Recently I came across a great example of innovative gamification. At Arlanda airport in Stockholm the Red Cross have installed three retro arcade games instead of the usual boring charity coin collection points. It is a stroke of genius.
They are hard to walk past if you have spare coins jingling in your pocket, as we all do in airports. My Swedish Krona aren’t much use to me at home. But of course the machines take any currency. The Red Cross aren’t fussy what currency the donation is as long as they get it.
And their decision to go retro (Pac Man, Space Invaders) shows they know their target market, which is really important for successful gamification strategies. I don’t want to play Minecraft but give me an old fashioned Space Invaders machine and I’m there!
This is what gamification should always be about. Triggering behaviours by making it interesting, fun and engaging. You’ll walk past a standard coin collector but you won’t walk past a well-designed gamification disruptor. While there is nothing ‘fun’ about why the Red Cross need your donation, giving it doesn’t have to be altruistic and boring. What are brands if they are not about finding RELEVANT CONNECTIONS?
But it takes creativity. It takes someone to say ‘let’s thinks about another way to do it’. It takes someone to realize that we all like to play. That we all like to have fun and that no matter what the brand, fun is allowed. Play is not beneath any brand.
I think many brands worry too much about what gamification might say about their brand values. On the other hand, some brands make it a core part of theirs. IKEA have always had fun with their brand. Their ‘banned’ Tidy Up commercials on You Tube are hilarious.
Their recent Valentine’s day print ad offering a coupon redeemable for a free baby cot for those born 9 months after the romantic night – inspiring!
It is time that brands learn that fun and play are not only allowed but are valued by consumers. Gamification works because it makes us smile. And more importantly it brings about the behaviour that we are seeking. Brand owners need to look at their brand plans and see where gamification can really make a difference. Not just for the ‘sake’ of jumping on the gamification bandwagon but how it can bring about behavioural change.
And that can do more for brand equity and brand love than you might think.
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