Sports betting globally is valued at a trillion U.S. dollars a year according to Statista. Industry insights also indicate that low income earners form the majority of the gambling public because they are looking for ways out of their struggle and hope to find their fortune through lotteries and games of chance. Money may be the main motive but these pastime activities link into human psyche and motivations around competition and achievement.
The same emotional drivers are at play when we consider that the highest TV ratings go to world championships including the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup with a mind blowing 70% of the globe tuning in at one point or another to watch the Rio Olympics. Other highly rated shows, such as Idol’s and America’s Got Talent in the Reality TV genre, prove that we want to interact with content and participate in the outcome.
Gamification, derived from our love of the game, is the hottest trend in marketing today and it has risen from the spread of the web and increasing interconnectedness of people and things. The concept provides brands with excellent opportunities to create unique and differentiated experiences for their customers and develop a deep rooted emotional connection with them. Gamification can simply be described as the use of game design into non-gaming environments in order to capture the imagination, drive participation and eventually change behaviour. By incorporating activities in business processes that provide challenge, competition, reward and positive reinforcement you get colleagues & customers to enthusiastically complete important tasks time and again driven by an inherent enjoyment of gameplay.
In its simpler form, gamification is embodied in consumer prize promotions that are common among packaged goods companies. They use these promotions to boost sales and drive brand preference over a specified duration and there are several examples of these such as Jaza Ushinde with Visa and Total, Safaricom’s Bonyeza Ushinde and Coca-Cola’s Chota Chapaa activations. Apart from coining cool phrases that define street credibility by using a mixture of sheng and slang, these promotions apply promise of reward, usually millions of shillings, to induce purchase and spike revenues.
Gamification is taking off in this market and high levels of participation have been recorded in the various consumer promotions run since the petrol stations started giving us decorated drinking glasses and bars of bathing soap as incentives to fill our tanks. Kenya Breweries has had its fair share of trouble around prize promotions and there was a time when it was commonly known that the winners of beer promotions were mostly bartenders and waitresses because they would collect thousands of bottle-tops, which were the means of participation. Their customers were usually keen to retain their bottle-tops as they sat for drinks, but as the night went on they would literally lose focus and abandon their quest.
The marketing sector is facing a paradigm shift as brands aggressively move towards content marketing and the successful initiatives have incorporated gamification into the script. Shows like Tusker Project Fame and more recently Coke Studio take gameplay to a higher level where talented performers win cash and recording contracts, and fans get the satisfaction that they chose the winners and got entertained in the process. The beauty of this is that the involvement of the audience develops a memorable and deeply emotional experience with the brand. The strongest consumer relationships are built by moments spread over time.
On a more advanced level, when the new Mini Cooper launched in Sweden they developed a game centred around an iPhone app that got masses of people running around Stockholm looking for the ‘virtual Mini’; the kind of the activity that is better suited for the young and energetic. Eventually a 22 year old won the brand new Mini Cooper that was up for grabs. A more inclusive initiative, Volvo Interception Super Bowl promotion, allowed people of all ages to participate by simply tweeting with the hashtag #VolvoContest when they saw any car commercial during the game, for a chance to win a Volvo for someone they love. It transformed the millions of dollars that other car companies paid for the overpriced ad spots into an ongoing social conversation about Volvo. The Financial Times called it ‘the greatest interception ever’.
Gamification develops unique, relevant and differentiated user experiences which are critical for sustainable commercial success. With the passion behind gaming, sports and game shows its a smart move to tap into the stream of energy and let consumers participate and own their interaction with your brand.