Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A: Code Accepted
It was the mother of all cheat codes! You could use it for different games across the Nintendo platform, and every respectable gamer knew it. Now, if only there was a handy master code to input that would get your business to Nintendo’s level of popularity and success. After all, they’re gaming geniuses who continue to impress with their ability to keep up with the times while employing all our favorite, time-honored gaming characters in the mix. Nintendo is one of the most favored tech companies, and everyone is stoked to see them usher in a new era of awesomeness.
For decades, Nintendo has surprised us – unveiling new lines of portable devices, each one more compact than the last, even as their technology became swifter and more advanced. There’s something about Nintendo that sets them apart from the Playstations and XBOX’s of the world: their ability to innovate as they cling to their nostalgic selling points of the past. Learn to play the business game right and you may just beat the game.
“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.”Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintento
Level up at lightning speed with these 5 Nintendo cheat codes:
1. Don’t exchange a good player.
It’s easy to feel distracted by bright, shiny, new things, but if you’ve already got a successful product, why start all over with something completely new? Nintendo is famous for “classic characters” like Super Mario and all his buddies in the world they inhabit. Nintendo always finds a way to incorporate familiar faces into different video games, regardless of any perceived compatibility issues. It doesn’t matter if they’re developing the next great racing game or creating a new interactive gaming system — the consistency of their products featuring famous gaming faces is something customers have come to expect. If your product boasts a special feature that your audience truly connects with, you shouldn’t try to outdo yourself by starting from scratch to “enhance” or grow your brand.
I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to innovation. I love finding that new-new and created products that will blow customers’ minds, but I’m not naive enough to mess with a good thing when it’s working. You don’t fix what’s not broken. I will restyle and upgrade outdated features to stave off the innovation shakes, but the established product that has been driving my business stays true to itself. In doing so, I show that I listen to my customers and that their happiness is my happiness. Moral of the story: don’t mess with perfection.
2. Work your best moves.
Think about the products that have flopped for you. Why do you think they failed? Oftentimes, products fail because their message doesn’t reflect your brand’s tone and your company’s vision. Maybe you launched a fringe product you thought would appeal to a wide audience, but it didn’t. Perhaps you thought stepping outside your comfort zone and dipping your toes in a new industry would prove your company is flexible and adaptable, but you just ended up lost and confused. Whatever the cause, consistency between your products got lost in translation, so make sure to consider exactly how each product your company rolls out is firmly “on-brand.”
Let’s just say that I have tried more than a few different ways to sell my products. I told you, I’m an innovation addict — I get that itch to jump into something new and try to change up my style. But it never fails that most new stuff doesn’t match my style, which means it doesn’t end up translating well in my business. This means I end up compromising my authenticity, because my products are not on-point with my brand. Inevitably this means my customers won’t enjoy it as much, because they already like me, like my business, and like my brand. They want to see more of that stuff, not whatever random thing I’m interested in at the time. These days I stick to the Nintendo philosophy and stay true to my successful branding as the foundation of any new enterprise.
“I think that inside every adult is the heart of a child. We just gradually convince ourselves that we have to act more like adults.” Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director of Nintendo
3. The first player to finish gets to raise the flag.
For decades, rumors of a “motion simulator video game” echoed through convention halls and electronics stores. Nintendo became a tenacious contender for becoming the first company to roll out this sophisticated technology, and then there was Wii. Sure, there were copycats who unveiled their own versions of the incredible product, but Nintendo’s race to be first to market is why they were the victors and why they remain a top gaming brand today. Don’t live in fear of what may happen when you go to market — copycats, competition, glitches, etc. — just get there and plant your flag.
When I’m working on an innovative product, my approach is to get it out first and then play the perfection game along the way. This strategy works because no matter how perfect you think your product is (or how much time you waste delaying your market launch because it just needs “one more” improvement), your customers are always going to find ways to improve it. That’s why I’ve found it’s better to lead the charge and be the first out the door, then use real-time feedback to fine-tune and perfect my product. It has worked for me every time, because it also gives you a 1-up on your competitors — customers have already invested in your brand and want to continue following your cause. People not only want to be the first to have or to try new things, but they’re also creatures of habit. Not only will they jump on board the first ship to leave harbor, they’ll tend toward brand loyalty in almost every case.
“For young players, classic games are brand new. For older players, they bring back memories and make you feel good.”Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintento
4. Select the best “mode” for your brand.
Back in the day, Sega and Nintendo were pretty neck-and-neck in the gaming world, but these days Nintendo has proven that their brand had the staying power. Why? Because Nintendo stuck to a polished, classically appealing, and generally professional marketing strategy, while Sega took a more aggressive approach to branding. Sega became known as a brash brand that seemed more suited to skaters than a wide audience. This isn’t to say that you can’t push the boundaries and make a splash in your advertising campaign, but it’s important to know whether potential customers are going to respond to your strategy. You can go for shock and awe, but it has to be something that will be engaging for the long-term, not just a quick gimmick.
Customers are smart — some cheap ploy will never win out over real substance and quality. I am definitely not above making a spectacle of myself — I really enjoy it, actually — but I know I have to be prepared to put on a real show once I have everyone’s attention. My branding may be “out there” at times, but I make sure it has staying power and can outlast the latest trend. More importantly, though, my products are high-quality and punctuate my stellar marketing. Like Nintendo, it is vital that your brand is based on a lot more than just hype.
5. Thwomp the Competition.
When Nintendo was going head-to-head with Sega, there was a lot of speculation that Sega would be the first brand to beat the mighty Nintendo at their own game (see what I did there?). We know now that wasn’t the case, because Nintendo clearly survived Sega’s challenge. It can be easy to laugh off a competitor as an underdog, or even tempting to soften your blows to give them a fighting chance of survival. But this isn’t personal; it’s business. It’s not meant to be fun and games, even when your business is fun and games. Trust that your competitors are approaching the brand battle with a fight-to-the-death attitude, and you should, too. Don’t be shy about giving them a wallop.
I’ve mentioned in other blogs that a lot of my competitors are people I have personal relationships with. I genuinely enjoy a lot of these people as people, outside of work. But when it comes to my business, I only have one favorite, and it’s me. Relationships with my competitors will never affect the way I conduct my business, and I’m not apologetic about being a little cutthroat. At the end of the day, I know my competitors are also trying to figure out ways to edge me out, because business is business. If you are campaigning in my market, you are a threat to my livelihood. It’s really that simple. I will hit your a flying blue spiny shell and watch you spin out off the road as I take the lead. Peace, suckas!
- Don’t swap your best players. Self-explanatory, right? If you’ve got a successful product that appeals to your customers, you keep it. Don’t get crazy trying to revamp what your customers already love.
- Use your best moves. Keep in mind what has been successful when building new products. Trying something completely out of line with your current branding can mean a major flop, so while it’s great to keep pushing yourself and innovating your products, keep your tone consistent.
- First to the finish line raises the flag. No one remembers the runner up, so take charge and make sure you’re the first to take those major breakthroughs to market.
- Select the best brand “mode.” Make sure your brand has genuinely captured the attention of your audience and isn’t just relying on shock factor to get attention. A gimmick can only last so long before everyone is bored with your antics.
- Thwomp the Competition. Never — I repeat, never — underestimate your competitors. They are doing everything they know how to do to beat you, so make sure you’re watching their angles and outplaying them at every turn.
Consider these tips your personal konami code (you’re welcome).
It seems that Nintendo has cracked the code for longevity and relevance in the gaming world. They’ve thrived as a business because they are humble and resilient — they aren’t afraid to press the restart button when the going gets tough. They learn from their past and always bear it in mind as they innovate their future. Time to start committing those cheat codes to memory, grab a Mountain Dew, and bunker down for some hardcore business gaming.