May 31st, 2012 by Tim Greenhalgh
My younger son introduced me to an intensely addictive mobile game this week, one that reminded me of the extraordinary power of brand and reinforced the way I think about brand reputation.
Itâ€™s not a game that is red-hot from the coder oven ( I think this version was April launch) but the fact that a 19-year-old likes it enough to tell his Dad ( aka Old Man Slow to Understand) about it is an indication of the mental space that brands occupy in his head, and mine.
If youâ€™ve been there and done that, my apologies but â€œLogoQuizâ€ is the game and I have watched much less TV because of it. The game environment is 2D and simply displays elements of brand logos that you have to name by entering that in a text field.
The game mechanic is so simple that it hurts (display, guess, gain, move on up â€“ buy). You make up the game narrative in your head as you go along. The revenues come from ads and upsells. I havenâ€™t been sold yet but pretty sure that I will be. Game genius!
Hereâ€™s the thing â€“ you can cheat soooo easily, just by looking up the potential brand names on Google images. Â But that destroys the point, the fun and means that itâ€™s game over. Game genius!
You could play it as a team but my son was not up for that at all. Itâ€™s about the singular effort, getting there solo.
The fact that it is a simple, brilliant game (so retro, so new) also means that it has tapped an energy that is much greater than the game concept and mechanic themselves. I think this energy derives from the power of The Brand in popular culture.
And thatâ€™s where I came in. LogoQuiz reminded me that the power of branding, expressed in its strongest form through the logo, runs through our emotional pathways, informs our thoughts and choices, and at best creates beautiful, desirable objects.
What I found most interesting about playing the game were my emotional, atavistic responses to the brand logos. Those brands that I felt good about, or had bad feelings about were easier to get right than those I had no emotional connection with.
The game reinforced my feelings about the brands I instinctively did not like because it prompted thoughts about why the brand was â€œbadâ€. Conversely, the brands I liked took a dose of â€œmore feelgoodâ€.Â The game details areÂ here.
We know that the brand can be assaulted on all sides and that there is an absolute need to manage its reputation. This is so much more difficult now, what with the web and everything (;). The propulsive force of a brand, driven by one-way messages embodied in the brand logo has been checked by audiences who, passive by historic constraint, have found that they have assumed power.
Their power is relative and highly creative and works through a new and unique dialogue. The Branded become something much more useful and relevant to the brand; they inform and reform the brand â€“ they make it better because more closely aligned to evolving needs and desires.
This exchange is still quite rare. Far too many business siloes, believe or not, are built from Unobtanium, a lethal metal that allows ideas to permeate out but deflects every idea coming in. In this way, they reinforce the Myth of Brand Control. The few who have dismantled the containers and opened themselves to the dialogue are making the greatest gains.
Finally, LogoQuiz reminded me of the almost supernatural power of the image. A fragment of a logo can tell the whole story and I read fragments very well. Much in the same way that, if you take a line of text and cover up the bottom half, most people will still be able to read and understand it. If you cover up the top half of the text, most people struggle to understand.
Visual is as visual does. Long live the logo, long live the dialogue!