Put aside your virtual tractors: Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) has recently launched the beta version of Syrum, a social game that lets people run their own pharmaceutical labs. In each new level, the player is given a new disease or pandemic to cure. They do everything from researching new medicines to running clinical trials to poaching researchers from their friends.
At first glance, the game’s structure seems pretty similar to Farmville. But, its purpose and potential growth opportunities are incredible. Put simply, BI developed Syrum to help change the way people view the pharmaceutical industry. They wanted to make something that would be fun and engaging, a stand-out in a field that’s usually talked about in a negative light. But instead of just creating a funny video or posting new content to Twitter, they went bigger. The goal of this game isn’t just to raise brand awareness for a company or product; it’s to change the sentiment and thinking of an entire industry. (Although it definitely helps with the former too).
The possibilities here also extend to primary research and product innovation. Through this game, BI has a direct line to the public. Testing things like new product names and virtual medicines could all potentially be part of the game. Could Syrum come up with the first crowd sourced molecular compound? Doesn’t sound far off.
I challenge everyone reading this to take your brand and not just think socially, but differently. Think beyond the typical platforms and the tendency to post what’s comfortable and scripted. Do you have a product whose success could benefit from an overall shift in thinking rather than just increased brand awareness? Is there a way that you can truly change the way people think about your industry to benefit your brand? You bet.
- Lindsay Sutton, Associate Director, Social Marketing, Digitas