Mobile gaming is the new frontier. Here’s how to play ball without spending a fortune.
Even the best entrepreneurial ideas fall flat without one thing: customers. Finding loyal, repeat buyers can be a challenge in a highly distracted world, but attracting their attention and pocketbooks begins with looking for them in the right place. In a landline world, growing a customer base meant direct mail campaigns or maybe an ad slot during a popular television show. Today, customers have gone digital and so have the advertisements that hook them.
To keep up, entrepreneurs and startups need cost-effective solutions to gain consumer interest, grow brand awareness and position themselves in the center of the true future of advertising: digital media buying.
The Challenge of Creative Advertising
Mobile gaming has become a lucrative business that has a significant footprint in global economies, with Japan, the United States, China and South Korea alone accounting for almost 75 percent of the global mobile gaming market.
As the birthplace of gaming goliaths Nintendo, Pokémon, SEGA and Sony, Japan is known for its creative marketing and advertising strategies and novel approaches to selling a product, which includes focusing more on the celebrity or the unusual to evoke emotion, rather than push for a hard sell. All that creativity has made Japan one of the largest advertising markets worldwide, possessing 22 percent of global mobile game player spending, with advertising accounting for one percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
With this emerging category, harnessing consumer interest and engagement is now more affordable than the traditional advertising game used to be. However, Western brands eager to advertise in the localized Japanese gaming market need a knowledgeable ad agency who can shepherd them to ensure they resonate with this unique ecosystem. By understanding that the Japanese advertising culture is in itself its own subculture, gaming brands with roots in other countries might find these socio-cultural elements to be an enigma. Crossing cultural borders is a delicate dance, and a homogenous marketing approach won’t work—and, in fact, may do irreparable damage instead—so an experienced guide is a must.
Choosing the Right Mentor
Matching advertising tone, theme and ambience to the end user is critical. Digital media firm Septeni specializes in bringing Western gaming entrepreneurs into Japanese markets by serving as more than translator, but as a true partner in understanding the Japanese audience and crafting the digital strategy to reach them. Western audiences and Japanese markets, for instance, have vastly different opinions about what conveys dominance and power. In the U.S., that domineering brand personality would be linked to muscles, height and an intimidating sneer. In Japan, on the hand, that same message might include a brand personality that is slender, beautiful and hard-working.
While no person or market is one-dimensional, how the values of strength, power, humor, bravery, hospitality or sacrifice are portrayed can change drastically across cultural and market boundaries and is highly dependent on the person receiving the message more so than the person or brand delivering it.
Learning to navigate creative success within the Japanese market is the key to building meaningful connections with this highly sought-after audience. To do that, companies need to lock arms with an industry mentor who has worked with top mobile apps and knows how to walk them through the complicated international media buying landscape to provide affordable solutions for heightening brand awareness and driving customer acquisition and engagement.