How Brands Use Gamification to Bond With Customers

Addicted to Gamification

I’m intrigued by the addictiveness of games such as The Sims FreePlay and FarmVille. Have you heard of these mobile games or ever played them? Do you ever wonder why people can’t tear themselves away from these seemingly mindless pastimes?

Many moons ago, Sims was my game of choice. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed purchasing virtual currency called Simoleons, gaining life and social points and building a virtual world.  My world would be filled with beautiful homes and hardworking Sims people who went skiing for holidays and had fishing hobbies. All my gaming efforts were rewarded with being placed top of the Sims leaderboard.

At the top of that leaderboard, my world and I would be the envy of my SIMS neighbours, who incidentally were Facebook friends who also had virtual worlds. I say all of this with an air of self-mockery.

Even while playing, I was fascinated with my full-time commitment to playing Sims. Yes, that’s right, if you want to be Sims FreePlay champion, you need to be at it every waking minute. And millions of us loved playing Sims.  And there are still 200 million Sims FreePlay downloads.

Why oh Why Gamification

On the surface, it made no sense. I would set the phone timer to remind me to stop working to attend to my Sims world. Why oh why?

And what about the money I was spending? I mean, it wasn’t crippling, but it was highly puzzling and fascinating. I was spending money that I had nothing to show for in real life, only in the cloud. I may not have had an actual extravagant Miami-style beach mansion, but I did on Sims, and all my SIMS neighbours could see it. And until common sense kicked in and I stopped playing, that mattered.

Brands Using Gamification

Well, fellows, it’s called gamification, and brands use gamification to get customers to do strange things. Or, as Brian Burke puts it nicely in his book, gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things. You can get the book here

It is common for leading brands to use gamification to encourage consumer engagement—Think McDonald’s and their popular Monopoly promotion. And, if you read yesterday’s article here on the blog, I mentioned Wendys Burgers were distributing JustEat scratch cards with meals.

Even simple Instagram games like ‘This n That’ are stimulating enough to connect consumers with the brand. I particularly enjoy the KFC versions, and I don’t even eat KFC.

I should mention that it’s a pure coincidence that all the brands above happen to be in the fast-food sector. Of course, any brand can gamify its content to encourage group participation and brand discussion. And that’s the point; you want consumers involved with and talking about your brand.

When consumers engage with your brand, they are more likely to talk about you with their friends. “I won a Large Big Mac Meal on McDonald’s Monopoly the other day,”  you will hear a friend share with another because the large Big Mac Meals are tough to win in the game. People want to share their triumphs – both big and small. And while doing so, they could be mentioning your brand.

How Gamification Works

Gamification is potentially a powerful marketing strategy to increase your brand mentions and drive advocacy. Games like challenges and quizzes encourage bonding, community, and camaraderie. They tap into basic human needs. And when your brand is using gamification to facilitate these needs, you remain top of mind.

Social media has given consumers access to a plethora of brands. In research conducted by Mckinsey on the consumer decision journey, the consultancy firm revealed that the consumer’s bond with your brand would significantly influence whether they choose to remember you or not. Significantly the research shows bond as having more impact on purchasing decisions than traditional media such as TV ads or radio ads.

Do you need a way to bond with your audiences? Gamify your content.

And lastly, to all the CEOs, Marketing Professionals, and Founders reading this article, I have a particularly exceptional seminar coming up called How to influence Profitable Action Through Social Media.  Click here to learn more and book your seat today!

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