Gamification, or using game mechanics in non-game contexts, has gone mainstream. With the popularity of digital gaming, especially with millennials [see charts below], top brands like Nissan and SAPP are gamifying campaigns, hoping to achieve business goals by raising the fun factor. Brands also are using gamification for internal communication. “Gamification is an easy way to make a campaign more current and boost your earned media numbers,” Albe Zakes, global VP, communications at TerraCycle, told PR News’ Digital PR conference in Miami this month. “This is especially true when pitching for coverage in blogs and other online media.”
As with any endeavor, set goals before embarking on creating a gamification program. “It’s important to make sure the program is accomplishing your business goals,” Zakes added. “Is it driving traffic to the right place? Gaining awareness in the right way?” In addition, PR pros need to determine the type of gamers in their target audience. For example, the “Networker” is someone who needs contacts and communication assistance; game mechanics catering to the Networker include chats, mentoring and meeting new communities.
Other types of gamification users include the “Enjoyer,” who is attracted to surprise, inspiration and fun and likes to play quick games; the “Farmer,” who is engaged by achievements and likes to get badges and recognition; and the “Self-Seeker,” who looks to gain status and loves to engage in online duels.
How you design gamification programs is crucial: Nearly 80 percent of current gamified enterprise applications will fail to meet their objectives, due largely to poor design, per Gartner.
This article originally appeared in the June 15, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.