5 September 2019 | 24 Comments
I’ve spent the last two weeks craving fried chicken sandwiches.
Why? It all started with a tweet from Popeyes suggesting that its new chicken sandwich rivaled that of Chick-Fil-A. The result has been a perfect storm of traditional and social media–I’ve heard about these sandwiches from CNN, the NY Times, The Daily Show, Conan O’Brien, and a number of YouTube channels showing people taste-testing the two sandwiches.
These daily reminders have continuously reminded me that I should obtain chicken sandwiches from these restaurants and eat them with my mouth. Yet I’ve been unable to do so because the lines at both Popeyes and Chick-Fil-A have been incredibly long.
So while I wait to get my chicken fix, I started to wonder if there’s a situational value in good-natured rivalries. That’s an unusual thought for me in particular, as I view other game designers and companies as peers, not competitors. But I also appreciate good marketing.
Is there a mutually beneficial way to have a fun rivalry with another company? A way to put both companies in the spotlight, generate sales, and give people something to talk about?
I think the biggest challenge is keeping it light and fun so that neither company looks like a jerk. It’s very easy for soundbites to be twisted or misinterpreted.
Also, I’m not sure if it works for every type of product. Chicken sandwiches are inexpensive, easily obtained consumables. If you’re motivated to try both of them, you can do so (at least, if they lines aren’t too long). Board games are a different beast, not to mention even more expensive products.
Though I wonder even then if it can work in the right environment. Imagine a fun rivalry between the the Dodge Ram and the Toyota Prius. They’re not really competing with each other, as they serve different types of customers. But if they good naturedly poked fun at each other, they could get passionate fans/owners of each to post on social media about how they’re a Ram person or a Prius person, and suddenly you have a lot of other people wondering about whether they’re a Ram person or a Prius person.
I don’t know, I’m just riffing here. I can’t think of a way it would work in the tabletop gaming industry, as I don’t like to encourage Stonemaier fans to do anything that might damage or disparage other game companies. I’d rather keep things positive.
But if you can think of a way to make it work (or other successful, fun business rivalries), please share them in the comments!
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