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Game Brands

Friday, February 4, 2005

As Trichromix is growing nearer to completion every day, I focus on marketing strategy more and more. I'm currently reading a couple of marketing books, including the classic Positioning - The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It's impossible to sum up the book's lessons in a couple of sentences, so I won't even try; that's not the purpose of this blog entry anyway. If you want to know what positioning is all about, you'll have to read the book for yourself.

While reading the book, I considered positioning Yellow Wood Studios as a company that creates pure logic puzzles. If I want to create a series of games that's not about logic puzzles, then I'll just market them using a different company with it's own name and position. And then I changed my mind.

It's not my goal to create a plethora of stand-alone games. I'd much rather take a single game concept and stretch that into as much directions as possible while keeping the identity of the game intact. I find Ries and Trout's concept of a brand remarkebly close to this idea. So instead of positioning my company as a whole, I'll try to create strong positions for my 'game brands'.

This directly affects the way I need to do my marketing. For example, instead of trying to draw people to my Yellow Wood Studios web site, I'll draw them to the Trichromix web site. My intention was to let point to the relevant product page on my company web site, but I'm turning things around now. The Yellow Wood Studios web site will be relatively low-key. There are still some practical implications that I will have to figure out, like: do I sent out a single newsletter or a seperate one for each product? At the moment, with my first game not even finished yet, I'm not going to spent too much time thinking about that one.

Positioning - The Battle For Your Mind hasn't really changed where I want to go with Yellow Wood Studios, but it has given me clues how to get there. I still have some important chapters to go, including the ones on line extension. Nevertheless, I already feel more secure about trying out my marketing strategy. Trichromix will be a great test case.

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henning says:

I was actually thinking something similar after reading that book. They seem to suggest that if you're going to position a product differently than older products, you should create a new company. One example is the high-end VW, the Phaeton I think it is. Their argument is that the Phaeton goes after the luxary car market, which is not the same market that VW cars currently occupy. Therefore create a new company. (And gosh, they already have Audi, so why bother with Phaeton?) But my point is that VW has a RANGE of cars, not a single car. Why can't a company have a RANGE of products, and have each product target its own market, as you suggest? I currently sell a 3ds max plugin for RenderMan users. My next 3ds max plugin will be targetted towards different users. I don't want to create a new company for this plugin. I just want to target a new market.

Monday, February 7, 2005 5:12 PM

Joost Ronkes Agerbeek says:

The way I understand it, Ries and Trout don't say you have to create a new company for products that are sufficiently different, but you do have to create a new brand. Suppose your current 3ds max plug-in, PaxRendus, is positioned as 'the plug-in that allows high-quality rendering'. Now you're going to introduce a new 3ds max plug-in, but it's targeted towards beginners and will be positioned something like 'the plug-in that will make beginning users more productive'. These positions are very different, so you shouldn't line-extend. For example, you shouldn't call the new product PaxProdus. You don't have to create a new company for your new plug-in, but you should position it as a seperate brand. This means coming up with a distinct name and, preferably, setting up a seperate web site. Again, this is the way I interpret the book. I don't claim to be knowledgable on the subject, so take my words with the necessary grains of salt.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005 9:43 AM

Wilco van Duinkerken says:

At SoundCream we even have a slightly more complicated situation. Our products actually target 2 to 3 totally different target groups. We provie: Record Labels: - With a tool to: Distribute, Market and Measure their online music sales Music Consumers: - With a very specific way of "discovering their music" Webmasters: - With a way of providing their visitors specific music for "free" So, 1 product, 3 target groups. What we're going to do is build 3/4 websites: 1. General Site which functions as a gateway to site 2,3 and 4. As well as communicate the SoundCream feeling 2. A site for record labels and content owners, with a more "technical" view of the SC products 3. A toolkit site for webmasters and record labels to integrate SoundCream music lists in their websites, send to a friend applications, voucher applications and so on... 4. We're thinking of partnering with a multimedia portal to provide consumers with a music and entertainment portal, the SoundCream way So, as for Trichromix, I think it's a good idea to have a seperate site for the game. Especially when you're planning of streching out the concept. But I sure think that the Yellow Wood website should provide your (potential) customer with "The Yellow Wood" feeling and concepts. (Usability, No-Coincedence, Control).

Saturday, February 26, 2005 2:30 PM

Joost Ronkes Agerbeek says:

Wilco, I agree with you completely. There will be a Yellow Wood web site, I just won't actively market it. The big difference between SoundCream and Yellow Wood is that SoundCream is your actual brand where Yellow Wood isn't. I'm trying to sell Trichromix, not Yellow Wood, whereas you are 'selling' SoundCream.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 9:52 AM

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