Gamification: How brands play on our desire for friends and fun

Gamification: the concept of businesses engaging customers by applying competitive game-design thinking to applications not typically associated with games. Adding this sense of “fun” can take many forms, one of the most popular being the model where customers earn points at their local coffee or sandwich shop toward a free drink after so many purchases. Airlines are another example; they have been awarding air miles since the 1980s, creating a huge loyalty for their brands because, according to Wharton professor, Jonah Berger, “this provides social currency [and] people love to talk about it.” The key is that people love to talk about their achievements, and in today’s social media world there are plenty of places where the conversations are taking place.

Feedback, Friends and Fun


By capitalizing on conversion-centric email marketing, social media, online giveaways, and abandoned cart emails, we significantly increased brand loyalty, awareness, and most importantly—eCommerce sales.

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    The notion of “feedback, friends and fun” is at the heart of why gamification is compelling and works so well for engaging consumers. The idea is to change people’s behavior so they engage with your product or service in such a manner that they have fun and talk about it with friends and co-workers, leading to greater satisfaction. Another way to put this is to quote from Gamification Co. Chairman, Gabe Zichermann, who defines it as, “gamification: engaging users, changing behavior with the best ideas from games, loyalty and behavioral economics to engage people in a new way.”  For e-commerce websites the idea of gamification also adds engaging content that give people more reasons for return visits. For inbound marketers, games provide compelling content that people will talk about online.

     Loyalty Programs that Engage

    Examples of loyalty programs where businesses are engaging their customers can be seen on samsung.com where the viewers can “earn badges, move up the ranks and have fun by visiting, reviewing products, watching videos, participating in user-generated Q&As, and much more.”

     Gamification creates metrics for businesses

    For businesses, gamification allows them to create metrics where they can track and measure what their customers are responding to and what initiatives lead to greater sales conversions. Gamification is more than a passing trend. Big and small businesses alike are offering gamified incentives for their customers – and many of these are participating in annual conferences that discuss and showcase the latest offerings and success stories.

     GSummit attracts many e-commerce players

    For instance, the 2013 GSummit  (April 16-18, in San Francisco) covers all kinds of industry segments and draws attendees from around the world. According to Zichermann the GSummit is “bigger and better than ever before, with 80 speakers and dozens of sessions covering key engagement science topics across marketing, loyalty, HR/enterprise, product design, UI/UX, learning/education and health.”