“When can a brand be playful?” A report on Internet Hungary.

Our mentor, Eva Halasz represented the CEU iLab at the 2 day long Internet Hungary 2019, where 2400 participants could listen to inspiring and insightful talks and roundtable discussions about Gamification.

Eva’s talk titled “When can a brand be playful?” looked at four scenarios when brands can use gamification to their advantage.

Play is as old as mankind, but has only recently started to become a part of branding along with Web 2.0’s interactivity and brands competing on creating a memorable customer experience. “Games are about goals and rewards” as the founder of Angry birds says, but according to behavioral economist Kahnemann, games can also provide motivation for people to do something that they would not otherwise do, such as painful or boring tasks.

The first case for successful gamification is when a brand is about being playful all the way. A great example to this is the Virgin brand, whose goal is create buzzworthy experiences, entertain and invite people to have fun. It is manifested in their bold advertising, musical-like safety video, nail bar on board, and their recent loyalty program, Virgin Red where people can get extra points while playing.

The second case is turning a customer touchpoint, which is boring or cumbersome to be fun. There are several healthtech and medtech examples like the Bayer Didget blood glucose meter for kids, which is connected to a handheld Nintendo and rewards diabetic kids who measure their blood glucose with playtime.

The third scenario is when a brand entertains and creates hero content that people share and talk about like the famous “Piano Stairs” by Volkswagen or the Vans Underground skating park.

Brands can also invite people to co-create a product. Nike ID is about creating your own personalized shoes online or via a device in store and already shows a 16% growth rate in Asia vs. Nike’s 5%. The most beautiful attempt for gamified product development is the FoldIt protein folding game from 2010 when a group of scientists teamed up with the Games Sciences Centre at the University of Washington to invite 240 000 gamers to help unlock the structure of an AIDS-related enzyme that the scientific community had been unable to unlock for a decade and was a major reason behind a 4 million increase of AIDS related deaths in the previous year.

In summary, brands first need to look at why they want to use gaming and how it can help their strategy and business. It is also key to look at the customer journey and its touchpoints, which can be a goldmine of gamification opportunities. Finally, it is key to measure the results.