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Ep. 16 – Gamification: How Brands are Marketing With Fun

What the Fox…

To put it simply, gamification is the phenomenon of intertwining fun and an element of competition to engage an audience, what more could you want? We’re here with another episode of What the Fox giving you the fundamentals of gamification, and how you can effectively implement this into your marketing strategy!

We also recommend you read our blog post on Gamification, where we break down all the benefits of the technique…simply click here.





Want to find out more? Get in touch!


Read the full transcript here – Please note that this is a rough transcript!

Host: Welcome to the Cunning Plan Podcast and this is going to be a little small ….. type episode. We’re going to talk a little bit about gamification. Some of it and Lizzie’s been doing some work on it.

Lizzie: Yes indeed.

Host: Some recent trends, so that’ll be a bit of fun. We were just doing a conversation before about Father Christmas and now I can’t remember how we got on to that.

Lizzie: Yes a nice festive conversation. It sounds crazy.

Host: It is because I saw Father Christmas on my holiday whilst I was away. The real life Father Christmas. He has to stay ….. for all year round. In the summer he goes-

Lizzie: To Spain, of course.

Host: -on holidays to Spain and I saw him.

Lizzie: Did he have a tan?

Host: Big bushy beard, bald head. He had a little bit of a tan, yes, he’s been away, isn’t he. He has got most of his year is holidays, if you think about it. He’s got like a days work. He’s a bit of build up to that I presume and after that he is chilling. He is going to Spain. I mean who knows ….. You be the judge. I can’t put the picture of that one.

Lizzie: Comment below if you’ve ever seen Santa Claus in Spain.

Host: …..I’ve got a photo. I took a photo of him.

Lizzie: Okay evidence and all.

….. we don’t want to get into trouble, any trouble. You don’t want to out Santa Claus, then we would be in trouble. Anyway, this is nonsense but what we’re going to talk about isn’t nonsense. That’s a segue, it’s gamification.

Lizzie: Yes, gamification.

Host: I love gamification because I love trying to make less interesting things a bit more fun and a bit more engaging. Just tell us a bit about what gamification is.

Lizzie: Gamification is to transform and strategy and just makes any mundane tasks a little bit more interesting and then implementing that into a marketing strategy.

Host: How long has this been going on for? Are we talking about just that the kind of quizzes we’ve been seeing a lot of recently or has this being going on for a while?

Lizzie: I think it’s been going for years, to be honest. I think right now it’s really kicked off and obviously, on social media, you’ve got the personality quizzes and the celebrity quizzes, what celebrity are you and all that. You see it everywhere even if it’s subtle or if it’s obvious but you’ve got certain aspects of gamification like the McDonalds Monopoly game that’s been going since the ’80s.

Host: I didn’t realize it was that old. That’s crazy.

Lizzie: It’s been around for years I think but recently with social media, people’s attention spans are getting shorter so brands and companies need something that is going to grab people’s attention and in a fun way that can get you to engage and interact, like and share and all that good stuff.

Host: It’s not just always the people have been using in the past for things like promotions or on packs or like Mcdonalds that kind of thing but we are already talking about using it as part of a digital strategy really, just trying to get things off people, get information out of people in return.

Lizzie: It’s great for that. If you want some more insights on your consumer, you can create an online game or a quiz, something that’s connected to your brand and you can get them to sign up to a newsletter or something so that instantly gives you their email address and get them to answer whatever other details that you want. Then it’s really beneficial because you can see who is interacting with your brand and who you need to be targeting, who you don’t need to be targeting, you can cancel out and it can help you develop your products through servicing as well because you know more about the consumer.

Host: I guess you can use it. That’s the things you use to get a lot of nice intel about people and things like that and what they’re doing and how long they’re spending doing stuff and all these kind of things.

Lizzie: Yes, we were analyzing a game. Was it a game or was it a quiz?

Host: Yes it was a quiz before we were looking at.

Lizzie: We were able to look at how many people clicked on it. How many people completed the quiz. What percent of people answered for each question and that was really great because the client that we did it for, is very location based so it shows a lot about our audience.

Host: Yes, because we were like– We set that up really as an engagement strategy. It was designed to give people something fun to do. Some fun copy and funny quiz and that was kind of the whole idea behind it but we did but necessarily, I ….. it would take off as much as it did and then suddenly you just find you’ve got a huge amount of really valuable intel into your audience and you can take that intel and you can do something else with that and that can be immensely valuable.

Lizzie: Yes, definitely.

Host: Give us some examples of some of the things that you’ve been doing. As you mentioned McDonald’s, anybody else you got?

Lizzie: Obviously, like we’ve mentioned, you’ve got the smaller social media versions of it but it still worked really well. Few years ago, Nike launched something called Nike Fuel and it’s basically like a wristband that monitors your progress in any sort of athletics, especially running. They focused on a lot.

Host: This is like a sort of precursor to the Fitbit kind of …..

Lizzie: I think probably the Fitbit was– I’ve never heard of this until recently but the Fitbit’s obviously a lot more advanced than that but it was just like a simple wristband but you connected to an app and it monitors your progress and your activity and then you can also challenge your friends and things like that. You do pay for the band but it sort of connects your community of consumers and it gives them a bit of incentive because you get rewards like invitations to events, you get discounts, you get free shipping as well with that thing.

I think it just really gave people that motive and it wasn’t just a simple game. It kind of made people intertwine the brand with their lifestyle almost because they’re constantly using it and they are constantly wearing it and they’re always reminded of the brand.

Host: That’s certainly ….. now with things like the Fitbit and the people they have. Within their company, they have leagues on how many steps people have done and they made that keeping fit into a game and into a bit of a competition. There’s an app I saw just last week that was, it was fit to be monetizing fitness. It was a free app and you could use to track your steps and you earn coins and eventually, you earn discounts off things. The more you walked around and obviously they’re gathering a huge amount of data on people and where they go and what they do and what they buy and everything which they can then use to market as well but from a consumer’s point of view, you’re making that process of just walking around. They just put that into a game which I think is good.

Lizzie: Even in simple things I guess like in the workplace, you could sort of set tasks and things like that, that would be seen as mundane and then if you get rewards for it, bucks, that’s what causes gamification I guess it’s not digital but it can apply to anything really.

Host: It’s more of a piece of rubbish and chucking it into a bin. That is in essence gamification, isn’t it. You’re making the process of putting some rubbish in the bin into a game, we’re throwing it and trying to get it in one shot and that’s kind of– That’s what it’s all about, it’s trying to take those things, those boring things and make them more exciting.

Lizzie: It’s also great for if you’re launching a new product or just anything new that your brand’s bringing out. Instead of just saying, “Hey, we are here.” or creating a billboard or creating a social media account. If you create a game or something or make it a bit more fun for consumers who otherwise would just ignore it, it can educate them about it and it can introduce them to it before it’s even launched which is great. I think it generates a lot of awareness but also makes the consumers mobile because that keeping their interest.

Host: If we’re thinking about gamification with regards to social media and just focusing on how you can use this to help your social platforms and things like that. Actually, it sounds expensive. It sounds difficult to do. What are the barriers? How easy is it to get involved in doing something like this?

Lizzie: It depends what sort of level you want to ….. like the quizzes that you can create. I think Facebook has a feature where you can create a quiz for free which is great and you can just start off with that and see how that goes. Once you progress with that and then if you want to carry on, if you’re doing well then you move up a step. Even simple things like competitions that can be classed as gamification. Voting graphics really simple things like that. Using emojis to choose this or this or this or that, whatever. I think it can be really simple if you want it to be. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this elaborate game that you are creating.

Host: Then you just kind of limited by your own imagination and creativity. You can write some nice copy and come up with a nice idea for what that quiz is going to be and you can build that sort of thing for free.

Lizzie: Yes, definitely.

Host: That’s pretty cool. We talked about quizzes, we talked about kind of just engaging with people. What can you try to take up a level or if you really want to either convert or gather more data or look into that, what else could people be doing?

Lizzie: There are other platforms that you can use to create games and you can put competitions behind them so you can do sort of like Candy Crush type games where you’re matching things up and then the way you can get data off people for that is, you get them to sign up with the email address and then they play the game. Then there can be like a winner chosen at random or anything so there’s a motive behind it and there’s an incentive rather than just, “Do this game and perform basically.” There is a motive and incentive behind it.

Host: Yes, it is quite alarming, there’s a huge number of different platforms and they vary in price but there was a time when the idea of creating a game was a huge– That that would be a big investment, integrate a digital social game that you could use but now you can take out some of these platforms and you can get matching pairs, or spin the wheel kind of situations, and all these kind of different things you can do. Yes, you just put your email at the end and you could win a prize but for the for the company.

You’re gathering a lot of data, and people are ultimately a bit more likely to do something. The other good thing about stuff like that is that you often get a repeat or you’re more likely to get a share because you can do– If you have a thing, where you have lives, for example, you can share it to get more lives, you can do those kinds of things so you can get a second entry and all that kind of stuff. There’s a good way of going squeezing a bit more, I think that’s what a lot of people are doing. If the audience isn’t necessarily growing, they’re trying to squeeze as much out of that ….. have as you possibly can. Trying to get those people to share and it would just– It’s really important.

Lizzie: Yes, definitely.

Host: Do you have any examples of times where gamification’s been used and perhaps not necessarily digital and not necessarily to sell something.

Lizzie: Yes. Well, this is quite funny. I found this the other day, that China, a few years ago, they actually gamified the obedience of the nation pretty much. They create this app which monitored people’s social media activity and also their purchases. They got a score of how much of a good citizen they are which was nice. It was a bit creepy, really but it’s clever in a way, I think.

Host: Yes, it sounds like a good idea. I want to gamify something.

Lizzie: Yes. It’s a bit Black Mirror-ish, I think. Yes, I think at the time it was voluntary but I read something that it was going to be a necessary requirement but 2020.

Host: How does that work? What you–

Lizzie: They have a little monitor and it just gives you a score out of 100 about how much of a good citizen you are. I don’t know if it breaks it down but yes. People were sharing online saying that like, “Look, look at this. I got 95%.”

Host: 95% good citizen.

Lizzie: It shows that it’s sort of being implemented in different ways, not just for brands and things like that. It gets in the way, it manipulates the way you think about things and makes you engage more which is good, it’s great but they’re like- [crosstalk]

Lizzie: -it’s a bit creepy.

Host: Yes, that is in essence what it’s for. It’s to get you to do something that you otherwise probably wouldn’t bother doing. You might ….. position but because it’s a little game behind it, you probably will or you might not throw your rubbish in a bin but if you play a little basketball above, or little basketball net above the …..

Lizzie: We’re going back to our childhood. The airplane and it’s to get you to eat your breakfast.

Host: That’s gamifying-

Host: –the original gamification. [imitating airplane sound] That doesn’t work …..

Lizzie: [laughs]

Host: That’s the thing about only people with no kids do. No one who’s got kids has ever done that.

Lizzie: [laughs]

Host: It doesn’t work because you know ….. [imitating airplane sound] out goes the food, it’s going somewhere else, so it’s funny, watch it. People who haven’t got kids, always they say, …..

Lizzie: See, I didn’t know that. [crosstalk]

Host: [imitating airplane sound] and that doesn’t work. Anyway, thanks for that Lizzie.

Lizzie: It’s all right.

Host: Covered a lot there. We covered Father Christmas, gamification-

Lizzie: China.

Host: –China, feeding children.

Lizzie: Yes.

Host: That’s pretty good for what was I think only a few minutes. Excellent. Thank you very much. Thank you for coming.

Lizzie: [laughs] Thank you very much.

Host: Thank you for watching …..you’re here but thank you for watching, and we’ll see you-

Lizzie: See you next week.

Host: -next time.

Lizzie: Bye.

Host: Bye.