APAC Campaigns Make The Case for Gamification

In the Asia Pacific region, gamification continues to be one of the more creative tools at their disposal for capturing customers’ attention.

APAC Campaigns Make The Case for Gamification

by Alan Hartstein

Posted on 12-18-2019

Marketers are constantly seeking new ways to get their content to rise above the masses. In the Asia Pacific region, gamification continues to be one of the more creative tools at their disposal for capturing customers’ attention.

Gamification is the application of gaming concepts to influence consumer behavior. The term generally applies to video game mechanics such as points, rewards, and badges on non-gaming websites and apps aimed at motivating customers to engage in a game-like manner.

These days, the rise in popularity of features such as leader boards, points systems, and completion bars in digital campaigns, along with advances in immersive technologies, are opening up even more possibilities.

Gamification makes campaigns “sticky,” according to Tom Uhlhorn, founder and strategy director at Melbourne-based digital consultancy Tiny CX.

“The greatest opportunities lie in customer retention, and gamification can be a highly effective tool in this regard. The trick is in successfully incorporating your brand story into the gamification campaign,” he told CMO by Adobe. “If we can make our customers feel like they are a character in our brand’s story, they’re going to be much more attached to our brand.”

Gamification Propels Successful APAC Campaigns

Earlier this year, Bajaj Finserv, one of India’s largest nonbanking financial companies, executed a gamified #TravelonEMI campaign to raise awareness about common issues individuals face when planning a last-minute trip—namely, how to pay for it. It was a way to promote the brand’s “easy-to-pay-back” credit solutions.

Hosted on a microsite, the experience comprised three challenges: The first involved participants answering general knowledge questions about their favourite destinations. The second challenge involved solving jigsaw puzzles of scenic places at their favourite destinations. The third asked players to identify the most desirable skylines of their ideal destinations.

The results were impressive. The campaign achieved 74.6 million impressions on the microsite, Bajaj Finserv reported, and the hashtag #TravelonEMI trended on Twitter for more than five hours. The top two winners received travel vouchers and a third won a Go Pro 7.

Building Customer Loyalty

Gamification has shown to be an effective way of connecting with customers and building brand loyalty—often in surprising ways. Take, for example, the small plastic trinkets that have been fueling Australia’s “supermarket wars” over the past two years.

In 2018, supermarket giant Coles launched the “Little Shop” collectibles program, involving a race to collect 30 mini replicas of iconic Australian grocery goods. The campaign, which ran about six weeks, created huge interest nationally. Coles offered shoppers one collectible toy for every $30 they spent at the supermarket; soon after shoppers were trading their collectables online via Facebook swap groups and with their friends to collect them all.

Woolworths, Coles’ largest competitor, responded with a collectables incentive of its own. The “Lion King Ooshies” campaign functioned in much the same way as “Little Shop” in terms of length and spend but comprised a 24-piece limited edition collection of small plastic lions (a tie-in with the opening of The Lion King remake). The campaign was similarly successful in driving customer engagement—a rare orange Simba ooshie was even listed on eBay for $AUD 45,000.

“There’s this sense [of satisfaction] when you get the reward, and then there is a sense of anticipation on how many more times you can keep playing before you get a reward,” marketing professor Gary Mortimer from the Queensland University of Technology Business School told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “That’s the … psychology behind Little Shop and the Ooshies program—you never know what you’re going to get until you open up that little parcel. Sometimes you get a nice surprise and it’s something you haven’t got, and other times you get a duplicate, which encourages you to go back and reshop again hoping to find that elusive Little Shop product or Ooshie.”

The campaigns were enormously effective. Coles’ 2019 financial results indicated its supermarket division had a “comparable sales growth of 2.7% driven by online and successful collectable campaigns.” Similarly, Woolworths revealed a 7.8% increase in sales, attributing much of its growth to its collectable campaigns. The campaigns were so popular that both Coles and Woolworths have revived them with a new suite of collectibles.

AR/VR In Gamification

The emergence of immersive technologies—augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), in particular—have injected gamification with a new level of interactive potential.

For the 2019 Australian Open tennis tournament, watch maker Seiko built a branded VR tennis court that gave participants a chance to return serves from Novak Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 singles champion and a global brand ambassador for Seiko. The competition winner went home with $1,000 in cash prize money and a limited edition Seiko watch.

The campaign served as a fun, immersive activation that encouraged attendees to engage with the Seiko brand in a playful and potentially rewarding way. Rentertainment, the agency behind the activation, reported over 400 people participated in the game across two days, and Djokovic himself dropped by to be part of the action. Many people shared photos and videos of the game on social media.

For VR/AR to effectively factor into campaigns, the campaigns need to do more than merely showcase the technologies, Tiny CX’s Uhlhorn said.

“The question marketers need to ask is how can VR/AR make your brand’s customer experience sticky? The best gamification techniques aren’t campaigns but ingrained in the experience. What better way to make your offering sticky than to make it inherently gamified?” he said.

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