As president of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aimé (or just “@Reggie” as the internet knows him) revitalized a legendary but lagging video game brand. In the ’00s, Nintendo was losing the console wars to Sony and Microsoft, but with the Nintendo Wii, Fils-Aimé’s strategy — which focused on fitness and new gameplay concepts — brought old fans back while creating millions of new ones.
Fils-Aimé’s new book, Disrupting the Game, traces his story in life and business. He shared his insights with b. on the importance of reinvention.
First, Understand Your Core Identity
Your company’s new identity should have some continuity with the old; make sure you aren’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater. “I always start by understanding the fundamental truths about the brand,” Fils-Aimé says.
That means asking three questions in particular:
- “What are the key words and images associated with the brand?”
- “What differentiates the brand from its competitors?”
- “What current topics or themes can be associated with my brand that make it relevant today?”
Next, Expand Your Target Audience
Entirely new products should attract entirely new users. That sounds obvious but companies forget it all too often. “The Nintendo Wii tapped into the desire for consumers to play video games together and broadened the appeal of playing games with older consumers and women,” Fils-Aimé says.
With a successful brand refresh, new customers will join your current ones, not replace them. Even for veteran gamers, the Wii was still a blast. As Fils-Aimé explains, “The Wii remote controller was easy to pick up and the games were highly accessible.”
Always Learn as You Go
No business leader is perfect, and Fils-Aimé is not afraid to reflect on his own occasional failures. In fact, he believes that it’s absolutely critical for leaders to acknowledge when a new marketing strategy is going poorly.
“The leader must not ignore the data or results that show a problem,” Fils-Aimé says. “Immediately review alternatives to course correct the problem. You need to be as unemotional as possible [and] boldly take action.”
Finally, Disrupt Your Own Disruption
When the Nintendo 3DS launched in 2011, the $249 consumer price point was too high — and the software pipeline of new games was six months behind — so Fils-Aimé made a bet that massively paid off.
“We decided to execute a massive $80 price reduction to rebuild momentum until the new software was available,” he says. “And we provided free digital games to early buyers … to keep them as positive ambassadors for the device.”
The result? “Nintendo 3DS went on to sell more than 75 million devices during its lifetime.” Now that’s a high score.
Disrupting the Game by Reggie Fils-Aimé is available now.