If you haven't had the satisfaction of eliminating all the pigs (and getting three stars in the process), then some people would certainly say you are missing out. If you have a friend who owns an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch/Galaxy Tab/any Android phone with the Google marketplace on it - I strongly suggest you ask them to download Angry Birds (if they haven't already) and give it a go. At the very least, you'll be entertained for a period of five minutes... or in most cases... much, much longer.
I don't think the team of 12 at Rovio really understood what Angry Birds was capable of becoming when it was first released back in December of 2009, despite the 8 months of R&D they did before launching the project. Today Angry Birds has evolved from more than just an application to become a symbol for the rise of mobile gaming and in a way the disruption of traditional gaming. To date Angry Birds has been downloaded over 42 million times. What lessons can marketers take away from the success of the Angry Birds brand? Someone could and probably will write a book about this topic but for now, here are 3 ideas:
1. Your brand should be engaging - One-way messages are dead. Customers are now wired to ignore them. They are tuned in to WII FM - what's in it for me (I learned this from a brilliant Professor in school by the name of Alan Quarry). Anything a brand does should engage a consumer and offer them something valuable. In the case of Angry Birds that value comes in the form of a brief (or extended) period of entertainment. If you manage to engage a consumer and provide them with a valuable experience, odds are a consumer would want to share that experience with a friend.
2. Your brand should be accessible - Angry Birds has made itself available to consumers on many platforms. Where you choose to distribute your brand can certainly influence the level of adoption your brand has. The Internet is probably the ultimate distribution channel because it is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. If your brand does not have a presence online, then you are certainly behind the curve. If your brand does have a presence online, think about how you can leverage that presence to build a bigger tribe. In other words, if you're using social media channels that's great but those are now the table stakes, what are you doing to add value to customers' lives via that medium?
3. Your brand should be evolving - Angry Birds has expanded into areas that go beyond the virtual space. Most recently it has turned into a board game. Although the success of this brand extension is yet to be determined, the nature of it makes sense. The makers of Angry Birds have realized the tremendous success of the brand and it has begun to evolve. I can only imagine what the folks over at Rovio have planned for the brand this year. In order to stay relevant, a brand has to continually evolve with its customer base. Make moves that make sense and ones that won't alienate your core followers but instead amplify their current experience and cause them to bring on more followers.
Final thoughts: Angry Birds is a lot more than just a game, it is a case study in brand evolution.