November 26, 2013

How Gamification Helps Build Audiences

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Tags: Gamification

Gamification is the process of applying game dynamics to non-game situations. The concept is often leveraged as a tool to motivate people to perform repetitive or typically unexciting tasks. For office workers, this could be something like properly filing records. For a customer, it might be checking into a location on their phone, or inviting their friends to one of their favorite websites. While this wouldn’t normally be considered fun, the prospect of a reward (say, a free latte) provides incentive. Big name brands like Starbucks have used such tactics to develop dedicated customers who are passionate about their brand and culture. Below, we look at the ways in which gamification can help your company promote its brand, and build an audience.

Motivation

Most customers won’t become brand advocates or loyal users without some type of external motivation. They may like your product, but if you want them to post about their experience on social media, or regularly return to your company, you need to give them incentive. This is where gamification can make a huge impact. As Dwight Eisenhower reasoned, “motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” He wasn’t talking about gamification, but that’s only because it wasn’t yet a word. You see, instead of just getting people to make one purchase or perform one action, gamification can help create habits that lead to repeated interaction. Successful gamification can bring in first time customers and turn them into long-term advocates. For instance, you can award points to users who tweet about your company, or check into a location. Later, those points can be redeemed for discounts or free products. This creates a cycle of interaction between your brand and the customer, while reinforcing loyal behavior. Building this type of loyalty program in-house may seem like too daunting of a task, that’s why there are 3rd party gamification vendors that specialize in enhancing customer motivation. Bunchball Nitro, for instance, creates an ecosystem of targeted games and challenges that can bring in customers and keep them active.

Recognition

From a sports team working hard to a win a championship, to a Boy Scout attempting to fill his uniform with merit badges, recognition propels interest, participation, and engagement. Gamification taps directly in to human’s intrinsic desire for recognition, using it to drive loyalty and brand interaction. Vendors like Qmerce and Punchtab are a couple examples of services that specialize in rewarding customers for spreading brand messages or performing specific actions. For example, PunchTab allows companies to stage contests, wherein users are given additional entrees for promoting the brand on multiple social media channels, or watching specific ads. While the customer is initially lured in by the promise of recognition or reward, it gives companies a chance to show off their content and establish a relationship with more people in their target market. BigDoor Media is another company specializing in loyalty. Instead of contests, they rely primarily on public leaderboards and visible markers (such as badges) that allow loyal customers to show off their brand dedication (which in turn motivates others).

Feedback

In addition to public recognition through badges and leaderboards, personal feedback is a useful tool for fostering engagement. Gamification can provide incentive for customers to share their brand experiences, and give you usable data for improving your services. When you provide an incentive for honest feedback, it shows your audience that you care about their input, and are serious about improving your offerings. This in turn creates trust, which translates into increased brand loyalty. Even better, feedback will help you gain insight on the success of your products and services. Reactions and data garnered through gamification platforms will let you know how your customers are using your products, and interacting with your brand.

Building an audience takes patience and hard work. While implementing gamification won’t change that, it can help you capture an audience and turn them into loyal customers at a much higher rate than traditional tactics. By motivating and recognizing your audience – while collecting invaluable feedback – you can foster an interactive environment where customers are personally driven to support your brand.

If you’re interested in building an audience with gamification, try our free product selection tool to quickly find a gamification provider that matches your specific goals, needs, and budget. You can also call one of our gamification product specialists at any time to pick their brain on a solution that’s right for you – 1-877-917-7644.