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Gamification in Business: How Game Dynamics Affect Consumer Behavior

Katherinev123
August 13th, 2012
Game dynamics have become the focus of many marketing activities, as more brands begin to understand the value of using gamification in business. At face value, gamification draws attention and engrosses people, helping brands heighten customer engagement. On a deeper level, gamification affects behavior: through engaging action, it elicits positive response -- especially when rewards and recognition are involved -- and increases an individual's desire to return for more, thereby creating long term interest in a brand, product or service. As the article 'The Principles of Gamification' by PlayGen states, "By attempting to alter and understand consumer reaction and behavior, a product can begin to reap the benefits of long term interest whilst simultaneously reaching a whole new audience."

In terms of behavior, gamification rests on emotion. The positive feelings associated with rewards, entertainment and having fun are what stoke consumers to continue playing, whether or not they realize they are even playing a game at all. At the same time, a gamified marketing strategy allows a brand to create interest in a product or service without having to use direct advertising, which is more likely to turn off today's consumers. However, brands must keep in mind that game dynamics in business means creating gameplay that appeals to audiences who typically do not play games online, via computer or on a gaming console. Therefore, gamification in business must be simple and possess an easy-to-understand reward system, but also provide enough entertainment and engagement value to encourage repeat participation.

What's more, the value of gamification is enhanced when a brand goes further to analyze their customers' gaming behavior, tailoring future promotions and creating more targeted incentives based on user preferences. Kris Duggan, the CEO of the global gamification company Badgeville, stated, “Smart gamification is fundamentally a data challenge, where the more information you are able to track on user behavior, the more powerful your program becomes at moving the behavior needle."

Trend Hunter has featured a vast assortment of examples showcasing gamification in business. These range from social media campaigns, such as Clif Bar's recent MojoGo campaign, which rewarded users for tweeting about their outdoor adventures, to crowdsource feedback platforms such as Krush, which helps brands determine what to produce based on feedback from customers, who are rewarded for their contribution. This latter example, in particular, offers evidence that gamification in business does not always have to be about explicit competition or achievement -- instead, offering an opinion and being given a "voice" may be enough to entice individuals. Other recent examples of game-based marketing strategies include Volkswagen's Street Quest campaign and the Google News badge system.

For more examples of gamification in business and marketing, visit the Trend Hunter PRO database, which includes trends like Manufactured Addiction and Participatory Advertising. More gamification examples and information on how gaming dynamics are changing business today can be found in Trend Hunter's Games Trend Report and Marketing Trend Report.