Brand Loyalty (was Re: [MUD-Dev] Requirements for MM (wasComplexities of MMOG Servers))
amanda at alfar.com
Wed Jan 1 13:23:26 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003
On Monday, December 23, 2002, at 05:42 PM, <szii at sziisoft.com> wrote:
> From: "Caliban Tiresias Darklock" <caliban at darklock.com>
>> Which leads to the obvious question: what should game companies
>> do to *create* brand loyalty? [...]
> More importantly, what can they do to *KEEP* brand loyalty. [...]
Nothing. Brand loyalty is not under brand-owner's control.
Branding is a strange beast. A strong brand has a lot of value.
However, a strong brand is an effect of a strong business, not a
cause of it. This, of course, was the big fallacy of the dotcom
boom: "First, we create strong brand, then we go make some
products." It doesn't work that way. The brands that generate the
most customer loyalty are the brands associated with organizations
that deliver the most customer value to their particular customer
base the most consistently.
Take gaming. Id Software has such a strong brand not because of
brand promotion, but because they make really good games for a
particular market. If they made a dud, it would dilute the brand,
possibly even more than it would for weaker brands, because customer
expectation is high.
I imagine that the SOE folks are feeling this pressure for SWG,
since there are actually two brands at risk if it's a dud: SOE and
Brand loyalty, in the end, is a reward that customers give you. You
can't buy it, you can't keep it, you can't manufacture it. All you
can do is earn it, day after day. This is hard.
It's also easier in a niche. Achaea and Furcadia have very strong
brands because they're not trying to be everything to everyone. The
narrower your focus, the fewer compromises you have to make.
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