October 27, 2011

Game on

We were somewhat surprised to read in a recent New Media Age report that, in a survey of over 100 marketers in the UK, two-thirds were left ‘stumped’ by the term – let alone concept of – ‘gamification’.

It’s something we’ve been involved with for some time now devising games and gaming techniques. So what is gamification? The official definition is that it’s the use of game-play mechanics for practical applications. People love to play games, something proven by the continually soaring popularity of mobile apps such as ‘Angry Birds’. Gamification takes that concept but applies it to applications outside of games such as ad campaigns, company training or location-based services and promotions.

According to research firm Gartner, 50 percent of companies that manage innovation and research will use gamification by 2015. Celotex, who we’ve been working with as their marketing communication partner for four years, is a classic example of that stat. Highly innovative in its marketing of insulation it is always looking for a way to convey its innovation through its advertising campaigns.

We’ve developed two games with Celotex. One celebrated the launch of the FR5000, a premium performance PIR solution which demonstrated ongoing product innovation, breakthrough design and pioneering progression within the PIR industry. ‘Lucky 21’, a card game, involved a race against time to find an ace and a queen to win an iPad 2, iPod Touch or iPod Nano. The game page had 1,290 unique visits and the game was played 2,500 times, meaning that not only did every visitor play the game, they played it multiple times. Over 1000 went on to register their score to be in with a chance of winning.

Celotex’s ‘Duck Shoot’ was launched to mark the introduction of new Government legislation calling for a 25 percent reduction in CO2 emissions. The long-standing game has achieved stand-out success: visitors are playing the game multiple times, staying on the site for significantly longer than before and bounce rates have dropped. All this is particularly impressive as there is no prize or points scheme attached to the game. The simple creative concept was enough to secure consumer engagement.

According to our managing director Mark Littlewood: “To build successful gamification strategies it is important to first identify what consumer behaviour or action is required. For example, is the aim to increase visits to a webpage, visit a store, leave feedback or make a sale? Once that has been decided, we can then develop the resulting game mechanics to push consumers to that final objective.”

When Bikesure, the specialist bike insurer, sponsored the Isle of Man TT they asked us to create a funny, memorable and on brand campaign to maximise brand awareness and drive people online to their website via 5, 10 and 15 second TV bumpers. The humorous ‘Bikers psychology test’ we developed was also used on web banners on the ITV4 site and a brand mobile site was created to support the campaign. Within a week there was a 61 percent uplift in website visitors with the campaign praised for its impactful and creative design.

Mark continued: “Customers are bombarded with promotional messages from brands on a daily basis, so it is important to stand out with your advertising and marketing efforts. Real-time gamification has value in influencing consumer behaviour, improving relationships with customers and ensuring consumers respond to marketing. We’ve researched and developed our gamification strategy and understand the concepts which are most likely to bring results for our clients. We know that, for example, the offer of free products over cash, points or a single high value prize is more appealing. But we also know that creativity can be enough when coupled with the technological capabilities to back it all up, and that on its own can bring results.”