Life Is A Game
July 19, 2011
It was my buddy (and legendary voice talent) Nick Michaels who said to me once, "Life is all about games/sports, stories (telling or listening), or music (singing or dancing)."
So simple, but so profound.
Just look at the social networking sites, mobile applications and other technology being introduced today and you'll notice the successful ones have one of these areas firmly centered around its central mission.
So how do you use this simple knowledge to make an impact for you and your brand?
Let's look at games/sports this week.
Games and sport (contests) are not new to anyone. They have used them to make appointments, drive traffic, and create occasions of listening for many years. They have been used to create stunts that generated publicity for brands. They have been used as a team building activity or exercise. They have been used to bring people together in a social environment for good -- and sometimes, not so good -- reasons.
The best games or sports allow us to participate without really participating.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Forrester introduced Social Technographics, a way to analyze people's social technology behavior. It found that companies should start with a target audience and determine what kind of relationship you want to build with them, based on what they are ready for. You'll see the research shows that the largest majority of your audience are still spectators or joiners right now and may never comment, share, post, RT and so on.
So you have to think about it from what I call the Jeopardy! factor.
How can I get someone to play along, to be engaged, and to anticipate "what's next" without possibly ever meeting them in person, or having them respond to something I post, tweet and so on?
It's not to say, you don't want them to take an absolute action, but if they choose otherwise, there is enough depth to still get something out of the moment.
My recommendation is to start slowly by establishing some (or a) benchmarks and features that make it easy for your audience to make an appointment to visit at least once a day/week to spend another occasion with the brand.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf folks do a good job of this with their Wordless Wednesday, where fans and followers are encouraged play the game by posting pictures and videos to express themselves vs. writing words on one day each week.
How about these examples to get you started on this type of Game/Sport idea.
Beat The Bomb Days -- Have a graphic of a ticking time bomb and users have to simply post what time today they believe the bomb may explode to win something -- or the bomb explosion reveals something more??
"Oh Wow" or "So What? -- Post headlines each morning (or at a designated time each day) and ask users to take the poll.
Storyteller Tuesday -- Feature an artist, a politician, a newsmaker, etc. and tell their story through posts, pictures, video, and more each week.
Featured App Thursday -- Talk about a new application each week that is relevant to your audience.
Motivation Monday -- Have users share their favorite motivation quotes each week.
Top Tweet Tuesday -- Have folks share their favorite tweets each week.
Tweet it or Trash It -- a new way to think about a new music challenge, or even headlines in the news.
Search Saturday or Sunday ? Post a name and have others Google it and share something they discovered. Great way to reinforce artists, personalities and so on.
I'm sure you'll think of many ideas that are local and relevant for you. The key as always is to balance it against your brand purpose and always have fun.