PR and marketing aren’t all fun and games…until you read this.

We’ve all seen the displays in electronics sections of retail stores where you can play demos of the latest video games. But what if you could turn the customer experience into a game or competition of sorts?

A lot of brands are tapping into a trend called gamification; the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. Gamification is very useful in its internal uses, but even greater in its marketing and PR capabilities.

We want to show you how necessary gamification is for your PR and marketing strategy based on the evidence and best execution.

Why Do We Keep Playing?

Gamification plays into the human psyche. It works by rewarding validation for completing a task, which triggers a dopamine response. Dopamine stimulates attitudes of motivation to complete the task, the willingness to repeat it again for more dopamine responses and the learning of new patterns to access rewards.

In other words, our brains love games, but even more than that, they love rewards and competition. A successful game has defined, achievable, assessable, desirable, short-term goals. Games with these types of goals will keep players coming back for more.

Game designers should also keep in mind the loss-aversion theory, which explains that individuals would rather avoid loss than acquire equivalent gains. Players don’t want to lose rewards and will therefore keep playing. At the same time though, it is important to keep risk low so that people do not avoid the game entirely.

Taking it to the Next Level

With our ever-shrinking attention spans and oversaturated digital spaces, marketers and PR professionals need to capture their audience quickly as well as keep them engaged. Gamification is a fantastic tool for driving user engagement.

Studies have shown gamification increases engagement by almost half and increases information retention by 40%. These stats come courtesy of a book by Gabe Zichermann called Gamification by Design, which discusses the benefits of gamification in the workplace. Imagine the engagement and retention in a marketing context.

Beyond that, gamification helps grow brand awareness and loyalty. If a game you create is engaging, then people will remember it and chances are they’ll share their experience and create more conversions. Plus, if your game offers real rewards like discounts or other perks and customers can keep earning them, they won’t have a reason to seek out other brands.

Digital games also produce a highly sought-after commodity: data. A game that is engaging and offers the right amount of competitiveness and rewards will increase the likelihood of customers’ willingness to share some data.

This isn’t just a trend or a bandwagon to hop onto. Consumers want games and prefer experiences over price. 10,000 global shoppers were surveyed and 70% said they want games incorporated into online shopping. It’s time to start giving the people what they want.

Gamification Winners

Though there are a lot of good examples out there, these companies clearly won the game of gamification. Here are our top three games for customers of various brands.

  1. KFC — KFC launched a marketing campaign in Japan designed to drive awareness and generate sales of a new product called Ebi shrimp. They partnered with Gamify to create a game called Shrimp Attack. Players could earn vouchers for the new product by playing the game; which was played over 850,000 times. It was so successful that the campaign had to be halted midway through because KFC locations ran out of the product.
  2. Fitbit — Other copycats exist out in the world, but Fitbit is one of the first to develop an affordable consumer product that actively tracks activity and bodily functions in the interest of improving health. Fitbit has game-influenced features that encourage users to meet daily goals of exercise and stay healthy. 127 million Fitbit electronic devices have been sold worldwide and with over 111 million registered users on their tracking app since 2021.
  3. Duolingo — It would be wrong not to mention Duolingo. This is an example of a product that is, in itself, a game. Duolingo makes learning a new language engaging by turning the process itself into a game. It shows progression, rewards achievements to users and ways to publicly display levels of mastery. The app has over 500 million downloads and 58.6 million active users.

Gamification is no longer a trend or an added bonus, it’s a strategy. If you are looking for a way to boost engagement for your brand or sell a product, consider ways you could turn it into a game. Whether it’s a competition against others or a personal competition for oneself, games are a way to shake up the monotony of the current digital market and drive more people to your brand.

If you’re eager to delve into this powerful strategy and explore its potential for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re here to discuss and guide you towards gamification success.

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