3 Lessons Every Business Can Learn from Candy Crush
Every business can learn something from Candy Crush even if like us you have never played the game. Running your business you probably don’t get a lot of spare time to spend on Facebook however if you have ever been there it’s almost impossible to not notice Candy Crush – or rather you might have been plagued by Candy Crush, and the constant messages from your own friends and family to encourage you to play/join or whatever it is you do with it.
Candy Crush whether you like it or not is a phenomenal success story with 6.7 million active users per day and DAILY revenues of $633,000, this is a real business. How did they do this? Well rather than focussing on new customers they put all their energies into making the experience of existing customers so positive, that they couldn’t help but recommend them to their friends and colleagues. This is an essential ingredient for any product to go viral and viral is the Golden ticket to success. How Candy Crush did this is a strategy that every business can learn and apply to their business.
1. Build product/service development in from Day 1
Many of todays successful companies started with a product/service that is different from what they have now. AirBnB was started in 2007 in San Francisco by two people who couldn’t pay their rent and decided to rent their loft space out for Bed and Breakfast. It’s important to note the business was called Airbed and Breakfast. Although only having an airbed, they compensated the traveller with the promise of a cooked breakfast, clearly targeting the lower end of the travel market. By 2009 they were going nowhere fast, but secured extra investment and took on an additional partner. By 2010 they were up to 15 employees but still not taking off in business terms. They noticed the quality of photos on the site had a huge impact on the success of the property letting so they modified their Value Proposition to include a professional photographer. The professionally photographed listings then rented 2x and 3x more than those without. Moving up the Value Chain meant hosts were less keen on being “paid help” so they dropped the breakfast from AirBnB. By 2012 they had secured more investment and overtook Hilton Worldwide Hotels in terms of numbers of guest stays. AirBnB is currently raising funds based on a £20 billion dollar valuation. This would never have happened if they hadn’t developed and evolved their service along the way.
The product or service you start with is very often not the same product/service you will end up with. Focus on gaining customer feedback and use an iterative process to constantly refine and develop your product/service. When you think you’ve got it right, return to the start and repeat the process, because development should never stop. Candy Crush had a browser based game, albeit not very successful, but they realised with the growth of Facebook they needed to develop the game to make it available in a location where their customers could access the game more easily.
Your product/service may need minor yet important alterations like AirBnB or it may need a complete change in direction like Suzuki Motor Corporation. Michio Suzuki founded the Suzuki Loom Works in 1909, manufacturing machine weaving looms for Japans giant silk industry. The company founder however, was unconvinced of the long term viability of his business and diversified into motor vehicles in 1937 and then again into motorcycles in 1952. Today Suzuki is the 7th largest motor vehicle manufacturer in the world and the third biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.
Are you constantly looking for ways to improve and develop your products and services?
2. Make the User Experience unbeatable
Most Companies don’t give much thought for Customer Service until after the product/service is launched. Instead there is a tendency for most of us when we launch a product/service to constantly chase new customers. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it may well be if it is at the expense of customer service and the user experience. Once you have been successful at winning your customers business you need to retain and grow this business. Success is best measured in engagement although with some products/services capturing the data on engagement can be difficult. The more engaged the user is, and this isn’t just physical it’s also at an emotional level, the more likely they are to stay. Some great statistics on why we should focus on this are:
B2B customers with high customer engagement scores achieve 50% higher revenue/sales, (Gallup)
B2B customers with high customer engagement scores achieve 34% higher profitability (Gallup)
B2B customers with high customer engagement scores achieve a 55% higher share of wallet (Gallup)
Candy Crush drive engagement through different levels, challenges and episodes so much so that in some instances the users are almost addicted. Companies in different industries like Apple, Starbucks, Michael Kors, Coca Cola and Facebook have all successfully done this. These are Brand Advocates and they are a priceless value to your business
Are your customers fully engaged and addicted to your products and services?
3. Make Sharing & Referring Easy
Once you have a great product/service and engaged users, in order for your product/service to be a success you will need a number of strategies for the users to refer to their peers. Companies with rapid growth don’t leave sharing and referring to chance, instead they take control of this and actively promote and reward users for sharing.
Hotmail founded in 1996 was sold 1 year later in 1997 to Microsoft for $400 million – was Hotmail any better than any other web based email service at the time? Maybe, maybe not, but they were the best at customer acquisition via referrals with users topping 8.5 million in the first 12 months. The majority of these were achieved with a simple message at the bottom of every email which read “Sent with Love from Hotmail – Get your Free Account Here”. All achieved at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
Dropbox launched in 2007 rewarded users of their free version with additional storage and advanced features for every additional user they referred. Dropbox now has over 500 million users.
Similar to Dropbox, Candy Crush incentivise gamers to refer friends on Facebook to enrol, they encourage gamers to share their results and reward the gamers with points and shortcuts when they refer other users.
Do you pro-actively manage and encourage social sharing, referrals and rewards for your own products and services?
Your own business may not be in Gaming, and you may not be as big as Apple and Microsoft, but every business can learn and there will be ways you can apply these strategies to your own business to drive sales and business growth. As always we are interested to hear of different ways you have successfully implemented sharing, referral and rewards programmes so please feel free to comment below.
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