Why Gamification + Brands are a Match Made in Heaven?
As we enter a new era of extreme digitisation, we start to see the intersection between brands and the digital realm start to blur. More and more luxury brands are focusing their efforts in the Metaverse compared to IRL and we are not at all surprised. With the rise of interactive formats in almost every form of entertainment, from the AR virtual try-on experiences allowing you to digitally try-on your favorite lipstick brands, to virtual retail experiences where you explore a virtual store as an avatar and do your purchases, to VR films that puts you in the perspective of the protagonist, the lines between traditional view-only entertainment and gamified experiences are clearly blurring. This means that brands have to take advantage of this new barren space devoid of branding and advertising. Not just as digital "billboards" but as part of the overall experience, brands are part of the gamification experience. That‘s on top of options within in-game OOH; Xbox video and landing experiences to reach millions of people on the big screen; in-menu ads with mobile gamers; and sponsorship in esports tournaments. The key is to be interactive.
INTERACTIVE, INTERACTIVE, INTERACTIVE: simple interactive mechanics are easy and effective wins to move on or complete an audience’s experience with your brand. Mechanics like branching video can provide an interactive challenge, ie picking the right path in order to complete the experience. If it’s interesting, enticing and has a clear reward then people will want to take part.
While there needs to be a separation of hardcore gaming experiences when it comes to appealing to a mass market, it should be noted that most of the population are already exposed to the gamification experiences that brands can tap into. That being said, there are ways to bring your brand to an even wider audience that are have a desire for interactive, engaging experiences outside of the purist view of "gaming"/gamification. Basically applying game logic to branded experiences, offering participants a more higher level of interaction instead of the normal passive, viewing-only experience. A little competition goes a long way to creating a more engaging experience.
INTRODUCE COMPETITION: it doesn’t take much to make media more fun and engaging using techniques often seen in games; you can reward users for engagement with a prize opportunity or the ability to compete with others. You can integrate leaderboards for a dose of competition which generally increases engagement.
Connectivity and device adoption (especially around VR) has traditionally been seen as a barrier to these kinds of immersive experiences. But as 5G proliferates and we see new AR/VR devices that are smaller and less expensive, appetite for these kinds of interactive, immersive events are only going to snowball. This allows for more complex 3D experiences that can be deployed directly on web with faster loading times.
3D AUGMENTED REALITY: By using web AR, you are able to create 3D augmented reality experiences that can be deployed in the real world instead of relying on apps and QR codes to bring them to life. From simple product placements to interactive characters, this simple upgrade can provide a far more engaging connection to consumers than just asking them to watch your video.
Consumer appetite for digital/immersive experiences like AR/VR and gamification has shown has increased tremendously as shown in various research done. More importantly, there is an increase in expectation for digital interactive experiences to be done by brands. So it’s essential brands think differently about their digital strategies and employ new and interesting ways to engage with their audiences, to keep them entertained and inspired, as well as to educate and inform them about a brand’s products and services.
FOCUS ON BEING IMMERSIVE: Adding a layer of digital experience to your physical event makes the overall experience a lot more immersive. Phygital experiences likes that be it in live events such as concerts, sports games and tournaments, or even retail environments can be a game-changer for a physical-only event that may only be visually stimulating but at the immersion through interactive digital experience usually makes a more lasting impression.
Looking back at what has been achieved by many brands to go way out of their comfort zone in the traditional sense of brand experiences is promising for amore immersive future. With the Metaverse looming, it is no longe something "nice to have" but a need as brand real-estate will matter when most of our population interacts digitally. A comparison with the current need would be when brands pivoted from print & cable media to social media and how that has impacted global marketing budgets. A no-brainer in hindsight which will most likely be the same for the what's to come.