The game, set, match! The gaming industry in India has had a sudden and rejuvenating shot of adrenaline injected into itself as the COVID-19 pandemic has enforced a prolonged period of self-isolation and social distancing. Staying at home for months on end meant that people needed a means of escape and recreation to cope with the stress caused by the pandemic, and what better way to do that than by playing games. But wait, we are not talking about the outdoor, social games. They are out of the equation, remember, with all the social distancing and self-isolation? We are referring to console-based, digital games. And while the recreation and escape are all good, have you considered how gaming can also be a game-changing solution for brands across the world to advertise by integrating their product/service into a game? Got you thinking now, haven’t we?!
Before we talk about gamification and its massive potential, just sift through these statistics- According to the mobile marketing platform provider InMobi, usage of gaming apps rose by 110% between 1 January and 11 March this year. A quarter of the gamers on gaming apps play to socialize with other gamers. And according to Paavan Nanda, co-founder of WinZo Games, a popular vernacular gaming platform offering monetary benefits, they experienced a tripling of games plays and 30% higher traffic very soon after the lockdown was announced in mid-March. With such overwhelming figures, it is obvious that gaming and gamification is indeed a gold mine for brands to tap into their customer base, which has been bound indoors and advertises and generate awareness for their products/services.
So, how can be gamification be useful for brands in reaching out to their customers, and what are the benefits of it? Let’s talk about it in a little detail in the points below.
Innovation is a word that is getting increasingly difficult to justify. With so much technology and so many devices at our disposal, is there any more scope left for innovation? Well, as far as advertising goes, we say yes. Gamifying your product/service and/or inculcating your brand in a game is a super innovative and engaging way to advertise it. Take the case of GSK Consumer Healthcare India, makers of the Horlicks and Boost food drinks. They devised an Augmented Reality based virtual game called The Chhote Sultan Hunt in 2014 to create more brand recall. And the results showed a noticeable spike in Click Through Rates, as the figures increased to 2.5% CTR instead of the then industry standard of 0.5%.
With plenty of scope for creativity as per the game’s format, brands can inculcate their brand message and link it inseparably to the experience of the game. This creates a unique Consumer Experience. To have ads that can respond to touch, sounds, tilting your mobile device or even the current weather conditions creates a personalized experience that is unrivalled even by more expensive media. It also creates great brand recall value every time a person plays the game. Plus, with smartphones gaining an increasing foothold in our lives, accessibility and use of such games will only increase in the future.
While a brand might complain that gamification also entails an increased investment in creating a game, as compared to a static ad, the results well justify the expenditure, as can be evidenced in the case of the Chhote Sultan Hunt game. It must also be noted that several gaming companies have said that customer engagement from gamified ads is up to 80% higher than that for static ads.
If you are a brick & mortar brand, you might be feeling the pinch of a substantial lack of walk-ins at your store due to the COVID pandemic. If you have started Social Media Marketing to counter this, it will still take some time to reap results. How then could you reach out to your consumers and create an instant impression? Voila, enter gamification! Unlike social media, which takes time to grow on your consumers, gaming creates an instant impression and engagement. A brand can encourage its customers to earn points by playing their customized games and then ask them to utilize those points while making purchases through its website or social media channels. It’s a smartly altered loyalty program, but it can be equally, if not more, effective.
This concept of setting goals in a game, incentivizing customers by offering points when they achieve those goals, and enabling them to utilize the points for purchases can help brands stay afloat amid the pandemic.
IT’S A STRESSBUSTER TOO
Before a brand sells any of its product/service to its consumers, it is important that it considers their current frame of mind as well. The pandemic has increased stress and made people more worried. The necessity of staying at home and abandoning almost all routine activities has added to the tension. In such a scenario, gamification gives a brand a creative way of pitching their product/service to their consumer. Games helps relieve stress by aiding the release of Dopamine. A healthy sense of competition, generated by the game, improves the morale of the players. Consequently, such games improve the players’ mood and make them feel happier and more relaxed. And it is more likely that a happy and relaxed person would buy a product/service rather than a stressed one, right?
In this way, gaming can also be a value addition tool for a brand to make its customers feel good, interact with them, and convince them to make a purchase as well.
IT CATERS TO THE Z GENERATION
Sure, they might be young, but Generation Z (Children currently aged 16-24) is the only generation that can truly claim to have grown up with smartphones, gadgets and AI around them. And while it is their parents who have the financial power to make decisions, it is they who have the influential power to convince their parents to use certain products/services for added convenience. Hence, gamification can be a great tool to target these youngsters specifically and market content to them. Gamified content is, in fact, tailor made for these youngsters, with their shorter attention spans. They also like bite-sized and simple games with an easy and highly addictive concept. So, if your brand is all about the youth and connecting with them, gamifying your brand can be a ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’ way to get their attention and market your product/service to them.
IT ADDS TO YOUR CUSTOMER DATABASE SMARTLY
Customer data is an important thing for brands. Having vital contact details and information about its customers is what empowers them to provide more customer value and efficient service. It also helps them execute more informed and targeted campaigns. However, with the setting up of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, people have become very selective and careful about how they share their data and with whom. Hence, gathering data becomes more of a task if not done smartly.
With games, there is a smart and consensual sharing of customer data that is GDPR compliant as well. The key factor that facilitates this is the strong incentive given to the customers via the game. With the motivation to win a reward, points or anything that adds value to their lives, customers are more compliant to share their details and hence, they deem it as a fair value exchange. The customers get incentivized while the brand obtains valuable information about their target audience.
Have these factors made you consider taking the plunge into gamification as a potent marketing tool? Then get in touch with us at email@example.com and learn more about how it can work specifically for your brand. We can also create a customized game for your brand that helps you generate more brand awareness and engagement, creates curiosity about your product/service, and establishes stronger relationships with your customers. So,let’s get gaming!