-pack that grants him the ability to fly.

Steve JobsSTEVE JOBS AKA Virtuoso

Steve Jobs uses his super-human intellect to help his team win battles before they even begin. The creator of the Mac computer spends most of his days, in a trance-like state, looking for answers to some of man kind’s most troubling questions. His enemies would rather not wake him up due to fear of his powers. Jobs uses his telekinetic and telepathic skills to fight and manipulate foes. When enraged, Apple’s father loses perspective and can act irrationally.

 

 

Mark ZuckerbergMARK ZUCKERBERG AKA Originator

His reclusive nature makes him probably the most mysterious of all the members of the League of Extraordinarily Rich Entrepreneurs. Using his knowledge of the “web”, Zuckerberg is able to tap into invisible electromagnetic fields and absorb their energy, ejecting it later as bolts of lighting (essentially transforming his body into a human firearm). While his loner tendencies may keep him safe most of the time, there are also times when a superhero needs allies and it’s in that moment when Originator struggles the most.

GUY KAWASAKI AKA The Evangelist

Every morning Kawasaki writes a book, gives a TED conference, posts on social media multiple times, and kung fues the living crap out of a bad guy before we, regular folk, even have our first cup of coffee. How does he do that? Well, super-human speed of course. The former Apple evangelist is so fast that he sometimes seems to be in different places at the same time. Kawasaki’s swiftness is not limited to his body, though. His brain works at light speed as well, knocking enemies down with flawless logic. The rest of the team would hate him if it wasn’t for the fact that he is so bloody charming.

How Startups Could Use Their Workspace More Efficiently

office-manager-hero-imageBreath Air

As one of the basic elements we need to survive, it’s not surprising that the air we breathe has an impact on or work. High quality air – air with low CO2 levels – has been found to boost brain power when compared to ‘conventional’ office air.

Clearly, altering air is not an easy thing to do, but a couple of modifications here and there can help: Adding plants to the office, encouraging people to take walks during lunch hour, or simply opening the windows will give your employees the opportunity to breathe higher quality air.

OfficeKeep it simple – Design

There are so many things you can do with an office space, it’s difficult to know where to start. What colour should the walls be? What furniture should we buy? Open plan or closed plan?

Science can’t provide all the answers but, if you’re in need of help, studies have found that people respond better to rounded furniture; the colors blue, green and red; and as for open plan offices, the majority of people think they’re a no-go.

 

Business meeting in an office

Feel like at home – Comfort

Physical and emotional comfort are important factors for an efficient office. Ergonomic equipment, such as a chair with lumbar support or a vertical mouse, and home comforts, such as cards and photographs, can help motivate employees.

You spend most of your waking life in the office so it makes sense to surround yourself with familiar and comfortable things!

 

office manager1Keep Low Noise

In a recent survey by Office Genie, a ‘quiet office’ and ‘remote working’ were ranked 6th and 7th in terms of their positive effect on productivity; falling behind monetary incentives such as pay rises and bonuses, but coming in ahead of health related factors such as exercise and a proper lunch. There is clearly an appetite for a quieter working environment and thankfully, a quiet working zone is easy to set up.

Listening to music, however, has been shown to improve mood and resourcefulness, showing that when noise is on your own terms, it can be a good thing.

Update yourself – Technology

When businesses rely so heavily on the internet, there is little worse than slow broadband or glitchy computer systems. Investing in your technology will pay on the long run: it cuts down on wasted time and employee stress. Hearing someone bash angrily away at a keyboard or frantically click a mouse isn’t anyone’s “dream” environment.

How to use advergaming as a small business

Advergaming_webBig brands have big bucks to throw at advergames, but how can small businesses compete with that? The answer lies in technology, namely in HTML5. You can design and build highly complex games with beautiful interfaces in HTML5 at an affordable cost, making it perfect for companies with a leaner marketing budget. HTML5 offers you the following advantages:

Inclusive: Web-based games only require a web browser and work on any platform, mobile device or desktop computer.

Instant play: Playing in the browser requires no app or software download and installation.

AdvergamingEase of publication: No need to wait for Apple or Google to approve your app. You simply publish on your website!

Promotion: App promotion is expensive, but to promote your website game, you can use your existing and developed marketing channels and the website itself.

Sharing: To share your game, players only have to copy and paste the URL. Social media, email, chat – it works a thousand ways. Instant win!

Data: You don’t have to measure data on different channels. On your own website, you implement the tracking, monitoring and analyses you want to evaluate the performance of your advergaming campaign.

Standards: Adopting HTML5 is widely encouraged across the web, especially with the focus on mobile. In fact, Microsoft and Google use advergames of their own to promote HTML5 – and their own browsers Edge and Chrome. Microsoft’s Rethink experiences let you play The Settlers of Catan in Catan anytime and Assassin’s Creed Pirates. Google publishes a slew games of their own, including The LEGO Game Build with Chrome as part of their Chrome Experiments.

Examples of advergaming

 

Food Burger KingBurger King

Burger King has also been behind some of the most popular advergaming titles in history. They created three games for Xbox that you could get with the purchase of a value meal for an extra $3.99. They were so popular in fact that they ended up being 2006’s best-selling video games during the holiday season. Rather than having revolutionary gameplay and graphics, Burger King’s games were just fun. They had a touch of humour and simple yet engaging gameplay. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to have a decent video game.

FIFA Football

This football-themed video game has been popular pretty much since it was released in 1993. Not only does it have lots of branding for the different football divisions around the world, but it’s also got tons of ads for brands. Coca-Cola, Sony and Visa are just a few of the brands you might see in their games. A lot of the advertising is incorporated subtly in places that their players are already trained to see ads in football matches. That means it doesn’t seem invasive or odd, but the message still gets across.

The benefits of advergaming for a Brand

Advergames use the interactive and social components of games to the advantage of a brand. Here are some of the main benefits they offer to brands:

AdvergamingRaise brand awareness: You play games in your free time, and a player’s levels of attention are high when they’re playing a video game. You can harness that power with subtle placements of your brand and product. A custom advergame can tell a story about your company in an unobtrusive yet engaging way.

Positive brand interaction: When done right, advergaming continuously and effectively exposes the brand to the player in a way that is neither aggressive nor invasive. Instead, playing creates a positive experience associated with the brand.

advergaming-hero-imageFollowers: Advergames can help build true fans who are potential leads and can convert to loyal customers. The marketing feels less intrusive, because it is up to the players to choose when they play and interact with the brand.

Promotional opportunities: Don’t stuff your advergame with sales and offers – any overkill can turn off gamers. Yet there are subtle ways to add in just the right level of promotions and rewards (like discounts or coupons) into games.

 

MCD FarmvilleData and research: Games are an alternate reality and offer you nearly ideal circumstances to test drive new products and ideas. Marketing strategies that wouldn’t work offline can work well in advergames. You can use things like sign-ups, sharing and polls to collect valuable data from players.

Good games go viral: Advergames can make it really simple for the players to talk about the game (and the brand) on social media. Games often have shortcuts so players can do things like share scoreboards, show off achievements and compete with friends online. Players spread the word for you when they like your game.

Great reach through games: You think video games are just for boys? Think again. Today, the average gamer’s age is 30, and 45% of them are female. The gaming industry is raking in over $100 billion per year, and roughly 20% of the market share falls to mobile and social games. The wide-reaching marketplace offers you great potential to reach your target audience.