The Spirit of Gaming: How Brands Can Be Rewarded for Gamification
The IAB Games Committee recently hosted a panel of gaming experts to discuss Gamification and how brands can utilize this approach to connect and engage their consumers. The panel included:
- Bill Young: Managing Director, EA Ready at Electronic Arts
- Peer Schneider: SVP & Publisher / Co-Founder at IGN Entertainment
- Geoff Greenblatt: North American Gaming Director at Mindshare
The main takeaway? Make the task fun. Some of the best ways to do this is to leverage digital platforms such as social, mobile and video to reward consumers for their actions and behaviors. While this seems very basic, it is easy for Gamification to quickly turn into “Chorification” if brands aren’t careful. Asking consumers to complete too many things or jump through too many hoops can make the game more of a chore ultimately having an adverse effect on your brand.
Peer Schneider talked about how traditional promotions such as a sweepstakes can often be mistaken for Gamification. Simply entering a sweepstakes isn’t fun. In the end, it’s only fun for the winner. Gamification is only effective when users receive an immediate benefit or reward for their participation.
According to Geoff Greenblatt, one of the key things is to use Gamification for the right purpose. Gamification is best used to retain consumers, not obtain them. This isn’t a strategy for reaching new consumers but rather one to keep your consumer base loyal and engaged with your brand. Gamification isn’t a replacement for high reach ad campaigns, it should be used to compliment your overarching media strategy allowing you to tap into your brand advocates and evangelists in a powerful way.
Bill Young explained that picking the right reward for the environment is just as important to a successful Gamification campaign. He used a recent Progressive campaign in The Sims Social on Facebook as an example. Progressive has their superstore character “Flo” take The Sims Social users through a series of actions within the game that exemplified their brand but still maintained the integrity of the user experience. Players could complete tasks like “getting an insurance quote” on the computer in the virtual world and were rewarded with a Progressive themed Unicorn. While a unicorn doesn’t have a direct correlation to Progressive, it was something that was highly coveted to the players therefore a valuable and effective reward provided by Progressive.
While rewards often come in the form of currency or items, in many cases it can be better to reward consumers with things that can enhance their life experience. Enriching content or ranks and leaderboards can provide just as much reward as a tangible object. Nike+ has done a great job of this by allowing users to compete against themselves and others offering self-improvement as the reward.
The best approach is to gamify existing human behaviors in order to keep your consumer engaged. In the end, Gamification follows the same rules as any other campaign—it’s important to be educated in your strategy, align it with your objectives and identify how you intend to measure the success. Beyond that—just make it fun!
About the Author
Joy Taylor is Co-Chair of the IAB Games Committee and Global Marketing Director for Media Solutions at Electronic Arts (EA), where she manages the teams responsible for ad product, sales development, insights, and trade marketing. She works closely with all of the company’s game studios to develop the right solutions for all of their external brand partners. She is responsible for all platforms, including mobile, social, Web and console offerings on content, ranging from Need For Speed to Pogo to The Sims and Madden NFL.
Prior to EA, Ms. Taylor was responsible for marketing in the media division of Six Apart, a social software and services company. Prior to that, she spent several years in sales and marketing at Knight Ridder and also managed marketing efforts for key accounts like Radisson Hotels at Carlson Companies. Ms. Taylor began her career in digital media at Interactive Corporation, where she conducted consumer and customer marketing for Citysearch and Ticketmaster.