How to engage users on digital platforms

Four takes on how toy manufacturers can use mobile platforms to engage their customers and increase play value

In this digital world, it can be hard to keep up with how to engage users, especially children. As the platforms of play expand into the digital world, so must the toys and play experiences. The great thing about the toy industry is that the ability to create enticing universes and engaging play experiences already exists. Despite the fact that the toy industry is built on providing play experiences for kids we at Funday Factory often find that toy manufacturers struggle with the translation of a physical product or play experience into a digital edition. Therefore, we have put together this article as an introduction to four different strategies for brand and play expansion.

Expansion of existing products

Digital Expansion:

The strategy of digital expansion allows for the play experience of a physical product to be expanded onto digital platforms, and the play value converted into a digital one. The play value of the digital product will typically be true to the core play experience of the existing physical toy. This transformation opens up new play experiences, and expands on the existing universe.

Example: HAMA Universe - check out the case

The physical play experience of playing with HAMA beads is translated into a digital version, which stays true to the core play experience, allowing the child to choose various pegboards, colorful beads and ironing the final result. The child is free to either follow patterns, or design their own creations, just as they would be when playing with the physical product.

 

Core Branding Product:

This strategy is focused on using the game as a platform to market existing and new products. The brand approach reaches the customers where they are, and introduces them to the products in a new and engaging way. By doing so, the brand awareness is increased in a unique and interesting way that differs immensely from more classic marketing.

Example: LEGO Mighty Micros

The game LEGO Mighty Micros sets the scene for a play experience with the super heroes, but doesn’t relate to an 1:1 core play experience. The game focuses on engaging the customer and creating the right amount of action, while introducing the different characters available within the physical toy universe.

"An entertaining game masters the art of blurring the line between marketing and entertainment creating a more compelling brand space."

Kristian Bang Nørgaard, CEO Funday Factory
Development of new products

Digital and Physical Hybrid Product:

Also known as “Toys-to-Life”. This strategy combines a physical product and a digital universe, creating a connection between both. The two are mutually dependent to ensure the best play experience, but the physical product can usually be used as an independent toy, playable outside the digital universe.

Example: LEGO® BOOST

The intended play experience for LEGO® BOOST involves both a digital play experience, and the physical bricks. Although the brick models can be used in play on their own, their full potential is unlocked with the digital platform, which allows the child to code and programme the toy.

 

Core Digital Product:

The core digital product covers the development of a new digital experience and product, which is to create the foundation for a new income. The core digital product can be part of a broader product range of both physical and digital products, but doesn’t necessarily spring from an established brand, product, or service.

Example: Toca Boca apps

In this purely digital universe there is no need for physical products. The play experience is completely dependent on the digital platform, and the brand value is in the quality of the output.

 

Choosing the right strategy

We hope the four takes help you shed light on how your brand or product can enter the digital stage. However, we know that the borders between the different strategies often merge, thereby making it harder to see the most suitable strategy for your brand, product or situation. We encourage you to reach out for clarification, assistance, or a potential partnership in order to get started.

From Idea to Concept

We are ready to help you transform a blooming idea into a great game concept. Our Co-Loading Concept kick-starts and unfolds your product or brand's opportunities of entering the digital stage.

Co-Loading Concept

Published: 05.04.2017

Want to know more about combining toys and games?

Tine Kærgaard Knudsen
Event & Business Development Manager

tine@fundayfactory.com

Message Tine