Anyone fancy a gamification?

Gamification? What does this currently in vogue buzzword actually mean?

The commonly accepted definition of gamification is “to apply game dynamics and game thinking to non-game environments to increase engagement, loyalty and fun”. We’d also like to suggest two other key words to describe this type of relationship strategy: INTERACTION and PROGRESS.

Understanding and utilising the power of interaction is vital for brands in today’s millennial society with the explosion of technology and a growing affinity and acceptance of the interconnected world we live in.

We are all interacting with more people, more brands and more platforms than ever before both on and offline – often with different motivations. It might be for social or entertainment purposes; it could be to benefit from promotions and special offers, gain recognition or kudos amongst peer groups, increase knowledge, or simply to make life easier. One thing that all of these aspects have in common though is the sense of progression, which is a vital part of gamification.

Progress is something intrinsic to gaming across all platforms and media. Recognition from peers, badges of honour, leaderboards, high scores, collecting, discoveries, achievements and yes, rewards are all strong motivating factors. Indeed, a study into motivation by Harvard Business Review in 2010 found that the strongest factor that kept them motivated from day-to-day was this sense of progress.

Therefore it makes sense for brands to look to incorporate these gaming-style motivations into future strategies, helping to improve overall engagement and success. 

For those brands successfully adopting gamification elements into their promotions, the advantages are numerous. They can help promotions to be more inclusive for more consumers, increase brand loyalty and the length of time spent engaging with the campaign, gain higher conversion rates, more viral appeal,  and perhaps most importantly, offer a solid platform to encourage user generated content (UGC) and brand engagement.

With UGC seemingly now a part of everyone’s lives through reviews, referrals, comments, forums, complaints/praise, sharing and social media – gamification offers a great way to harness the benefits of these with an increase in brand engagement, leading to higher redemptions, sales or leads.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that as with all emerging and popular CRM tactics, gamification needs to be considered as part of an integrated strategy with holistic objectives in order to succeed.

There is no point in gamifying part of a campaign or promotion for the sake of it; there needs to be a defined purpose, clear routes to engagement and most importantly, an understanding of the motivations of the intended users. Why would they get involved, does it help them connect with the brand, what are their motivations and is there a suitable reward or sense of progress at the end?

Get all of those things right, and brands can start to see the benefits of gamification at first hand.

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