How Marketing like Nintendo Can Create Customers for Life

May 17, 2021

Nintendo has proven to be one of the most intelligent companies at marketing by continuously focusing on their audience and engaging with their customers. They have done this by not being afraid to mix brands, relying on nostalgia from early success, and creating goofy but memorable ads for consumers. Nintendo has also built a legacy based on intentional product naming. We all could learn a thing or two about marketing from Nintendo. 

When I think about Nintendo, the image of the GameCube logo loading on my TV screen always comes to mind. As an eight-year-old with an older brother who would spend endless hours playing video games, I wanted a game console, a product, a series of games made for me. Nintendo did just that. They excel at engaging customers and focusing on a targeted audience that likes games but doesn’t consider themselves “gamers.”


Banking on Nostalgia to Build Experiences

Nostalgia is one of the primary ways that Nintendo gains the trust of consumers. 

As children, most adults played on the GameCube or older systems with the same characters that are still around today. So, when our children want to play the game with Mario or Donkey Kong, we aren’t shocked or confused. Instead, we may play with them. These games are now an avenue for spending time with their kids and can entertain the whole family. 

What Nintendo is doing is using nostalgia as a foundation to create positive, memorable experiences. Parents have fond memories of these game characters and want to share that with their children. No matter what business you’re in, people will always remember how something made them feel versus what something or someone said.

Mixing Brands: A Win-Win

Though Nintendo is a competitor to both Microsoft and Sony, you can find characters from each established brand in Nintendo games. For example, in the ultra-popular franchise, Super Smash Bros., it’s not uncommon to see Microsoft’s Master Chief and Sony’s Kratos battling against beloved Nintendo characters such as Donkey Kong. Nintendo isn’t afraid to take advantage of mixing brands. While both companies compete within the same market, with similar products, their marketing mix (the 4 P's of Marketing) differed and their partnership highlighted those differences in a positive light. The marriage showcased the brand strengths of both Nintendo and Microsoft. 

Think about how your company can become involved with other brands. Is there an opportunity to form a mutually beneficial relationship with another company? If so, why wait to contact them? Through mixing brands, you can access another organization’s audience while promoting yours as well. 

A great place to start is influencer marketing. Here’s an example: an influencer on social media makes an unboxing video of the product and shows how to use the product. This allows a brand to broaden its reach within a trusted audience. Not only does it cut advertising costs, but it also shortens the sales cycle.

Product Names Matter

Nintendo has fallen on its face and failed with product naming in the past. However, they learned very quickly that the name of a product matters. 

When Nintendo released the Wii U, people thought it was just an attachment or additional controller for the original gaming system, not an entirely new device itself. According to Nintendo’s investor website, the Wii U only sold a little over 13 million units. In comparison, the original Wii sold over 101 million units. This lesson was one that even a thriving company like Nintendo had to learn the hard way. 

Marketing failures happen all the time; learning from them and bouncing back is key.

Nintendo learned from its product naming mistake and decided to focus on the branding of its products. Their newest handheld gaming system was named “Switch”. The Nintendo Switch can operate handheld or connect to a larger gaming station to play multiplayer on console mode. The simple yet straightforward name is genius. 

Memorable Ads

After developing such a direct name, the marketing only got better for the Nintendo Switch. Through running a series of advertisements that show how easy it is to use the device, customers can visualize themselves using the Switch. They created a personal connection which proved successful. They have invested in goofy but real-time activities such as using the device while going to the bathroom. The ad was relatable and sparked conversation.  

Creating ads that demonstrate the experience your customers will have using your product or service is essential. Though Nintendo’s ads are a little silly, showing people using the Switch in different contexts allows consumers to visualize themselves doing the same. No matter what your company sells, if your target customer can’t see themselves using it, you’re going to have a hard time selling it. 

We Can All Learn From Nintendo

Since 1983, Nintendo has provided consumers with memorable experiences through the use of its gaming systems. Though they’ve had marketing snafus along the way, we can all learn from their many wins and occasional failures. 

If your marketing needs a “level up,” send us a note or give us a call. Fable Heart Media would love to be your marketing partner.

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