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Why Gamification Works: How Brands are Marketing With Fun

Authors: Kristen Matthews Kristen Matthews
Posted Under: Social Media
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Why Gamification Works: How Brands are Marketing With Fun

Social Influencer Case Study

One of the many things I absolutely love about my job at GroupHigh is that I get to talk to PR and marketing professionals on a daily basis. I soak up everything that they’re doing so I can share it with my readers.

Something I’m seeing a shift toward—which I love—is a movement in marketing that focuses on ditching the campaign model and finding people who authentically like a brand no matter how far (or small) the social reach.

Part of finding these people and working with them effectively is through gamification techniques such as blogger giveaways, competitions, games and prizes.

I’m digging how gamification and working with real people as influencers go hand in hand in creating fun yet effective marketing strategies.

Real People as Influencers

Modern marketing is reaching for it’s roots more than ever before.

It all goes back to the fact that your potential consumers want to hear from their friends and other consumers about your brand, not your brand itself. Activating the voices of your happy consumers is one of the best things you can do for your brand but it’s also one of the most difficult.

There is a fine line that a marketer must stay inside of when working with consumers to promote your brand. The biggest mistake I see made is when marketers forget that the relationship needs to be mutually beneficial – meaning that they need to be acknowledging these messages and fueling them with rewards.

One way to make relationships mutually beneficial is through rewarding consumers for sharing socially and making it fun and worthwhile to help share your brand’s message.


Gamification combined with working with real people as influencers weave together in a perfect social strategy as illustrated by this case study I posted yesterday about how Delta Airlines used gamification to reach the heart of New Yorkers.

To put it simply, gamification incorporates fun and an element of competition to a digital marketing strategy. It also works with all brand fans and people who want to participate – not just the ones with a ton of followers.

The theory behind implementing these types of techniques is that they make an emotional connection with the audience and lead to a longer relationship as opposed to simple brand awareness.

An easy way to work with brand advocates and potential consumers is through tactics such as contests, free product giveaways with bloggers, and games that have a thematic relevance with the brand being promoted.

I don’t like to be to be told what to do, I like to be shown. So, let’s start with some stats:

  • More than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 companies are expected to have deployed at least one gamified application by year-end 2014
  • Vendors claim that gamification strategies can lead to a 100% to 150% increase in engagement metrics.

How Other Brands Do It

Aside from looking to statistics, I like to plant seeds of inspiration in to my strategy by looking to how other brands execute a tactic well.

Here are some great examples that could serve as spring boards for where you can take gamification and weave it in to your own brand’s strategy:

Dominos has incorporated gamification in to their mobile pizza ordering app. Users can shake their Droid or iPhone if they don’t know what they want to order and the app with pick the toppings.

Popchips teamed up with app company Kiip to offer bags of Popchips as prizes when players get to a certain level in mobile games.

Looking for a unique way to drive sales, clothing company, Moosejaw gamified the way they do e-commerce by offering items for low prices that went up throughout the day creating a sense of urgency for consumers to buy. They also included ways for consumers to score better deals by inviting friends and posting socially.

Do you have an example of an awesome influencer digital marketing strategy to share? Whether it’s one you’ve seen or were part of I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Additionally, if you’d like to be featured in my weekly post contact me at and let’s talk about your campaign!

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