Games have long been a crucial part of entertainment and education throughout history. From sports for physical conditioning, to board games like chess for military strategy, and even discovery games for early childhood learning.
The one thing that all games have in common, regardless of the environment they are played in, is a point, reward and ranking system. These are used as tools to encourage competition amongst those participating.
Yet the term gamification, relatively new, is in reference to taking these elements and applying them to non-game activities. Which is what we are looking at today.
In the marketing and advertising world, the use of gamification is fast becoming an engaging and effective way to educate customers and garner brand loyalty.
Let’s deep-dive into the world of gamification in marketing and business.
What is Gamification?
The basic definition is this:
‘Adding game elements to non-game activities to encourage engagement.’
It’s taking the fundamental elements of a game (points, badges, and leaderboards) and applying them to activities that are not generally considered “games”. One of the best examples of this is Scouts. An organisation where participants could earn badges and ranks for completing tasks.
When video games became popular in the 70s and 80s, gamification inserted itself into the education system. Games like Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego – taught children about geography, culture, and critical thinking. They were encouraged to solve puzzles and clues that sent them around the world.
Digital gamification has come a long way since the days of Carmen Sandiego and Pong, not to mention the devices games are played on. No longer do you need a TV to play, because games are now designed for smart devices like phones and tablets.
So, what are the benefits that can stem from gamification in marketing?
The Benefits of Gamification in Business
There are many benefits to gamification in business, no matter the environment, industry, or its intended audience.
Like the example of Carmen Sandiego, gamification is a great way to educate your clients and staff. You can tailor this for a product, service, or your brand. Through gameplay the audience can understand the process your business goes through in making a product, or drawing awareness to a project that matters, such as sustainability or humanitarian causes.
For some businesses and organisations, engaging their audience is the primary goal. Through in-game play and messaging, a brand can communicate directly to their audience, either through gameplay or through messaging channels and advertisements within the realms of the game.
Branding has been something we have seen throughout entertainment for decades. You know what we’re talking about, the obligatory “product placement” within TV shows and movies (See Wayne’s World for one of the best skits of product placement). Well, games are no different. Some of the most popular online games are known to display upcoming movie posters, or enable you to test drive the latest vehicle in-game.
One of the best examples of this is found right here in Australia with the Macdonald’s Monopoly Game. It combines the best of the digital and physical environments. Customers have to visit in-store in order to collect the game pieces, which they can then scan into an app to keep a digital record of what they already have. Also, there are plenty of brands involved aside from the two main parties of Macdonald’s and Monopoly.
Gamification in Marketing and Brand Engagement
So, why consider gamification in your marketing and branding strategy?
As marketers, our mission objectives are simple – to engage and encourage action from our intended target audience. How we do that may be a little more difficult.
Gamification targets the audience’s need for fun, entertainment, competition, and reward, whether it be in the format of a prize-based competition, or an online game.
It incentivises your audience to take action and engage with your brand in an interesting format. Encourages them to learn about your organisation, product, or service. Helps create an engaged and loyalty community who share their experiences with others, exposing your brand to a new and wider audience.
Interested to see how gamification marketing can transform your business? Get in touch with us at Pounce — where it’s ‘game on!’ all the time.