Media strategy game
How do I choose the right (digital) communication activities for my organization? Should I use social media to reach my goal? Shouldn’t we do something with advertisements? Is the impact I want to achieve aligned with the goal I formulated? Questions like these are what The Media Strategy Game is all about.
The Media Strategy Game is developed to make professionals aware of the choices and opportunities involved in developing a communication strategy. Ways to communicate have changed since the arrival of the Internet and even more since the arrival of social media. It has become more difficult to control your message and manage what is being said. For instance, you cannot control what your customers are saying about your company on social media. Therefor it is important to make conscious decisions when it comes to a communication strategy. This is where the Media Strategy Games comes into play. The game is intended for everybody in the organisation that is involved in communicating a message, both inside and outside the organisation.
“Why?” is the central recurring question in this game. Apparently people (keep) forgetting to ask themselves why they use a certain communication strategy. The game will help professionals by combining four aspects: goals, instruments, activities and results. These aspects all have their own pre-formulated playing cards to help the players along. By playing the game, assumptions about the goals and results of the organisation and existing practices are made explicit, and the players have to discuss why they make certain choices within the game.
Goals, Instruments, Activities and Results
The blue playing cards translate the mission, the vision and the strategy of the organisation into business goals. In the game they give focus on what the organisation wants to achieve. To reach a goal different instruments (green playing cards) can be used. For instance when an organisation has the goal to generate more profit they can accomplish this by doing more promotions, by starting a dialogue with their customers, or by selling more products. If the instruments are chosen it is time for the activities (orange playing cards). Because when you have decided to use promotions you still have a lot of possibilities of how to promote your product. You could use a flyer or you could make a commercial for television. The question at play here is: Why is this activity the best to reach that specific goal (through the instrument)? Finally you have the purple playing cards, the results, to see if your activities have had any impact. Hereby it is crucial that you have results that are defined and which you can measure.
These four aspects are coupled to well known concepts for organisational processes: the strategic, tactic and operational phase. An impact phase was added, which resulted in the following model for the Media Strategy Game:
The basic gameplay is composing quartets by combining a card from each of the four aspects. Different ways for how to play the game have been developed for different goals that you might want to reach by using the game. For instance when you want to get to know the game better and see what possibilities there are, every player can be dealt two cards from every aspect. Next the players will have the opportunity to switch cards with the intent to make a good quartet. When everybody has a good quartet they will be asked to place them on the game board and explain to the rest of the group why this is a good quartet. Which can lead to a discussion that can give new insight to the organisation.
When it comes to the combinations the players decide what is “good” or “bad”. To help them during this process the game master might question choices that are being made. When a player is not sure about something, for instance when he or she thinks something might be too expensive or not within the capabilities of the organisation, he or she may play a “red card”. The red cards are put in to represent the different risks for realistic implementation of the chosen approaches.
Experience shows that the discussions during the game lead to enlightening insights. The game has proved itself to be valuable in professional trainings and in higher education. It stimulates discussions, provides insights for the development of an efficient media strategy and helps to create consensus.
Recently, an extensive workbook had been added which helps professionals to formulate their communication strategy with 16 models for business strategy, business modelling, leveraging tools and performance indicator. An English edition will be available at the end of 2015.
For more information about The Media Strategy Game, visit this website (please note that this website is in Dutch only). For questions about the game and possibilities for workshops contact Marloes Voskuilen at m.volkuilen[at]hva.nl.