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Three minute medicine

From games producer to entertainment revolutionary

People want the real thing. Today, with millions of games to choose from on iOS and Google Play stores, there are few brands you can really trust. When King came to us, it was clear that what they offered was a real gem: games genuinely made to fit around players’ lives.  

The new brand celebrates this vision, making it clear that wherever technology is going – King will remain a seal of quality and trust.

Over the last year we’ve been through three key steps to rebrand a pure-player and make it appealing beyond the computer screen.

 

1. Disrupt categories, say hello to Snackable Entertainment

When we [venturethree] started to work with King.com eight months ago, their most popular game was Bubble Witch Saga, a casual social game on Facebook. The online gaming industry was growing at an incredible pace and most companies were focused on the same thing: social gaming. Entertainment company Disney bought gaming studio Playdom to create social games, games producer EA was adding social components to its popular title Sim City, and Zynga was buying a database of users and using data to drive revenues. Despite the fact that everyone was talking about social gaming, it still remained an area that we felt was seriously lacking any emotion or fun.

However, we saw games as something inherently social anyway. And it was clear that the likes of Angry Birds were tapping into something far greater than Facebook social graphs. So, instead of following a taken path, we focused on building a new category entirely.

We conducted in-depth ethnographic research amongst players. We identified that players were getting tired of resource management games like Farmville that take up lots of time. We also learnt that Draw Something was attracting limited players due to its low level of competitiveness. In a few weeks, we were able to nail down why King games were so special. One theme that particularly stood out was how they were designed to fit within players’ busy lives, providing excitement and entertainment in bursts of as little as three minutes.

King designs games by leveraging constant feedback from their users. It’s more a co-creative than a set-in-stone process. King has a simple business strategy – to move the most popular of the 150-plus games on its well-established King.com website to mobile and social platforms.

venturethree’s global experience with media and entertainment brands meant that partnering up with King made for a perfect match. We soon realised King is about entertainment, and it’s right at the edge of a new form of digital entertainment: three minutes of magic whenever you want, wherever you want it. We named this new category Snackable Entertainment, which allows King to sit at the forefront of a completely new space. One where technology meets creativity and entertainment. In this space, King has the potential to become the Pixar of the connected world.

 

2. Built to last with Bitesize Brilliance

Growth in mobile usage has helped King attract 108m unique players a month who play more their games more than 12bn times over the same period. Six months ago, Bubble Witch Saga was debuting on mobile and we were downloading test versions of Candy Crush Saga on our iPhones. Today, the game has completely changed. Candy Crush Saga is at the forefront of the business, with Android and Asia a huge part of its growth. None of these assets were there six months ago.

We rapidly realised that there was no need for the brand to play catch-up. Instead, its role was to stand as a beacon throughout change. It was all about the big idea, not the details.

Bitesize Brilliance is a philosophy for the King brand that is unique and strong enough to support the rapid growth of the company as well as its changing environment. Whether you’re in charge of advertising, talent acquisition or sales, Bitesize Brilliance gives you a clear focus on where to go next.

The digital legacy of King results in a very unique way of doing things. We brought the legacy to life through a set of values. Values that celebrate the democratic creative process as much as the player-centric vision, all ingredients unique to the King heritage and culture. We removed the “.com” to signal the shift to multi-platform experiences, and created a brand fit for today.

And though the market may very well be completely different in six months time, Bitesize Brilliance was built to last and it’s here to stay.

 

3. An identity that acts as a device

When it comes to the brand’s visual identity, we started with a focus on making it work on a 16 x 16 pixels space; with the brand likely to appear on mobile screens, app stores and Facebook pages. We wanted to make sure that the King brand complimented the game content and allowed the games themselves to be the hero: with King acting as a seal of quality, just like the MGM lion before the start of a film.

We created a Bitesize Brilliant logo that is both a name and a crown. One that speaks volumes for what King is about. You may not notice the crown at first, and that doesn’t matter. But for those who do see it, it makes it even more special. It’s a super playful logo, packed with the magic that the games exude. We wanted to create an identity that was screen-proof too, and the orange background colour really stands out in the busy world of gaming.

In the same spirit, we created a distinctive tone of voice for the brand through the use of six-word stories. According to legend, Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story with depth and meaning within a six-word limit. His response was: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Emotional and intriguing, Hemingway proved how much can be said with such a small amount of words. He said it was the greatest story he ever wrote. And in a space that is overloaded with copy, we thought it could a great way for King to stand out and capture attention. And deliver on the idea of bitesize brilliance.


Digital isn’t the question, what matters is understanding your entertainment capital.

Throughout our journey with King, we realised that rethinking a pure-player brand actually had little to do with technology. Aside from the fact that the brand you create lives mostly on screens, the most important factor is to create a brand that is stronger than its own environment. As a business you want a brand to be the best asset for growth, and that goes beyond being digital. We believe this comes by understanding what your brand entertainment capital is.

Trying to predict the future is a waste of time. Its evolution and transformation is much bigger and faster than all predictions will ever be. What matters is to find your inner strengths, those that can drive success in a fluid and changing context.

To that effect, your best asset is a simple idea to disrupt the expected and catch peoples’ attention.

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