May 8, 2019

“Game-Think” Transforming How Information is Consumed

As you insert the coin in the arcade game, you ready your fingers to quickly and nimbly move around the maze. You swipe the joystick right, right, right, then up, up, up. Your goal? To swiftly maneuver your PAC-MAN around the screen, capturing as many small yellow dots as possible while avoiding the brightly colored ghosts.

Though the popularity of video arcade games have died down since their golden age back in the 1980s, gaming is still very alive today. We live in modern times where smart phones are no longer a luxury but rather a necessity. Consumers are using nontraditional sources like social media and apps to obtain any type of information or service. These platforms are designed in a way that use concepts from PAC-MAN-like arcade games—including swiping the joystick to earn points or continuously clicking buttons to advance to the next level—to make them easy and fun to use.

There are dating apps where you can swipe left or right to indicate your interest in a potential partner. We have news apps where you can quickly scroll through dozens of stories until you reach the one you would like to read. There are even apps where you can filter and click to get food delivered to your doorstep in a matter of minutes. We have grown into a “game-think” society that prefers to access content like they would a game—through clicks, swipes and scrolls.

So how do you utilize “game-think” to cut through the clutter to get your brand and message in front of consumers? Keep your content simple. Here are some key tips to help your brand stories get noticed and that are easy to implement right from the farm.

Know Your Audience

Understanding who you are targeting and what you want your message to be will shape what your content looks like. For instance, if you are trying to target mothers who primarily buy groceries for the household, they will likely want to know where their food comes from and what inputs were used to grow it. Your content needs to trigger their curiosity by filling the gap between what they know and what they want to know.

You can effectively present that information using the “read and click” model of games. An example would be quickly composing a short blog that explains how a certain commodity is grown and harvested, with clickable links to health benefits and photos of the team that helped bring that fruit or vegetable to their table.

Keep it Short and Simple

Engaging content doesn’t need to be a work of literary art. People have incredibly short attention spans online and often it’s more effective to have content that is short and concise. A great example is Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, an organic family farm on California’s Central Coast, which uses the swipe feature of Instagram to succinctly share information about the products they grow and engage with their audience. In one recent post by @jacobsfarmsdelcabo, the firm posted three images, where users could swipe right to see the next photo: 1) farmworkers in a field of rosemary; 2) a close up shot of the rosemary being cut; and 3) the final product, banded with a the Jacob Farms label. Along with the images, the caption was short and simple: “Rosemary season is beginning to flourish along the Northern California Coast. Swipe right to see the journey of our Jacobs Farms Organic Rosemary from plant to package.”

Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo used simple yet compelling images to tell their story, rather than write it in a lengthy caption. They masterfully used the “game-think” of swiping to advance to the next image, while also providing value to the reader by giving them an inside look into how herbs are harvested.

Mix Up the Visuals

Two attributes that all games have are memorable sounds and bright colors. To stand out and get your message across to your target audience, using different types of multimedia is crucial. This can be in the form of an image, video, chart or infographic (image with text)—all of which can be created on your phone.

Since revamping Western Growers’ social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—three years ago, we have posted everything from long and short form videos to story links and vibrant images of our member farmers in the field. Mixing up the type of content has played a role in enticing more consumers to engage with our social media channels and therefore learn more about the agriculture industry and the family farmers who are feeding the world. As a result, Western Growers has grown its Facebook audience from 600 to more than 11,000 fans in just a few years.

Using these “game-think” essentials, your content will stand out and your brand will rise above the stiff competition for attention. For help ramping up your content, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or (949) 885-2256.