Modern Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Strategy

What is (and isn't) gamification? How brands are building interactive communities

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By Laura Blackwell | Content Executive

October 10, 2022 | 7 min read

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Interactivity is spearheading the future of customer experience, and gamification is the sharp end of that spear. Some are already nailing it, but where are others going wrong? We asked five experts.

Mario on Nintendo Switch

When users frequently interact with and have a connection to a brand - that's when gamification works / Pablo Arenas via Unsplash

Jon Goynshor, senior vice president, global head of partnerships, VMLY&R Commerce

Gaming is pop culture’s greatest form of escapism, with over three billion players contributing to an estimated $200bn in yearly revenue, $67bn in micro-transactions, and almost $10bn in advertising.

But many brands aren’t delivering on the gamification part because they’re treating the audience as a target and not inviting them to be part of the campaign/gaming community.

Depending on brand attributes, business objectives and category, ‘edutainment’ could be a compelling approach. A great example is climate activist group Greenpeace raising awareness about environmental issues within the popular video game Grand Theft Auto.

For gamification to be effective, put the gaming community, brand and consumer experience at the center of everything you do, with a bias toward action-plus-measurement to keep iterating success.

Rob Leeks, creative innovations director, Iris

I’m a great believer in using the right tools at the right time. It must be idea first, execution second. This applies to gamification. It’s an incredibly powerful tool when used correctly.

An example is our Samsung Backstage platform which, through gamified learning and targeted goals, has achieved dramatic results in sales for our client. Product data sheets and whiteboard sales targets no longer cut it.

I don’t see gamification disappearing any time soon, especially with the exponential rise of game-centric metaverse activations. Lest we forget, generation alpha have grown up with gamification as a core part of their online experience.

But less useful is gamification for its own sake, like when Google started giving people badges for reading certain news stories. Who feels the need to show off what stories they're reading?

Ellie Hanson, marketing manager, Rawnet

Gamification is coming of age. Our Gamification Report last year saw a record £420m invested in UK companies using this technology to stay competitive. This is a staggering contrast to 2019's £166m record. So, why has gamification boomed in the past few years?

Gamification continues to evolve and impact brands across industries. There are significant benefits to incorporating gamified content into business strategy, helping organizations to drastically improve their e-commerce experience. Over time, gamification will build a community of advocates who have an emotional connection to the brand and frequently interact with it.

If gamification strategies are planned and implemented correctly, they can help to drive future business growth through increased customer lifetime value, optimized customer acquisition, and overall consumer satisfaction.

David Chamberlain, chief experience design officer, Momentum Worldwide

Who doesn't love gamification? I'm not talking about those annoying, pop-up spin-to-win wheels, but compelling games that leave you wanting more. Gamification, when done correctly, can be an extremely effective marketing tool for creating an immersive consumer experience.

Games drive repeat visits, shares, conversions, and ultimately brand awareness. Gaming, even with seemingly 'solo' games, is an inherently social behavior. Do you think someone who gets Wordle in will not immediately share that feat with their fellow devotees? The best experiences are enjoyed as a group, tapping into the basic human need to compete, win, and be part of something.

Whatever gamification platform you choose to adopt, there are four key principles to consider: First, is it fun? No-one wants to play a boring game. Second, is it simple? Unless you're running a promotion for the Queen's Gambit, no one is going to take the time to learn something as difficult as chess.

Third, is it relevant? Be clear about who you're targeting and find a reason to make them care. And finally, what’s the reward? People won’t give you their email addresses or download an app without getting something in return. Brands that use gamification in the right way will differentiate themselves from the competition, while creating perceived value for customers.

Oisin Wood, head of creative technology, TrunkBBI

Gamification can be a powerful tool to drive user engagement with your brand. It isn’t about creating AAA experiences for customers, but more about giving them a quick interaction that educates with lasting, repeatable entertainment value.

It’s important to understand the goals of the experience before development. Most of the time, it’s to grow brand awareness; an interaction or game that takes too long to complete or has as steep learning curve can put people off, having a negative effect on the person’s opinion of the brand.

At TrunkBBI, we’ve found that an ideal approach is a short, snappy game or interaction which people come back for. Teaching them about the brand while giving them a fun experience will help evoke positive feelings. A good prize helps, too.

Modern Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Strategy

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VMLY&R

VMLY&R is a global marketing agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. The agency is made up of nearly 7,000 employees worldwide with principal offices in Kansas City, London, New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. VMLY&R works with client partners including Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Ford, Office Depot, Pfizer and Wendy's.

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Iris

You won’t catch us or our clients playing it safe. Iris. For the forward.

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Rawnet

Rawnet is a digital agency that defines, designs, delivers and drives strategic products and services that create a long-term positive impact.

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Momentum Worldwide

Momentum is an agency of doers.

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TrunkBBI

TrunkBBI is an award-winning integrated agency made up of 80 specialist thinkers, creators, analysts, influencers and technologists. Inspired by insights, we’re a place that puts creatives and activation specialists together — storytellers and strategists, designers and data scientists. We capture your audience in the perfect moment with perfect content, producing startling results.

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