What does Lab42 have in common with J.K. Rowling? The answer lies in social gaming – both Lab42 and J.K. Rowling have anticipated the rise in popularity of social gaming and integrated it into their business models. At Lab42, we field surveys through social applications to reach our clients’ target markets as they go about their daily online life, rewarding survey participants with virtual currency. J.K. Rowling, on the other hand, is creating an entirely new social game called Pottermore to extend the life of her world bestselling Harry Potter series beyond the books and movies.
Rowling did not simply announce Pottermore, she used social media to garner coverage in the weeks leading up to its release. One week before the Pottermore announcement, Rowling created a Twitter account, website, and set up her own YouTube channel. All she revealed during this week was that a Harry Potter-related announcement was coming on June 23rd. This created a wave of excitement and speculation among fans and media sites.
Pottermore itself is an ingenious business move by Rowling for two reasons. First, she found a way to keep fans engaged and excited about Harry Potter even after the final movie was released. While future generations of children and adults will surely add to the book’s fan base, Pottermore ensures that Harry will not be forgotten among the generation that watched him grow up. Second, through Pottermore, Rowling found a way to make her print phenomenon successful in today’s digital age. She recognized that “the technology now [exists] to do something outside the books and the films for existing fans.” Taking advantage of social media, Rowling is transforming her books into an interactive networking platform.
In addition to being a place to purchase the Harry Potter series as an eBook, Pottermore will allow users to make their way through the world of Hogwarts, complete with many new details on places and characters contributed by Rowling herself. Users can create their own avatar, be sorted into one of the four houses, and participate in interactive games with other users. The platform was created by the strategic digital agency TH_NK and is sponsored by Sony. The beta version of the game will debut on July 31 (Harry’s birthday) for a lucky one million fans. Until then, fans can only speculate on what the game will entail. But one thing’s for certain – Rowling knows how to adapt to a constantly changing business environment.
What can you or your business learn from Pottermore? Building up your company’s latest development through social media is a great way to spread the word. If you’re launching a new product or service, don’t simply announce it on the day of its debut. Utilize your Facebook and Twitter accounts to slowly reveal your news. This will help get new followers on your page and keep fans guessing. In less than two weeks, J.K. Rowling had 140,000 Twitter followers and over 4 million views on her YouTube channel.
Additionally, it’s important to constantly reevaluate your business model. If the life of your product or service has plateaued, think of ways to reinvent it for success in the current business environment. Consider not only engaging fans with your brand, but with each other as well. Use social media as a platform for interaction, feedback and discussion. And if you’re still struggling to bring out your brand’s magic, become part of Pottermore for some inspiration.