Shockwave Brand Book

What is Shockwave?

This is a question that has vexed nearly everyone at the company since it first began. Even before I was officially on the staff, we had embarked on a mission to answer this question. It only took us two and a half years to do it–and that's on top of the seven years before that.

It's a tough question, because how do you define who you are, when who you are seems largely based on the content from others? That's where we kept getting stuck. Through a lot of work and exercises, we figured out that it's not our content that defines us. WE define us.

And that's what this brand book is for. It's to help all of us–me, all of our employees, our partners, vendors, ad sales teams, and so on–to understand just what and who Shockwave is.

So to answer the question, "What is Shockwave,?" THIS is Shockwave!

Go on, click the link. Check it out for a bit, then come back. This post will still be here.

Shockwave is FUN! Shockwave is HIGH QUALITY! Shockwave is the BEST VALUE in casual gaming!

In a few words, "Shockwave is the best casual gaming experience online."

Now, that statement is not just about who we ARE, it is also aspirational; it is about who we SAY we are.

Shockwave started out way back when as the place to go online to find the most fun, entertaining content available for free. That content has changed dramatically over time, once we figured out that games games were the way to go - because everyone plays games, and everyone online would play games online.
A deliberately puzzling brand book

So at our core, Shockwave is all about games. In fact, this entire brand book is one big game, made up of lots of smaller games - puzzles, cyphers, clues, etc. - that can be found all throughout.

Have you noticed anything in there so far that looks like it might be a game?

You haven't clicked the link to check out the brand book, have you?


The thing to understand is that you don't have to know that the brand book is a big game to get what the main message of the brand book. But knowing that really helps reinforce the message.

So part of the Brand Book Game is figuring out in the first place that there are puzzles to solve and games to play in the book. We made it a point to make some of the puzzles and clues very obvious so that it might encourage readers to seek out the more hard-to-find puzzles. We also made some of the puzzles easy to solve, and some of the clues easy to spot, but there are also some that are really challenging. Which is somewhat consistent with what Shockwave is all about. We have games that are easy, and games that are hard. Much like our site, the more time and effort you put into the Brand Book, the more you will get out of it. Now don't be too worried about finding every puzzle or clue, or having to figure out the ones that you do. We designed it so that the overall puzzle is possible to figure out with having only solved a few of the individual puzzles. To reiterate, you don't have to do this to "get" the brand, but what kind of a Brand Book would this have been if we didn't have some fun and games with it?

I won't go into detail on every section–that's for you all to do on your own. But, it's basically divided up into two core sections: Who, What, & Why in the first part, and the How in the second part.

In the first part, we start out with our top-line, what we stand for. Then we move into where we came from, and on to where we're heading We talk about what our audience can expect of us, then who our audience is, and ultimately who we are and who we say we are.

The second part is about our style, our look and feel. Of course, we tried to impart a sense of that throughout all of the book, but we also lay it out more clearly here.

That's pretty much it.

The one thing to know about the Brand Book is that this is basically our stake in the ground. I alluded to this earlier; it's not just about who we are, it is really about who we SAY we are, who and what we aspire to be. This is meant to be used as a tool, to help us all better understand what we are collectively all about, and to better explain this to others. It's also a guide, a checklist of sorts. You can use it to measure messaging against, or to see if your ideas for the business are line with our mission. Or perhaps it will inspire you to think of new ideas for the business.

Jake provides tremendous passion for creating a world class user experiences and design on web and mobile platforms. He balances creative thinking and strategic insight with his knowledge of technology capabilities and understanding of various business contexts.
— Ambra Wellbeloved - VP Shockwave , MTVN