A genuine development strategy for serious games
Daesign: the almost unbelievable story of a company which switched from video games and interactive design to professional training in a matter of months. The u-turn was navigated following what resembled an industrial accident five years ago. "At the time, we were working on a Columbo-themed video game," says Damian Nolan, Sales Director at Daesign.
As everyone knows, the beloved police detective's world was characterised, not by wild car chases or bloody shootouts, but by good dialogue and endless questions. This led the Daesign teams to invent a dialogue simulator for the game which, to the dismay of fans of the television series, was never finished. "The technology developed, however, was promising and only needed an outlet not to be shelved. It was practically by accident that the game's prototype caught the attention of a BNP Paribas executive who thought the idea could be put to good use training managers to perform annual reviews," remembers Damian Nolan.
And that is how a video game concept became Daesign's flagship e-learning product. It was a happy coincidence, since in the e-learning games niche, the young company has few competitors. There are many more serious games developers in the United Kingdom and the United States, whereas the market has not yet reached maturity in France. Daesign's challenge, then, was to make itself known. "We were primarily focusing on improving our brand awareness when we started to work with Quatre Vents", explains Damian.
"We were confident in our products: our serious games had attracted several major groups such as AXA, Crédit Agricole and Orange. The vast majority of decision makers we met were interested in our offer, but we still had poor visibility with most of our potential clients. The idea was simply to make our offer more visible in a truly original and unknown niche," he adds.
The sales campaign designed by Quatre Vents progressively picked up momentum. "We were drawn to their approach which involves mixing communication channels at regular intervals." An initial overall e-mail campaign was followed by a second, more precisely targeted mail campaign with invitations to make an appointment. Next came the newsletter in both paper and digital versions. The organisation of our first breakfast debate last February completed the multi-channel strategy. 150 prospects attended, and a total of over 300 expressed an interest in the event. "This progressive strategy generated over 75 customer appointments," estimates Damian Nolan. It also helped double Daesign's forecast turnover for 2008.
Yet even above and beyond turnover, Damian Nolan also mentions the "creative contribution of the Quatre Vents teams: we were looking for consulting services for an overall strategy, and we found it in Quatre Vents, which demonstrated its ability to transform its overall expertise into concrete actions." This creativity does not compromise the serious work done by the Quatre Vents teams: "Quatre Vents is a reliable partner which sets up a schedule for both you and itself, and then honours it," he concludes.