We just sent five of our key thinkers here at 22squared to grown-up spring break: the SXSW Interactive Conference.
They came back buzzing about gamification and the ‘game layer’ that will soon become a part of everyday life. “Checking in” on Foursquare is no longer a novelty, and savvy brands now harness the power of games and play to incite word of mouth. Which leads us to our 4th talkable work strategy, Encourage Play.
What is play, really? It’s part of our human nature–we’re inherently competitive, and when we engage in competition, however large or small, we want to win and we want to make sure people KNOW that we’ve won. And, as Charlie Sheen shows us, winning = talk. That’s all well and good, you’re telling yourself, but what does that have to do with making my brand talk?
It’s pretty simple, actually: if you give your consumers a platform for competition, reward them for their efforts and make it easy for them to share their victory, they’ll want to spread the word.
Here are some of my favorite examples of brands that are harnessing play in effective, innovative ways:
Puma: As I said before, it’s human nature…people are competitive, and they want to win. So Puma introduced the life scoreboard as a way for people to win in ways they’d never been able to quantify before. They could keep score in all aspects of life: who’s the better cook? who’s worse, reality stars or socialites? What’s going to prevail, me or my hangover? They turned life into one big “quasi-serious” game, and gave consumers a sharable online platform to announce their victories.
Mini Getaway: Mini staged a week long virtual scavenger hunt through Stockholm, with a very real reward; a new car. Players searched for an augmented reality “Mini” via GPS, captured its location with a photo, and got out of there as fast as they could, before their opponents could “steal” it by taking a picture at the same location. The player with the Mini on their phone at the end of the week was the victor, and in the process, Mini got an entire city talking about their brand.
AT SXSW, Seth Priebatsch (Chief Ninja at SCVNGR) gave a fantastic talk on the implications of a game layer on society at large. If you ever have an extra hour (yeah right, I know), watch it here on the SXSW Interactive site.
The million-dollar question: How can we create advertising that makes people talk? Rather than wing it, we’ve come up with 8 strategic techniques. #3 is Market a Belief.
Consumers are more conscientious than ever, and people respond to brands that share their values. From sustainability, to community efforts, to crisis relief, to health issues, brands that plug in are winning. Here are some of my favorite examples:
Pedigree. They believe every dog deserves a great life. Every bag you buy helps dogs get adopted. Wait, doesn’t every dog food maker care about dogs? Maybe. But Pedigree owns it.
Pepsi Refresh Project. Funded by a Superbowl spot they didn’t run, Pepsi instead invited the little do-gooders of the world to pitch their ideas, vote, and get funded. This is too broad for most brands, but for the mass audience Pepsi has, this “every cause welcome” strategy works. People talk about their own ideas. They ask their friends for votes. And Pepsi is in the middle of every belief-based conversation.
Dove. In the shallow beauty industry, this campaign stands out. Dove believes that Real Beauty is worth more than what’s skin deep, and celebrates every woman. The natural extension is their teen self-esteem fund, building preference by people who share these more meaningful values.
How can your brand do it? Here are four tips for marketing a belief:
The biggest win for a Belief brand may be improving the world, but hey; if people buy your brand for it, and talk to everyone they know about it, well, that’s a very happy byproduct. Do it right, and they won’t just believe in their cause, they’ll believe in your brand.
For more thoughts on When and How a brand should Market a Belief, check out our official Slideshare on all 8 strategies of talk-worthy work.