Richard Robinson, General Manager of LeadFamly UK, explains what gamification is, and how it can be useful to us as marketers.
When I started my career, marketing seemed pretty straight forward. You knew who your audience was and where to find them, so you spent most of the time working on the messaging. At that time, in the UK there were four TV channels, only two of which were commercial, so finding consumers was not that tough.
I know that it is trite to say, but the world has very much changed. Today, consumers are in control. They decide what to consume, when, and how. As marketers, we have to not only redefine who our audiences are, and what the right messages are to engage them, but also navigate the myriad of channels, platforms, and devices to find them. That said, if you get it right, you can transform the way you engage with your audience.
We believe that there is one approach, older than marketing itself, that can help you achieve this. Gamification in marketing has proven to be a powerful method to reach levels of engagement, interaction, and involvement that is impossible for other marketing techniques to get close to.
But what is “gamification”? At LeadFamly we use this definition: gamification is the application of game design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.
How can gamification in marketing be useful to you?
One of our FMCG customers recently executed a game campaign where, on average, the target audience spent 04:48 minutes engaged in the experience. How many branding or sales messages get this kind of active attention? Very few I suspect.
It is the game-design elements, or game mechanics, that are the power in gamification. They play directly with the way our brains work, at a subconscious level. Our brains are hardwired to play games. Participating in games actually has a chemical reaction in our brains, releasing “feel-good” hormones like serotonin and dopamine, making the experience for consumers very hard to beat!
At LeadFamly, we have identified five game mechanics that have proven especially powerful in marketing:
Game mechanic no. 1: I want to be challenged
A challenging game requires an effort from the player. There may be an obstacle to overcome or a task to complete. This engages the player, demands attention, and screens off distractions.
A leading enterprise technology firm challenged its target audience to complete a quiz by stating that “8 out of 10” professionals didn’t get every question right, thus challenging them to see if they were part of the exclusive group that could. The company saw huge engagement with the quiz, captured a significant number of sign-ups as well as having participants sharing and challenging their colleagues to do better than them.
Game mechanic no. 2: I like to be rewarded
We all like to receive rewards especially in return for our efforts. A reward can be tangible (for instance a product, voucher or a gift) or intangible (such as an experience, feedback or insight about ourselves or something we are interested in).
Our customer, Costcutter, made a simple, but alluring spin-the-wheel game for Valentine’s Day. Players just had to spin the wheel to see if they won a prize. In a matter of seconds the player knew if he or she had won, and this immediate response helped to make the game a huge success for the consumers and Costcutter.
Game mechanic no. 3: I want to mirror myself in others
We are all looking at other people to define ourselves – both positively (“this is like me”) and negatively (“this is definitely not like me”). It fills our very human need to see and feel that we belong to a group, and to answer the question “how do I compare?”
Leading fashion brand VERO MODA created the quiz, “How Hygge Are You?” which invited the audience to find out how they measured up to the Danish concept of hygge. Once they completed the quiz, participants received a short profile of how they fitted into the concept, reinforcing their self-understanding within a strong cultural reference point.
Game mechanic no. 4: I want to compete
One of the most basic drivers of human action is the eagerness to compete. The urge to win over others releases massive amounts of hormones, and explains why sports has become a major pastime.
Competition is about the desire to win, but underneath lies a desire to define and value yourself. Competition taps into the subconscious levels of the mind and can hook people like almost nothing else. Neste, an energy company from Finland, released a game where players had to catch some eggs while avoiding the witches – competing for a tank of gas.
Game mechanic no. 5: I want to have fun
Yes, it’s that simple. Just spending some time with an entertaining task can be very attractive to everyone, offering a welcome distraction or even escapism. We all need this from time to time.
During the first lockdown in 2020, skincare brand Carbon Theory launched the “Drop Game”, a simple but absorbing game which would provide customers with a few minutes of pure fun. To make the game even more accessible, Carbon Theory chose to skip the usual registration form, so that people could play instantly.
Make gamification in marketing work for you
With their insights about game mechanics and how they work in the human mind, LeadFamly help companies design powerful marketing campaigns that deliver immediate results. Get in touch for a no strings attached chat.