Brand affection. It’s arguably the most meaningful measure of all — and the trickiest to win. In this live mobile gaming roundtable from GamesBeat, find out what it takes to build an audience of obsessive players who keep coming back for more.
“A successful brand is something people have an emotional attachment with,” says Philip Hickey, VP of marketing and communications at mobile gaming company Seriously. “And that engaged audience is ultimately what builds your brand–and brands are what cut through these days in a very crowded market.”
Seriously is a relative newcomer, founded in late 2013 and releasing its flagship title, Best Fiends, in 2014, but they’ve been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. Approaching the game’s two-year birthday in October, it’s also approaching 45 million downloads, and seeing 2.35 million people playing daily around the globe.
Hickey credits the game’s success with the player’s engagement with not just the game, coming back daily, weekly, and monthly, but how they leap into the community that surrounds the game.
“We put a massive amount of emphasis on growing and maintaining and engaging with the community,” Hickey says. “We want to take those players who want to engage with us and we want to create great conversation and grow community, building that ecosystem of game and community.”
They’ve got over a million fans on Facebook, over 500K on Instagram, a couple hundred thousand on Twitter, and a 100,000 on their newly-launched YouTube channel. Even their Snapchat stories have 150K views each time.
“And that leads to things like word of mouth and reengagement grows through that,” Hickey explains. “It’s the most powerful tool for new people coming into the community and associating and playing with the brand.”
A community like that doesn’t just emerge out of the ether, fully grown, though — and expecting it to, and failing to nurture its growth, is a major error.
“The biggest mistake is not having a two-way conversation,” says Hickey. “I see so many people make this mistake, time and time again, that they post something and they never react, they never acknowledge that fans have posted back or they’re afraid to have an open conversation.”
They listen when their fans petition for particular features — they recently adapted the energy system in response to fan requests—and they offer frequent opportunities to fans to choose which characters they’d like to see more of in game updates and side quests.
And they take bug reports and complaints very seriously as well. “What we probably do a bit different than a lot of companies is we consider support part of the marketing team because it’s a direct interface with the consumer, and a very important one,” Hickey says.
From day one, he says, they promised it would always be a two-way conversation with their fans, no matter what. “We’d acknowledge when they’re happy with the games, and we’d also acknowledge and openly discuss if they’re not happy with something as well,” he says. “That’s equally as important. It’s very scary at first. But if you set that tone, especially from the beginning, it makes a world of difference in building a community and an engaged audience that can last a long time.”
To learn more about how to build a brand that fans fall in love with, join Hickey, VB’s Dean Takahashi and YouTube’s Eli Danziger in our third installment of the GamesBeat Building Games Communities series.
In this VB Live event, you’ll:
- Learn how to use YouTube and other channels to drive brand awareness for mobile games
- Find the right time to invest in brand awareness marketing in your mobile game lifecycle
- Understand the right KPIs to measure ROI on awareness marketing
Our esteemed panel for this rockstar discussion includes:
- Matt Marshall, CEO, VentureBeat
- Rob Singer, CMO, Smule
- Phil Hickey, VP Marketing and Communications, Seriously Digital Entertainment
- Eli Danziger, product manager, YouTube
- Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, GamesBeat
This VB Live event is sponsored by Google.