Zynga and MGM’s Words with Friends TV show is the ‘correct route’ for strengthening brand loyalty

Earlier this week, Zynga announced it was teaming up with MGM Television to create a new TV show based on the popular mobile hit Words with Friends.

That might sound like a slightly strange concept for a TV show, but MIDiA Research’s Karol Severin has told MCV this is the "correct route" for strengthening brand loyalty among its fans.

"WhileWords With Friendsis one of the most popular mobile games out there, bringing it onto the TV screen will not only further solidify users’ emotional bond with the title, but also serves as a catalyst for expanding the ‘With Friends’ standalone brand," said Severin. "This in turn will act to promote both Zynga’s current and future word and puzzle games."

He continued: "Retention is one of the most cried about KPIs in the mobile gaming industry. However, many mobile games companies only drive retention via their user data, while omitting longer-term brand building strategies. While user data driven retention tactics certainly help a great deal, they only enable you to induce behaviour rather than attitudes. It is the latter that is key for building strong brands and loyalty in the long-term.

"Of course, brand building is a marathon rather than a sprint and it is also harder to measure as accurately. This is the reason why many mobile companies still view brand building as a luxury rather than a vital part of their business strategy. Yet if you look at the winning mobile gaming companies, they are all fully invested in building strong brands as they realise its importance."

That said, Severin also noted that the success of this venture will very depend on how it’s executed: "This includes everything from the design of the show through to striking the balance between powerful product placement and carefully chosen marketing channels," he said.

"King could probably attest to this, after ratings of its Candy Crush spin-off plummeted after just two weeks, partly due to an unfortunate scheduling overlap with the Game Of Thrones’ new season premiere."

Karol Severin isMIDiA Research’s leadanalyst for research on games and the mobile content economy. He can be reached@karel_kayo

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