Candy Crush and Your Digital Business — No Really, It’s a Thing!
by Gina Casagrande
posted on 07-14-2016
Candy Crush tends to be what most people think of when they think of gamification. It’s a fun, brightly colored, somewhat addicting game. Yes, I too am addicted to it. While deep in thought, waiting for the countdown to gain another life, I reflected on the game and how brands could use some of its tactics to keep users engaged and loyal. What Candy Crush does incredibly well is harder to replicate in the digital-marketing world. Candy Crush provides not only a reason for people to return every day, but also options for users to interact with the application in whatever way works best for them — they can choose to monetize, recruit friends, share updates on social — or not.
Ultimately, gamification should help customers move through a natural progression with your brand. Whether it’s prompting them to use your mobile app every day or finding ways to move customers through your sales funnel, gamification doesn’t work if it doesn’t provide tangible benefits for customers.
Additionally, gamification can be extremely helpful with optimizing your internal organizational structure. Much like your customers naturally progress with your brand, internally, there is a natural evolution you’d like your brand to undertake. An example that came to mind instantly was in building and socializing an optimization program. Whether it’s keeping up with technological changes or enabling an expanding workforce, gamification techniques can help you manage and scale your organization, serving any number of applications both inside your organization and out.
Business to Consumer Applications
Let’s say, you want to encourage customers to write reviews or take surveys, gamification can help. It’s easy to incentivize these types of actions by providing a benefit — a badge, a special offer, increased loyalty status, or something else — to those who complete the action. Rewarding customers who take a specified action with your brand is an easy way to increase engagement and generally tends to be a win-win situation for both the brand and consumer.
Building Customer Loyalty
Now that users are engaged, how do you ensure they stay engaged — and ultimately, remain loyal to your brand? This is tough. In today’s world, loyalty is a commodity. Consumers are more connected than ever before and have high expectations — if they don’t receive relevant, personalized experiences in real time, they’ll move on to your competitor. Seventy-eight percent of millennials say they’d rather spend money on desirable experiences that coveted goods.
Starbucks does an amazing job of encouraging customer loyalty. Their mobile app builds brand loyalty by awarding badges, offering targeted offers, and providing any number of reasons for customers to check in with their app. Plus, it provides value — I can order coffee through the app, and it will be ready as I arrive. The wealth of benefits provided through Starbucks’ app motivates people to choose their brand over others when making their morning coffee runs. The key to building loyalty is to provide a benefit/value in exchange for that loyalty — and most importantly, ensure it’s a good experience!
Promoting Social Shares
When encouraging users to share on social media, you must consider your goals as an organization. But, more importantly, you must also prioritize and focus on the benefits to the customers. People don’t post to social just because you want them to. Make sure that you thoroughly consider why someone would want to post to social — does doing so earn them new status with your digital business? Is what they’re sharing innovative and exciting? Can they show off the product? Does it allow them to share a positive benefit with friends? Gamification can definitely drive the number of social shares your brand receives, but it is incredibly important to make sure that you also provide customers with a reason to share rather than just willing it to happen.
Internal Process Optimization
It’s no surprise that gamification techniques work well for internal enablement. A team I work closely with at Adobe recently created a 21-day challenge to help train people on a new technology. Every day, users were given a task or challenge, and each day built upon the previous day. Making this part of their daily routines for three weeks not only helped to form good habits and obtain needed info, but also was fun and competitive, which made them want to participate each day. Ultimately, the participants were awarded with knowledge — and a surprise perk.
Breaking Down Silos
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) went through a digital transformation and implemented a unique gamification strategy to help break down silos and foster teamwork within their organization. RBS created new identities for their digital marketers — “Superstar DJs” (short for digital journey). These journey managers use data-driven marketing to put the customer experience first. Each week, they create a “set list” — comprised of optimization activities and targeted journeys, for example — and compete for the top billboard spot. To create their playlist, they work with guest DJs from other departments throughout the organization. Their organization now works more closely and efficiently — while having fun — proving gamification can help you unify your organization from within.
Similarly, brands can encourage innovation in problem solving and process improvements using these techniques. Gamification levels the playing field, giving all employees within the organization equal opportunities to present solutions and ideas to the organization. A newly hired intern has just as much chance to come up with the best idea for improving a particular process as the CEO does. Your workforce is the most important resource you have, and creating a fun environment that fosters innovation through gamification allows you to make the best use of it.
Whether inside your organization or through increased interactions with customers, gamification is a powerful tool for improving how your brand operates and has any number of applications for your organization. It’s so much more than just Candy Crush!