Consumers are getting smarter and smarter thanks to the never-ending advancement of technology around them. Suddenly, marketers can’t resort to the usual tactics of just spending a ton of money and expecting consumers to respond to advertisements that they see on social media. Even platforms like Facebook and Google are regularly making changes to the way brands gain more exposure on their channels, leveling the playing field between you and your competitors fighting over the same target market. With that in mind, how does one stand out from the crowd and direct customers’ attention your way?
Gamification Works And Here Are 5 Examples Why
Keep Customers Entertained
Building a new product feature takes time. More often than not, it can take up to a year to build, test and launch a feature that will vastly improve your customer’s experience. How do you hold their attention and keep them patient whilst you make them wait for a year for a new introduction to your product family? The answer – tease them with snippets of the new feature without revealing too much, whilst getting them involved in the discovery process. That way, your customers will be engrossed in finding out and reading more about what you’re planning. Your core development team can then work in the background to meet the launch deadline.
Game developer company, Blizzard Entertainment, executed this perfectly by hiding a series of discoverable yet tough-to-crack “clues” within every update of their massively successful game Overwatch in order to introduce a new character. The clues were easy to miss for most yet they were targeted towards those with trained eyes. So, the public kept themselves busy with solving puzzles and cryptic messages, and Blizzard’s Overwatch team worked in the background to focus on making sure the character was ready to be released to their Public Test Region servers.
The amount of work put into teasing the community of loyal fans was one of the most detailed and meticulous many had seen in a long time and you can read through the entire process here. The hype built around it was so large that Overwatch ended up getting exposure from top news sites like Forbes and International Business Time.
Enhance Customers’ Experience
Customers and clients always want the best value they can get out of your products and services. If you can offer them something more than what was initially advertised, you might retain their loyalty for much longer. However, giving them that something special doesn’t just have to be confined to excellent customer service or special rewards for frequent users/buyers. It can be creative ways for them to experience your service from different channels or times.
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AMC’s hit TV series The Walking Dead immersed their viewers fully in the zombie-infested world by giving them more than what was aired on their screens every week. Viewers were invited to join in AMC’s “multi-screen experience” by going online during commercial breaks and taking part in quizzes, Twitter chats with the show’s team and read up on additional trivia about background stories to individual characters portrayed. Although the content presented to the audience did not directly affect the way the episodes panned out, it gave the audience a deeper insight into the characters that would’ve otherwise been hard to showcase by the producers.
Turn Employers Into Brand Advocates
We know what you’re thinking, the examples so far have all been related to the entertainment industry, so it’s naturally much easier to gamify the experience for their customers. Here’s how you can use gamification to turn your staff into brand advocates for you.
IBM Company, Bluewolf identified that gamification would help improve internal relationships which meant better work output and better service delivered to their clients. Employees were awarded scores based on the activities they carried out such as publishing a blogpost on Bluewolf’s website, replying to customers’ enquiries, or even sharing Bluewolf’s content on their own social media accounts.
To promote inter-departmental connectivity, friendly competition among staff was introduced with leaderboards, notifications and newsfeeds – much like a social network just for those in the company. Employees are then able to use their accumulated scores to redeem either physical or virtual goods. When open communication and friendly competition is encouraged, members of the company regardless of seniority or department feel empowered and project more positivity that translates into interaction with clients.
Increase Brand Awareness
Getting your brand, company or cause recognised is not something that requires a large budget to achieve. In fact, you can be the next global viral sensation by simple gamification methods that you may already be familiar with.
What do the Ice Bucket Challenge, The Mannequin Challenge and Murad Osmann have in common? They have all been web sensations before and are internationally recognised by almost anyone who has an Internet connection. They also required very little spending, a lot of creativity and simple mechanics to get to the peak of virality. We also like with a bit of gamification, you can increase awareness for anything. The core idea behind these 3 campaigns was simple – create something that’s easily replicable for individuals and groups to execute. You’ll also inadvertently help gain awareness for people and companies connected to the campaign.
For the Ice Bucket Challenge, it spread globally in 2014, winning the unsponsored support of notable celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey and even Ethal Kennedy. While many have refuted its effectiveness in actually raising awareness for ALS, the virality of the campaign managed to raise $100m in 30 days to fund research.
You may not have heard of Murad Osmann before but you will have definitely seen pictures of couples inspired by him and his now wife everywhere. He’s cited to be the creator of the famous #followmeto photo series most commonly seen on Instagram. It’s a simple concept that’s easily replicated and because of this simple idea, him and his wife, Nataly Osmann, grew their brand as fashion photographers and now travel the world as photographers, TV hosts and producers. The best part – they kept their signature despite millions of others doing the same and boosted their brand in doing so.
No one is really sure of the origins of The Mannequin Challenge that was probably the most recognisable Internet trend of 2016. But one thing is for sure, it raised the profile for the people behind the unofficial anthem of the video, hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd. Regardless of whether you like the genre or not, you recognise it easily now thanks to the numerous videos circling the Internet by different groups trying to create The Best Mannequin Challenge Video Ever.
This article would not be complete without a nod to the earliest forms of gamification – loyalty programs. It’s the most common method to increase sales and for any company selling a product. We can credit great loyalty and point-collection programs to many companies but we particular like loyalty programs that are mobile-friendly as mobile penetration everywhere is getting higher each year.
Starbucks can be easily found around the corner of every major city in the world. Even if you are a loud and proud coffee connoisseur, you probably would have succumbed to the convenience of walking to a Starbucks at least a few times before. It’s no surprise that Starbucks introduced a card that you could use to pay for your coffee with prepaid money. It also doubled up as a point collection program that allowed regular customers to redeem free drinks and food. Eventually, customers could also download the Starbucks app that functioned similarly to the card which made it even more convenient. If you were only 3 drinks away from a free grande latte, wouldn’t you be even more tempted to keep going back to Starbucks?
Gamification strategies can be inexpensive and relatively easy to roll out. Plus, it’s a great way to reward customers and drive company morale up. However, always bear in mind that as with every strategy, identifying your target market is very important so you don’t push your message out to the completely wrong crowd.