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Gaming Brands: Yea or Nay?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There’s more gaming talk around the brand world today and it’s coming from the most unsuspecting brands. It’s the consumer brands, the restaurant brands, and not only the teenage-boy brands. There’s talk about badging and sharing and points and engagement, yet it still all seems like a puzzle for those brands that haven’t caught the gaming bug. And rightfully so — seriously, what does this gaming mean? Is it worth it? Do all brands have to incorporate gaming to win? Today the topic is gaming and some key factors to understanding what it means and if it’s right for every brand.

The traditional definition of gaming needs to be thrown out because now this word has new meaning. It’s all-encompassing; it's any sort of action that produces a reward for a customer. So in the simplest sense, think of the yearly Monopoly game put on by McDonald's where customers are able to receive a prize if they get the lucky packaging. But gaming is also a brand’s ability to ask customers to do something on their behalf and then give them something in return. It’s normally not a one-and-done action, but a set of actions that add up to some sort of prize. Stella Artois takes gaming to a new level by asking its followers to share content, provide them with social media accounts, and engage friends in order to receive badges and ultimately win a luxurious prize.

This whole gaming thing seems a bit of a fad when thought of as a person playing Mario Kart or the like. But when a brand breaks down the benefit and return of entering the gaming atmosphere, a lot more can be achieved, specifically for consumer brands that are looking to have their followers promote the brand. Creating a “game” out of asking customers for help makes the whole process seem much more fun. Add a fancy prize and the ability to talk status, and consumers want in. Not sure anyone could have predicted the success of gaming when linked to branding strategy, but it’s gaining positive results, so now is definitely the time to jump in.

And it’s not to say that gaming will equate success, as there are certain factors that need to be considered. For one, whatever a brand is asking a customer to do should not be difficult. It should not require hours of work or lots of thinking. Brands also need to consider the task and the reward. They need to be equal and the prize better be kinda cool. Technology is also a key in the gaming trend. Customers want to know where they stand and visually be able to tell where they are in the game; think portals and landing pages, fun badges, cool level names, and the like. Again, gaming isn’t for every brand, but it’s definitely one to consider at a time when customers are interested in playing.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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