Michael Mindes(DrMayhem)United States
Like myself, you also may have an appreciation for the comedic genius of Mel Brooks. For me, it might be because he is my grandmother's uncle's cousin's son (100% true). Of course, that makes him and me nothing as pointed out by another great line from the same great movie, Spaceballs.
Of course the joke is about the plethora of Star Wars merchandise that you can buy. Sheets, action figures, toilet paper, lunchboxes, and so forth. It is unlikely that you or I will ever create a game so popular that we can license it for sheets, but the lesson from the great and wise Yogurt is still important.
The Brand Beneath The Merchandizing
The reason George Lucas was able to license and sell so much Star Wars "junk" is because the underlying movie and brand are/were amazing. Now while thinking of the power of the Star Wars brand and how it compels some of us to buy, please think of the board game publisher that compels you to buy their products. Was it any of the following?
Fantasy Flight Games
Rio Grande Games
Days of Wonder
Tasty Minstrel Games (hey I can hope)
Now, think about what about that company compels you to buy their games... Think deeply about it. I will wait for you...
Now, regardless of the reasons you came up with, I suspect that at the core it is a result of prior experiences with that publisher and that you feel or know that you will get more value for your board gaming dollar buying from them than from others.
I suspect that people smarter than me who I have never met would refer to this as brand loyalty.
So, think of a game company as the brand that is being licensed into merchandizing.
The Merchandizing That Builds The Brand
Of course, Star Wars did not immediately start selling toilet paper licenses! It probably started with action figures and progressed forwards from there.
As there was more and more stuff that was Star Wars related floating around, more people knew what Star Wars was. I think those same smart people as before might call this brand awareness.
Now, just think of games as licensed merchandise of a brand which is not only providing revenue but building the brand. Games are like this, since every time somebody buys, sees, or plays a game the brand of that publisher will be affected, positively or negatively.
So, be careful about what you allow your brand to be associated with. Don't let it hang around with the wrong crowd. Choose something that you want your brand to represent and stick with it in the face of all odds.
In the end you should attract fans one by one that will love you, love your brand, and be willing to defend and evangelize for you. If you can unlock this power, then you can claim the keys to the kingdom.