What are online games/virtual worlds?
What is your impression of online games and
2.They scare me
3.I’m intrigued, but have little experience with
4.I have played around in them a bit
Who are these people?
Source: 2006 Survey of City of
Heroes/City of Villains players
Playful activity ca n ta ke m any forms beyond gam eplay, and aspects of games like challenges and
rewards ca n be applied as motivating forces behind many initiatives . Hum an beings have been
engineered for play, and these types of non -linear experiences are peculiarly satisfying.
Re-think the need to control
Control is becom ing impossible . Focus instead on shaping experiences , fostering community, designing
for em ergent behaviour. Use a gardening metaphor: it is all about planting seeds , pruning and
fertilizing a s necessary. What happens when you cut something? It either dies or grows back
however it wa nts to. Exerting influence over brand communities is about subtlety, not power.
Involvement is crucial
Consumers are no longer pa ssive consum ers of fabricated brand stories . They are intim ately involved
with their bra nds , a nd will em brace the ones they love as integral parts of their lives . One of the
things players find so appealing about gam es is that they can exercise their sense of agency. Figure
out ways to show your customers that you value their involvement . If they can see the culmination of
that involvement in your products , all the better.
Go to where they are
A funda mental cha ra cteristic of com munity is that it is organic. Be willing to seek out relevant
comm unities where they a rise spontaneously, even if it m eans relinquishing control. Use com munity
mem bers a s resources .
Transparency and authenticity are good, even when things are bad
Those who enga ge with your bra nd , either positively or negatively do so because they have passion for it .
Recognize that even ba d sentiment can be turned into som ething positive . Adm it your m istakes , be
tra nspa rent a bout ma king cha nge , involve your comm unities in such decisions .
Leverage the power of crowdsourcing
While relinquishing control can be scary, the upside is that there are m illions of people whose opinions
and productive play ca n be harnessed to a brand ’s benefit .
Vir tual spaces are more than replicas of physical spaces
Think creatively a bout the use of virtual space to allow activity beyond what is possible in physical space .
Think a bout eliminating the limitations of our physical lives and m agnifying what ’s good , for instance
by m aking your orga niza tion more accessible .
Activity binds communities
A com munity will not flourish without som e sort of activity to bind participants together. Think about
ways to stim ula te your comm unities to engage with you and with each other. Challenges and
activities ca n mea n your com munity becom es interdependent , and this interdependence is exactly
what leads to stickiness
These are power ful marketing vehicles, but be socially conscious about
Most consum ers respect a dvertising models based on getting content for free , and som e appreciate the
sense of realism that com es from seeing real-world brands in their favourite games . However, when
children a re involved , sensitivity must be the watch -word . Instead , think about ways to build
com munity a round your bra nds and leverage the power of the crowd to get your message out there .
Ever yone likes games
In Korea , ga me -playing is m uch like watching movies is to us , everyone does it . The difference is that
there a re options to a ccommoda te a wide range of interests .
There ’s been a para digm shift from spectating to participation , so marketing and research online needs
to respect tha t a nd help consum ers experience involvement and personal agency in the research
Consider ways to leverage the trends in your research projects