On Friday, I was interviewed as a “kid expert” by members of the marketing team for a major packaged goods brand, talking about trends in kid marketing, what is influencing kids (and moms) today and providing advice for what the marketing team should be thinking about in their marketing and innovation efforts.
One of the interesting questions was, “What is fun?” Having worked in the toy industry for over seven years now, I have a good sense of some of the major elements of fun, and it made me wonder how other brands (that are not outright toys) embody “fun.” Is your brand fun?
One of the points that I raised had to do with the concept of “hard fun.” Now, hard fun is a vital element of every video, every sport, every board game, every card game, and many toys (certainly it is a key aspect of LEGO toys).
Hard fun is the idea that challenge is good.
Everyone enjoys gaining a sense of mastery, a sense of a job well done, a game well-played, a challenge overcome, success achieved. Video games provide levels so that you can feel the thrill and the challenge of “getting to the next level.” That’s an integral part of the fun.
Would you want to play tennis with a two-year old? Probably not (unless it was your own child, a niece or nephew—and that’s a whole different aspect of fun)! You want to be well-matched on the court, to play with someone who will give you a run for your money. Even if you are just watching, you want it to be hard on both sides. The nail-biter, down-to-the-wire Superbowl games are much more fun to watch, even if you are a diehard fan! The triumph is that much sweeter if the challenge is strong.
Ever build a LEGO creation? It’s not easy. Taking a pile a bricks and turning it into a spaceship, or a fire truck or a skyscraper or an alien super-bug takes creativity, thought, and a sense of spatial relations. The pride and accomplishment are an integral part of the fun!
Of course, the trick is to develop something that is hard enough to be a challenge, yet not so hard as to shatter self-esteem. That pride, that sense of accomplishment must be there, whether using a Wii Remote, a deck of cards, or a ball of some sort.
What kind of “hard fun” have you built into your brand? Into your life? If you need more fun in your world, if you want your consumers to see your brand as fun, find a way to add more challenge. I guarantee it will be more fun!
If you’d like more advice on what you should be thinking about for your marketing efforts, give us a call. We promise, it won’t be too hard! J