by R.A. Rowell; Lover of Well Crafted Gamification
If you want to learn some branding hacks, just watch what cereal companies and toy companies do when they market to kids. One of the ways that they can get kids hooked on products is through online games. Gamification is a very strong method of brand building. While branded games have been around for decades, online games are so easy to access nowadays that they’ve become invaluable in marketing products to kids.
The idea of fan clubs has been around for centuries. But, with online gaming, brands have taken them to a brand new level. It used to be the work of television commercials to make kids feel like they can’t live without a certain cereal, candy, or toy. But now, commercials can instead get kids to ask their parents to visit a brand’s web site and sign up to play some free games. Then, kids invite their friends to play, too.
Many of these online gaming fan clubs also allow kids to chat with their friends and even make new friends through their gaming platform. In fact, some of these brand fan clubs are so successful that paid memberships are sometimes even available. This is cheap advertising for brands and it gets a lot of exposure to young, pliable minds who can become loyal brand customers and advocates for life. Brands can even make a little extra money through this loyalty.
But, this sort of gamification isn’t just for marketing to kids. Really, any brands can create fun destinations for people of all ages. Making your brand synonymous with recreation can make it come alive in ways you may not have ever imagined. It’s possible to make just about any brand website be colorful and animated without being too cartoonish or overwhelming. Then, create content that people from anywhere will flock to and enjoy.
The same sort of “herd mentality” that cereal, candy, and toy brands have used to build brand loyalty in kids can work with just about anything. It’s actually a bit surprising that more brands, especially those that deal with ecommerce, haven’t gotten more creative in making their own online gaming experiences. However, many brands have created “members-only” areas like fan clubs with exclusive content. Amazon did this with Prime, offering a vast array of entertainment in addition to many other benefits such as two day shipping, all for a low monthly fee. But, it’s possible to go much further.
Basically, you don’t want your site to just be where someone goes to learn more about a product or buy something. You want your brand to have loyal fans that come back often to consume new content, play games, or both. Your brand should become a destination that people get excited about. Obviously, you want to tie the experience to your brands and services, too, but in a fun and creative way that doesn’t feel like you’re hard-selling to people.
Want to become a Brand Hero? But, not sure where or how to start? Hire the branding experts with Brand Shamans and we’ll show you how!
by R.A. Rowell; Personal Branding Professional
Naming your brand is like naming a child. That brand name is how people will refer to what you do and sell. As your brand grows up, you want it to be a name to be proud of. You want to pick a brand name that will be linked with success, profitability, or hopefully both.
Your brand name is more important than any other part of branding. It's even more important than your actual products and services. A brand name is how the public recognizes you or your business. It’s what sets you apart from anyone else.
What’s in a Brand Name?
By having a catchy name, people will immediately recognize your brand. Picking a good brand name allows customers or clients to be able to connect with your business on an emotional level. How you choose your name is actually fairly open. Some might say that your brand name should have something directly to do with your product or service. But you can also choose a name based on how it makes people feel or how memorable it is.
Whatever name you pick, you want it to be unique. You don’t want a name that’s too similar to another well-known brand. That may confuse people. Confusing people is definitely not a good way to do business.
What you want to do is have a brand name people remember and that people instantly recognize. This is extremely important in advertising. It’s also important to building brand loyalty. If you have too generic a name, say “Bob’s Hobby Shop,” that won't get people very excited. It might work in a small town, perhaps. But, in today’s global economy, if you’re looking to expand your business beyond your local downtown, you need a brand name that's a lot catchier.
How Does a Good Brand Name Build Loyalty?
A good brand name will stick in consumers’ minds as an entity. You want your brand to be thought of as a real, tangible thing with its own spirit, values, and purpose. People can become extremely loyal to a brand. Just look at Coke. They are probably the best out there at brand building. The Coke brand is so well-known and easily recognized that they can cross-brand and put their name on just about anything. If you choose a highly marketable name and build your brand well enough, you can put your brand name on just about anything, too.
Brand recognition also creates more loyal customers, as they come to think of your brand as they would a friend. More loyal customers mean higher revenues, and more importantly, more repeat business. For any business, repeat customers means your brand is doing well. It’s been found that it takes five times as much money (or more in some industries) to gain a new customer than retaining an existing customer. That’s why brand loyalty is so important; you don’t have to work as hard to keep the cash flowing.
Choose the right brand name and you'll succeed. Even rebrand and pick a new brand name if you have to. Getting the brand name right is the most important thing you will ever do in your business.
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Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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