Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brands and the Gamification thing...


Gamification is the new black!


Gamification is about challenge, achievement, success, pleasure, but most importantly it’s about engagement. it is about connecting a brand with people through the thing moves the world; competition!


According to the ’2011 Gartner Research Report’, it is estimated that by 2015 more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. Wanda Meloni at M2 Research, calculates that gamification industry revenue amounted to about $100 million in 2011, but she expects it to balloon to $1.6 billion in 2015.  


At the most fundamental level, gamification is the use of game mechanics to drive game-like engagement and everyday life, we are often presented with activities we hate, whether it is boring chores or stressful works.

Gamification is the process of introducing game mechanics into these abhorred activities to make them more game-like (i.e. fun, rewarding, desirable, etc.), so that people would want to proactively take part in these tasks."

For the last 40 years, consumer expectations have been fundamentally altered by exposure to games. Specifically, this means that our beliefs are about; meaning and value of fun, frequency and context of rewards, and omnipresence of sociability. The simple shorthand is; feedback, friends and fun.


The consumer has changed, and smart businesses must adapt to survive and thrive. The use of gamification to drive social change is a big movement in culture. It’s worth remembering that in early 2010 there were no hits on the term, gamification, on Google; today there are millions.


Gamification is a new discipline with deep roots and extraordinary potential…

Today’s youth mandates a more engaging experience.

Gamification makes things more engaging so people will pay more attention and stay focused for a longer period of time. Seth Priebatsch agrees. “It feels like the next natural evolution of human-technological interaction… as we complete the social layer; we’ll begin construction, in earnest, on the game layer”. The five most commonly used game-mechanics are;points, badges, levels, leaderboards, challenges.  


According to Zickerman, “It’s easier than you think to bring the power of games to your business by adding game-mechanics to your marketing mix with these steps”:

        Ask: What consumer behavior are you trying to drive?

        Assign points to those behaviors.

        Create a leaderboard to display points.

        Develop challenges and message them.

        Make ‘fun’ your goal!

For anyone unfamiliar with gamification, it’s the application of game-like elements, such as; challenges, points, badges and levels to business and other non-game websites.


An estimated 70% of the top 2,000 public companies in the world will have at least one gamified application by 2014, predicts Gartner.


Patrick Salyer believes there are two keys to success with gamification:

One is making sure that all gamified elements are inherently social.

That is, don’t restrict engagement to the internal site community. 

 Award points for activities that reach users’ social [networks] to bring in referral traffic.

The other is to focus on rewarding activities that create value for your businesses.


Companies should weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to get into the gamification game.  

Dustin DiTommaso, suggests that companies think seriously about why they’re interested in gamification and how it could help them meet their business goals.


Before gamifying, he says, a business should be able to answer these questions:

         What is the reason for gamifying your product or service?

         How does it benefit users? Will they enjoy it?

         What are your business goals?

         How do you get users to fulfill those business goals?

         What actions do you want users to take?

Gamification, it’s really not about gaming; it’s about good old behavioral economics using game-mechanics.


According to John Bell; the world of ‘gamification’ is certainly buzzy if not frothy.

Many marketers are talking about it and startups are employing it, as if it were the magic sauce that could overcome anything even a bad business plan. We can easily identify these techniques throughout the history of business and marketing as tools for getting users engaged.


There is wisdom underneath it all and gamification, as a sometime appropriate feature to stimulate behavior change, is here to stay.  


This surge of game-mechanics is all over the Web and is being applied to many things including; brand advocacy, environmental, health behavior, fundraising…


But, how did you sell the company management on the idea of games in a very non-gaming business?


According to Le-Te;  “This is not about games… it’s about strategy and tools for engaging customers and reaching business goals”.

The benefit to successful gamification is that you see an uptick in:

        Repeat visitors/

        Unique visitors

        membership acquisition

        Page views per visitor

        Time spent on site

        Time spent per user

        Depth of visit (which is different than just page views as this implicates an exploration further into the site’s architecture)

        Social sharing (Likes, +1, etc.)


5 brands using gamification well

In the article below there are 5 amazing gamification projects listed. 

and of course 4 successful facebook gaming contests 

Therefore A brand can increase efficiency in the three areas below.

         Innovation: website modernization can increase brand awareness, loyalty and customer engagement. Much more than your traditional loyalty program Microsoft, Google, Playboy, Ford and others have realized these benefits by adopting game dynamics.
         Monetization: DevHub increased engagement rate of 300% and increased revenue for virtual goods grew to 30% of overall revenue within 3 months.
         Productivity: Microsoft gamified software development testing to drive significant improvements and user participation. Microsoft’s Beta1 Game from the Vista release increased beta testers by 400% and their Language Quality Game for Windows 7 had users provide feedback and commentary on 500,000 screenshots.


The primary goal will be not only to increase customer base but also to interact more with existent email receivers, engage them more with places we share and last but not least to increase the value of each email receiver as participant in something which combines social, mobile and location.


Last but not least it can be the marketing and engagement tool in brands and agencies hands aiming to achieve having more loyal customers and returning audience


Saturday, May 19, 2012

marketing like jazz

mktnglikejazz-111211025811-phpapp01.pdf Download this file

I found this presentation made by Peter Economides. 

Peter might be the number one in the world about branding and 21st marketing. I love this presentation because I love so much jazz music and this presentation gave me to understand and feel things about marketing through music's filter and jazz's lens.

A must have presentation


... audiences who can't or don't want to listen to what you have to say


people around us speak loud, read, share (  since Friday May 17th, a share costs 38 US dollars, if we are talking for Facebook shares...), create and are more or less active on what we call "online world".

Compared to the past couple of decades, people now have so much acess to information, news, data and case studies that if one were to describe back then an ecosystem like what we currently have, it would be treated as pure  science fiction. We are literally ,  holders and creators, listeners and participants, users and opinion makers  all at the same time. 

This drives us to start feeling, or believing that we have an opinion which  might be better than other peoples'. And because human beings love to be with winners, as we observe our opinion become part of something bigger, perhaps a small element of a  trend, we start believing that not only do we have an opinion but that this opinion is of key importance to the ecosystem.

This drives us, to become more and more fanatical regarding products we use (i.e. apple owners believe that they are  of superior callibre ), more dedicated to our habits and of course even more commited to what we can refer to as  "a hard to change habit".


Of course this is not bad!  Brands love people dedicated to them, firms do everything  possible to create or buy audiences who have no ears for anything else except what they address to them, and we love to be recognised as people who belong to a winning group.

Therefore it becomes a major challenge for firms or brands outside  people's comfort zone to penetrate  that field. and the ensuing question is, how can a brand  gain fanatical audiences' attention?

Like all challenging tasks, something like that  requires time, dedication, a good plan, a well executed plan and of course flexibility. An easy to adopt and adjust strategy to what people say about your effort and how they react to your actions to gain their time.

An easy  but  really short term method is to make a blast through an action which works much like  fireworks. The brand gets the attention it asks for, however it must be accompanied either by a ground activity in order to keep people's attention or more and more fireworkswill be required. This is an  acceptable practice but not a safe choice, because either the brand will quickly  fade from  people's attention, as repetition is the mother of boredom ,or the company depletes their  budget. After all, fireworks cost lots of money

So, we note that an  easy way to attract people's attention is like   fireworks!

A firework action which must be followed by an activity.

An activity with a roadmap to go, with a well designed action plan, specific steps to follow and of course really well described KPIs.

Actions and measured results will  on one hand, keep  the brand on a  safe path  and on the other ,the creative team will be able to react to any kind of audience's behaviours. It is really important for the team to understand, to  feel and  to LISTEN to what people have to say, what they share about this attempt , what they retained  and the most importantly how they feel.

People who are really dedicated to a firm, or  who are fanatical  with a brand,  will most of the time feel unsafe, or inconvinient if they try something new, something which they might resist against.  When a consumer tries a product which was not in their experience  map,   once he  dares  to do it, the consumer  expects  the brand to make him feel special, a front line runner, or  at best a member of a distinguished  team outside the mainstream. 

Having well documented KPIs set, works like a compass in muddy, shallow waters. 

KPIs give the brand all the necessary tools to adjust the campaign to what the addressed fanatic needs. The team responsible for the project should be able to hear and feel how audiences reacts to what the brand attempts.

A campaign, a product launch, an icon making process should be something really dynamic having stable and strong reference points and the ability to change on audience requests and needs. And here is where the magic happens. The audience no matter how fanatical, if the brand reacts and meets  their needs and requests it transforms them into a community.

And although it is  really easy to buy an audience  you can't buy a community. You have to build it.  Once the brand succeeds  to have its community built,  then it can start talking about its fanatic audience, an  amazingly responsive and dedicated audience  which can unfortunately be  easily  lost.   In order to retain the fanatical product following  you must  keep providing and feeding the audience's needs for safety, innovation and the most importantly  their need to feel unique and exceptional.


I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, May 4, 2012

customer care or operations?

 brands or firms which specialize in offering services to end users, proudly boast  that they run big "customer care" departments.

Unfortunately what they fail to grasp, is the huge difference that lies between the way  a firm/brand claims to "care" about the client and the way it actually handles  the client when an unfortunate situation arises.

To run customers' logistics, to provide the service and of course to be there when things go wrong,  seems and actually is -most of the time- the easiest thing in the world. But when things fail to  run according to  plan, then the difference between simply managing the situation as opposed to  caring about the customer and accomodating to his  semingly insignificant needs,  is what makes for  excellent customer service.

Customers in our era , want to be made to feel special, particularly since  they have the option to choose among many brands offering  similar service.  To get connected and  stay loyal to a brand becomes the real   issue . The way a brand treats the  people who have chosen to purchase their services when things go wrong is the deciding factor to brand loyalty.

For a brand, things should be centered around  "how can people  be made to feel trust and secure about my service" . To convey through concrete actions to clients that they are important and appreciated by the firm  as opposed to  being treated  as unimportant individuals  who gave  their  money in exchange for a completely unpersonalized service.

The more humanized and personalized the customer support  is, the more it will be   trusted by clients and the more clients  it will attract. 

Nowadays people have less time than before to do things properly.   Therefore what they need to feel is  that even though it is  easy for a company to cheat  them, the brand they trust will always appreciate and go the extra mile for  them.