A variety of businesses are benefiting from the power of video games in marketing campaigns.

Web-based games such as those developed by Sheffield-based digital agency Team Cooper can bring tangible benefits as well as give customers the feel-good factor.

But companies need to think carefully about how their business, brand and the game they’re looking to create come together.

Stephanie Schönmann is the e-business manager for Optiswiss, an independent lens manufacturer based in Switzerland. She says 98 per cent of orders for its B2B shop come online and that the web store is relatively complicated due to the nature of the optician industry.

“The aim originally was to motivate more opticians to subscribe to our online shop, increase shop visits of existing customers and to thank them for their loyalty,” she explained.

“We wanted to offer an entertaining contrast to our otherwise sophisticated shop structure.

“But we also like to keep in close contact with our customers. Seeing that many optician employees using our shop are aged 20 to 35, a game offers the perfect platform to communicate our values in an entertaining way.”

The company’s festive Christmas Game was developed by Team Cooper, whose marketing manager Cari Kirby will speak at BusinessCloud’s breakfast event on the video game industry in Salford on Thursday July 27th. You can sign up for free here.

Cari Kirby

Cari Kirby

Optiswiss’ Christmas Game is an infinite runner that gets players hurling Santa across rooftops for as long as possible.

If a player cleared 250m on the first day, they received a free Lindt chocolate in the post. But if they kept coming back and beating a higher target over each of the following four days, they could boost their chocolate total to five – encouraging players back to the site.

Despite working within a niche industry, the game was played by nearly 4,000 people 75,000 times. The game averaged 19.5 plays per customer, with session lengths of over six minutes as players battled to hit the daily target.

 “During this time [of the Christmas Game campaign], we recorded a strong increase in shop visits and also new subscribers,” Schönmann said.

“Our customers started to create groups on Facebook and other social media channels informing other opticians about the game and discussing strategies on how to beat the goals.

“These outcomes are difficult to measure, but they surely have a positive impact on the company’s image.”

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Games can also be used within a company’s broader community engagement strategy, including to support corporate social responsibility.

Beazley, a specialist insurance company, has been sending out games to its client base for Christmas for the past seven years. Jon Labram, brand and design manager for the Beazley Group, says it saves money they can spend on other causes.

“Instead of sending out printed greeting cards during the festive period, we donate the money saved to our chosen charity and develop a game to email out to our broker community,” he said.

Its most recent game received over 60,000 plays from their client base during the Christmas period – suggesting that their customers responded well to the concept.

This article was edited from a longer feature written by games journalist George Osborn - read the original blog post here