Wordle Up: What the Global phenomenon teaches us about knowing your need state

The simple online game taking the world by storm, and what it shows us about meeting people’s needs.

What’s the Word(le)?

If you’ve ventured online over the past weeks, you’ve probably heard of Wordle, or seen people posting strange mosaics of yellow, green, and grey tiles. So, what exactly is this phenomenon and what does it tell us about the power of servicing your audience’s needs?

Wordle is a very simple word game. It was created by an engineer whose wife loves puzzles, so he built her a daily word game for them to play together. Since going online in Autumn 2021, Wordle has skyrocketed from 90 players a day in November, to 2 million a day in January 2022. The game has already been cloned on several apps, but the true, ad-free and simple format remains the most popular and has now been purchased by the New York Times for a 7-figure sum. The power of words indeed!

Simplicity’s the Word(le)

How has a little online game achieved such success in a matter of months? Well, if you ask any of the games’ millions of daily players, you would most likely be told that they just love the simplicity of it. The name of the game is to guess a 5-letter word, and you get 6 guesses. Each guess will let you know if any of the letters you’ve used appear in the day’s word (the letter tile will turn yellow), and if you have placed the letter in the correct space in the word it will turn green. Using powers of deduction and a healthy dose of trial and error, you can use the remaining letters to suss out the word of the day.

Simple in premise, and in execution: there is only one Wordle a day, so you can’t get swept away in a game play storm (we’re looking at you, candy crush…), there are no ads or in-app purchases, or even an app for that matter. The game has become a mindfulness exercise for many players, just one with a healthy dose of competition as you can share your time and tile layout with your friends and family.

State of the World(le)

This provides an interesting insight into a recent wave of trends that see people going back to basics. In the age of Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music keeping pretty much every note of music ever composed only a click away, Sky News are reporting a 30 year high in vinyl record sales in 2021. Why the extremes? Well, many surmise that this is something of a “slow down and smell the roses” effect born out of the pandemic – where many of us were forced to stop in our tracks and rethink what we really enjoy doing, as a more simplified routine became a part of our everyday lives.

So, what does this mean for marketing?

The core of every marketing strategy is trying to figure out how to best match your product or service with the need-state of your potential customers. (And if that need-state isn’t there, how do we create one?) Sometimes with the focus on proposition, you can lose sight on the essence of the product. And of course, the answer is always there.

If millions of people are going to the Wordle website everyday just to spend 5 minutes enjoying a clean, uninterrupted word riddle, then this tells us something huge about what the potential customers and clients want, and apparently that is something simple that just meets their need.

Think One pride ourselves on building our client’s marketing strategies around need-states and we use data to guide our understanding of what the demographics are really looking for. When you know everything about your sector and your product offering, it can be very easy to focus on what image and information you want to present, and not what your customers are really looking for.

So, we start off simple and build a robust picture of your world, which then feeds into our visual & verbal identity and digital performance work. Because sometimes the best keywords to target are the simplest ones, and the best campaigns convey a single-minded message, delivered beautifully.

We can’t help you on today’s Wordle (that would be no fun!) but we can help you to demystify and pinpoint what your customers want, giving you a strategy for best leveraging channels to communicate to them about you. If you’d like your words to matter more in 2022, get in touch, we’d love to help.

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