Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Armchair Repairs:

I didn't write this someone said I could use it on the condition of anonononominimityism anyways it was their take on how BF could fix their current issues.

 We all would have Stratagems to Control and Counter the PSC (insert X-brand 15mm WWII mini manufacturer) superior points of difference, being AVAILABILITY, PRICE and QUALITY.

So currently the customer visible practices are:

- lockdown BF Tournament miniature usage

- suggest that BF-supported Tournaments do the same

- control the Gamer-2-Gamer & Web message by the BF Ranger program

- control the Local Game Store message as BF Dealers getting deals for promoting the brand

- expand BF-associated Tournaments in the US & UK/EUR

The things they need to do in addition is:

- make public statements and display how they are working on improving their Quality Control & Assurance,

- show how they practise their goals of providing a Quality Product

- Structure and Control their own damned infernal Supply Chain, it is a SHAMBLES.

- Win back their customers and potential customers worldwide by functional, real world, gamer friendly displays. eg, Website quiz to win Minis or limited edition clobber.

- Talk To Your Customers, don't just Tell Them What They Are Thinking. BF is terrible at this, they always state what their customers want. "I don't want to play against non BF minis, yo" - this is what a BF sales rep would say, who is not a customer. Easy to achieve with simple (and done in the past) web market research that you can then use to actually back up your position or change it when your customers show you their opinions. Have questionnaires at major stores, send them out with orders. Most importantly is follow the advice as it will make your product and brand better.

- Control your Message by allowing your supporters to provide positive examples of your good practice and superior brand. They cannot provide those examples without the company making the best choices for the customers. Make sure you have a company wide message that syncs your customers needs to your goals. Brands fail when they think they are bigger than their customers. People buy products they identify with as part of themselves.

- Provide options that allow their customers to gain a benefit from spending money on your product. eg Boxes actually provide discounts, distribution chain wide deals for 'spend x, get y'. This doesn't mean the RRP changes, this means the customer has incentives to buy your stock over the cheaper stuff sitting next to it or easily accessible online, straight to their door.

The saddest thing is that they could do all these properly, it is achievable even for a 'company of their size'. They need to make it a priority across the entire staff, every team.

Not just hot air, it needs to be parcelled out as process changes, mentality shifts and the realisation that if they continue forward they really will lose what made them a successful company with generous support from its customers.

The issue I believe is that they are largely ignoring the tough work and feeling busy enough doing the achievable work of supplying miniatures to dealers, building miniatures and having very high production issues with their products.

They are losing the PR war, if they haven't lost it already. A lot of their longest supporters are growing very weary and tired of the same issues and mistakes, becoming jokes to laugh off, then memes, then embarrassments.

There are still a lot of people who enjoy Flames of War and who want the system and Battlefront to do well. But to be mistaken for fervent supporters who can take any change and continue to provide the same brand loyalty is a very dangerous and arrogant assumption.