Have I gone completely nuts? Do I really think that small business can learn lessons from a video game giant?
You bet I do.
Over 19 years my son has given me a little bit of insight into the world of video games. And although I’d have a hard time telling the difference between Final Fantasy XIII and any other fantasy role playing game, I can shred some riffs on Rock Band. This past weekend, he and I both made purchases of the video game variety. He grabbed the latest version of Final Fantasy. Me, I grabbed the Wii Fit Plus . Now you may be wondering why I’m writing about video games on a blog related to business.
Because businesses can learn an important lesson from Nintendo.
In health circles, video games have been pinpointed as part of our growing problem with inactive and unhealthy children and adults. Instead of seeing this fact in a negative light, Nintendo took that information and moved in a completely unexpected direction for a video game company. They created a system and games that could help get people moving. The company decided that rather than being a part of the problem, they would come up with a solution. They could have just stopped with the creation of the Wii and games like Wii Sports, but rather than just offer a token solution, they went even further by creating a ‘game’ that helped motivate individuals to do exercises. And trust me, it really is motivating. It’s much more fun to ski jump than plain old deep knee bends. And kids are going to be much more motivated to walk, skip and run if they’re wearing a pedometer that is helping Pikachu get stronger. Oh and did I mention how popular these Nintendo games are, or what it’s done for Nintendo’s sales?
Rather than seeing the video game/inactivity connection as a negative influence on their business or ignoring the facts and hoping that gamers would keep gaming regardless of the facts, Nintendo thought outside the box. They acknowledged the problem and created a solution. A gaming system that would allow the gamer to get their entire body into the game experience rather than just their thumbs. The Wii was born, and it was a huge success. So much so that Wii Fit Plus was one of the highest selling video games in the month of January.
We may not be a huge video game company, but small businesses can learn a thing or two from Nintendo. They paid attention to what was happening in their target market, recognized a need and provided a solution that fit. They didn’t just issue a disclaimer on their systems and games that urged buyers to ‘get active’, they offered them a way to get active that they knew would appeal to them.
Are you paying attention to your market? Do you know what their problems are? Are you providing solutions in a way that fits them? If not think about learning a lesson from Nintendo and you never know, you just may enjoy the same kind of success.