A new media brand looking to extend into consumer products should have unique, compelling characters with depth of content and worlds. Ideally, the brand should also be capable of extending to TV, YouTube or other mediums, where supporting material will be essential. Expect to need a style guide or brand bible that outlines the proper use of the graphics and characters for products and packaging. You will need to be able to communicate the brandís DNA and share usable assets with your partners.
Having millions of active users doesnít guarantee a successful extension into consumer products, especially if you arenít communicating to them. This is a big mistake that successful properties make. Tens or even hundreds of millions of users automatically translate into a hunger at retail. To your licensing or sponsorship partners, the most desirable equity of a social network, app or game is the engagement it has with its audience. And with levels of user engagement being so high comes brand awareness and brand affinity. Your users are ready for you to share the launch of your licensed products so they can experience your brand beyond the device. Use Push Notification or promote consumer products on your website to drive awareness and purchase. Or use traditional marketing, promotions and advertising -- that still works, as well!
The growth of smartphone usage directly impacted the invention and growth of the app marketplace; the introduction of unlimited data plans has fueled it. Smartphone users expect more from their devices and apps deliver this. The smartphone user will be equally demanding when purchasing real-world product based on new media properties, so finding ways to reward the consumer in the same way an app does is key. What added in-game benefit can a consumer receive from purchasing your licensed products -- exclusive content, an augmented reality experience, advancements in-game? These benefits, and others like them, are something no traditional consumer or entertainment brand can offer, and if you can partner with a sole retailer who will add additional marketing support, even better. Cross-promotion can be a powerful marketing tool.
Know your brandís demographic
The simplicity of micro transactions makes purchasing any app or game accessible to everyone. When developing products for your consumer audience, be realistic. Licensed products developed around the significant popularity of a low price point game app should be accessible to everyone, but this doesnít mean compromising on quality. Know who your target audience is, so you will know how to create and market consumer products that they will enjoy. Be prepared to be asked this question: Are you offering toys to young children, or gaming accessories to young adults? Unlike in the app store, broad demographics can be confusing to prospective partners and retailers. Your target audience for consumer products isnít ďall age groups.Ē
New media brands extending into consumer products is a clear trend, and as consumers continue to become comfortable with advances in technology, even more properties will make this leap. Children have access to smartphones and tablets at a much younger age and many do not see a difference between the character on their mobile screen and the character on their TV. Itís all entertainment. And retailers are beginning to understand this dynamic as well. But itís still a new frontier in ďentertainmentĒ marketing, so do your homework, invest in whatís necessary and be prepared.