TriplePoint is teaching a series of workshops on the basics of PR this summer in San Francisco. Intended for entrepreneurs and useful for anyone who wants to understand how PR works, the classes are offered in partnership with Parisoma. An incubator and coworking space, Parisoma has a great education and mentorship program that we’re proud to be part of! Continue reading Join TriplePoint for PR Workshops at Parisoma This Summer!
Author: Eddiemae Jukes
SXSWi – Embracing Chaos for Marketing Success
TriplePoint joined more than 19,000 people for the largest South by Southwest Interactive yet. With nearly 36% more attendees than last year, and talk of capping registration for 2012 so growth doesn’t become unmanageable, SXSWi produced a fire hose of marketing messages. From big brands like Pepsi and Chevy, to entrepreneurs hitching a ride on the StartupBus, everyone was vying for mindshare within the social media community.
Making sense of the madness? Our take is that SXSWi successes embraced the chaos to drive brand awareness. A few examples:
- Foursquare’s “Golden Ticket” party – Rather than just letting anyone RSVP for free music and beer at their party, foursquare gave tickets only to those who unlocked the Golden Ticket achievement. The steps: Follow the event performer (Big Boi) on foursquare, check into locations around Austin, unlock the badge and get two tickets. This put their brand at the heart of the event – rather than just printed on a cup.
- Hashable and death to business cards – This “ultimate networking app” provides a quick, easy way to track relationships with other social media users, so it was perfect for the SXSWi crowd. Their marketing campaign centered on SXSWi, but didn’t start there – they got users on board via a series of events over several months, and SXSWi was the culmination (and ultimate use case) rather than the end-all of their launch.
- GroupMe – The SXSW Breakout Award winner was also perfectly suited for SXSWi-goers. GroupMe garnered fans and positive social media sentiment (59% positive according to AdAge and People Browsr’s report) by providing a simple, easy and effective tool for navigating the craziness. @GroupMe #love
- iPad 2 pop-up store – Apple dropped an iPad 2 pop up store in the center of SXSW activity. A constant line outside the shop, plus happy new owners everywhere, kept the device front-and-center.
We’re interested to see if SXSWi buzz leads to mass adoption, and we’ll be booking our trip (early) for next year.
Bolt’s Pocket God Continues App Store Domination
More than a year after its initial launch, Pocket God continues to top the App Store charts with over two million copies sold. Bolt Creative’s Dave Castelnuovo and Allen Dye keep the craze, well, crazy, through clever content updates, community engagement and tons of humor.
The benevolent deities on the PR team help keep Pocket God‘s name in lights through quality media hits. Here’s a recap of the latest and greatest:
Venture CES Edition – Broadcast and Online (1/22)
Dave Castelnuovo speaks on the Pocket God demographic, pricing strategy and the future of the brand.
Episode 42, Part 2 – Broadcast and Online (1/31)
Dave joins the weekly Silicon Valley news roundtable to discuss app development and the iPad.
The New York Times
“For Gamers, the iPhone is a Player” – Online (1/27) and Print (1/28)
Dave comments on the power of the iPhone as a gaming device.
“Popular iPhone App Pocket God Possibly Coming to Android” – Online (1/8)
Dave discusses the Nexus One, Android and Pocket God’s future.
The Sunday Times
“Apps generation could make second killing from Apple’s iPad” – Print and Online (1/31)
Bolt on how Pocket God came to be, and the iPad opportunity.
“iPhone Game Devs Give Us Their Thoughts on the iPad” – Online (1/28)
“Bolt Creative’s Castelnuovo: iPad is the Ultimate Virtual Chess Board” – Online 1/28
“Pocket God Micro-Review: Heaven or Hell?” – Online 1/19
“Pocket God is more than a simple time killer. It excels at some of the best the iPod/iPhone has to offer and does so brilliantly. While the players are put in the role of god, the real divine work here is the workman-like craft and development that went into making this title.”
For more insights into what works for Bolt, and how indie developers can achieve their own success on a tight budget, be sure to check out Dave’s GDC talk next week!
TriplePoint Participates in the Italian Videogame Conference (IVDC)
This fall, Kate Pietrelli and I were invited to give a talk at the Italian Videogame Conference (IVDC) on the subject of PR for independent game developers. Always up for an adventure and eager to address one of our favorite topics, we headed to Milan, Italy, where the event was held at IULM University.
The conference took an academic approach, with presentations on the state of the Italian industry, how to evolve it, and instructional talks geared towards students. It was practical, with was a sense of urgency about advancing the business and art of videogames in Italy. Here are a few takeaways:
Growth via education
According to many speakers and attendees, videogames are not taken seriously in Italy. They are seen more as a childlike diversion than a serious business, and the consensus at IVDC was to overcome this issue via education. The idea is that if university courses are made available, development talent will emerge and the industry will grow from there. As it stands, there is very little training available because the industry is small, and conference participants agreed that it’s time to take the initiative with education.
Focus on traditional games and original IP
Unlike conferences we have attended in the US and China, discussions related primarily to making traditional PC and console games and on retail distribution. The importance of developing original IP was also a theme. Though mobile is big in Italy and the number of handsets in use is nearly double the population, the iPhone hasn’t emerged as a popular gaming platform. Social games were also not covered in the program and don’t seem to be an area of interest just yet. Alternative means of distribution and monetization will likely be a hot topic next year and will provide developers with new opportunities to cultivate original IP when they arrive.
In the spirit of the conference, we kept our talk educational and actionable. The intent was for attendees to walk away with solid ideas on how to build awareness for their projects, and we addressed five points: how to refine your message, knowing your audience, creating great assets, optimal timing and strategy. If you’re interested in receiving the presentation, please email me at eddiemae [at] triplepointpr [dot] com.
To view photos from our trip to the IVDC, please view our Flickr gallery:
A Social Media Makeover for the Beauty Industry
The New York Times ran an article about the rise of “Everywoman” Lauren Luke, a single mom from the UK who has garnered over 50 million views for her YouTube makeup instruction videos, and is now launching her own product line. Beauty execs say that user-created videos are “not a threat,” however, the passion flowing from Luke’s fans who are sick of the “lies” and unattainable standards of beauty show that change is coming whether they like it or not.
Why is this relevant to the TriplePoint blog, you ask? I wanted to share this story because it’s a great example of how social media has upset the balance of power and given consumers control over brands. Honesty and authenticity matter, and as professionals, we need to give consumers tools to communicate about our brands and products. This is no gimmick, but a requirement for success in the changing world of influence.
Now, what will happen to Lauren Luke? Will she become less relatable now that she has her own product line? Now that she’s not “ordinary” anymore? As it has from day one, the power lies with her fans, so stay tuned…
Article link: http://tinyurl.com/nsl8xt
Social Gaming Summit – A Brief Lexicon
Step away from your farm, restaurant or jewels for a few minutes for a quick overview of the Social Gaming Summit through the top terms of the day:
Virality and the “viral loop” – Virality, or the ability of something to grow virally, is a critical factor in the success of a social game. In a few words, the viral loop refers to the cycle of growth created by friends inviting their friends to check something out, and those friends converting and then inviting more of their friends. Virality has the potential to create non-linear growth for a user base, and discounts the customer acquisition cost, so unsurprisingly it came up frequently throughout the event. There were some interesting discussions about the difference between virality designed to be a customer acquisition tool (“mechanical virality”), and virality that emerges from good old fashioned enjoyment of a game, and the resulting word-of-mouth support. In other words, it’s the difference between incentivizing users with in-game rewards for inviting friends to play, versus users loving a game and naturally wanting to encourage their friends to play with them. Are players acquired through mechanical virality valuable? There are many questions here, but it seems that everyone agrees that word of mouth virality lacks the playbook of mechanical virality and is much harder to achieve.
Facebook Connect – Though this is not a new offering, it remains a hot topic. Facebook Connect enables users to take their online identity with them all over the web, onto gaming consoles such as the Xbox 360, and to the iPhone. What does this mean for social game developers? It means that players can interact with games designed for Facebook (a great platform in terms of virality) across multiple platforms – extending and deepening the experience. It’s doubtful that everyone wants their real identity tied to all of their gaming identities, but that’s a discussion for another time…
Social graph – Your ever-expanding network of relationships with friends (and not-quite friends), your “social graph,” enables and defines the social gaming experience. The social graph makes social games fun and enables virality. And it goes both ways: social games can strengthen your social graph by creating new experiences beyond “poking” and staring at photos of your ex-roommate’s cousin’s dog.
Fun – Games should be fun, and more than any design considerations born from number crunching, it is fun that makes people – and their friends – want to play a game. PlayFish CEO Sebastien de Halleux noted that their key metric is whether or not the entire company can’t stop playing a game. This remark was referenced throughout the rest of the conference and served as a great reminder of what games should be all about (fun).
Pocket God Adds Depth, Redemption for the Islanders?
Pocket God developers Bolt Creative have achieved the impressive feat of 16 updates in 16 weeks, and the latest episodes – referred to fondly as the “Trinity” – add new depth and mystery to the game. After the harassment the islanders have suffered at the hands of over 800,000 players, maybe it’s time for them to get some payback… In the meantime, check out this video made from player submissions – it’s a testament to the enthusiasm (and gleefully ruthless nature) of the Pocket God community: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v5YgGKOBek
GDC Europe Speaker Submission Deadline Extended – May 8
The speaker submission deadline for GDC Europe has been extended until next Friday, May 8. Taking place in Cologne, Germany on August 17 – 19, GDC Europe happens right before GamesCom (the consumer show) and is the new incarnation of Games Convention Developers Conference (GCDC). I’ve participated in GCDC the past two years, and found it to be really worthwhile – it’s extremely well organized, the session content is valuable, and there are many networking opportunities.
This conference is recommended for anyone in the games industry who is doing business in Europe (or planning to), so be sure to submit relevant speakers. Our own Kate Pietrelli will be sharing her insights on a panel about PR and marketing for independent developers!