As D2C brands take on established brand mammoths to capture consumer attention, with proven use cases of gamification and many well-known brands reaping its rewards, gamification has now become an essential weapon in any smart, new-age marketer’s arsenal
With the world undergoing unprecedented transformations since the Covid-19 pandemic began, enterprises across the globe are reimagining their branding and marketing strategies to adapt and realign with the changing needs of their consumers.
One sector that has stood out from the rest in the post-pandemic era has been D2C retail, which saw a significant uptick in demand during these times. At present, D2C brands have sprung up in multiple sectors, including fashion, FMCG, Homecare, Femtech, personal care, baby care, cosmetics, lifestyle, home décor, consumer electronics, among others. More than 800 D2C brands in India are carving a niche for themselves, with many more to join the ecosystem in the coming years. Such a backdrop points to an increasingly competitive space where only those who deploy the best brand strategies will survive in the long run.
The most significant challenge faced by D2C brands today is one of creating brand recognition among consumers. Given the lack of a physical space where consumers can experience or see the brand, digital mediums such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp etc., become the primary mediums through which consumers are reached. However, high clutter in these channels makes content differentiation a critical marketing need.
Gamification, as a strategy, is one such way in which D2C brands can strongly differentiate and attract new consumers.
There is a natural instinct in every person to compete, to be challenged, to have fun, to be rewarded, and to mirror. These five innate instincts can be satiated through games and gamified engagement. Furthermore, when people play games, they feel motivated and experience a positive ’rush’. Gamification in the context of marketing merely couples these positive emotions through game elements and game principles with a topic or information about a product.
Gamification is already widely used in a variety of contexts across sectors with the ultimate goal of entertaining, engaging, and educating audiences. Globally the Gamification market is expected to grow to USD 38.3 Billion by 2027, from USD 9.1 billion in 2020. The global gaming market is expected to be USD 268.8 billion in 2025, up from USD 178 billion in 2021. This is fueled by growing acceptance of this medium in the minds of consumers across the world. As younger populations enter the working age and with the advent of mediums such as VR, this trend is only expected to magnify.
In the context of D2C brands, tried and tested gamification methods can be a game-changer in many ways, some of which we’ve explored here.
Enhance reach and brand awareness
Brands can use games to create fun interactive content for people to discover and understand their brand and products. Using gamification elements incentivizes the interaction while creating hype for your product or services among consumers. This is also a great way to promote newly launched products or campaigns; there is a high likelihood that a consumer may participate or make a purchase with a game as a hook.
When you integrate a game into your brand content across different consumer touchpoints, you also encourage your consumers to share their gaming experience with their social networks, as gaming activities get a lot of shares.
This increases a brand’s reach and awareness, thereby making it easy to attract new consumers. For example, a study by Gigya, a customer identity management platform, found that brands such as Nike, Dell and Pepsi, who used gamified elements in their content, saw a 13% increase in post comments, 22% more post shares and a phenomenal 68% content discovery rate.
Drive Engagement and Increase Brand Loyalty
Game principles can be used to achieve the holy grail of marketing – sustained engagement. According to Digital Marketing Forum, 60% of people admit that an appealing game from a brand may influence them to buy more from that brand. Similarly, a survey conducted by Ask Your Target Market found that 38% of people enjoy their shopping experience when brands include games or interactive features. This data indicates that gamification can enhance sales, brand awareness, and customer loyalty and help develop an emotional connect with the audience. This, in turn, leads to a longer relationship with consumers, as opposed to simple brand awareness. Brands that gamify to raise engagement find that games also tend to boost customer experience and satisfaction.
With the increased demand for consumer entertainment since the pandemic began, brands can leverage gamification to make the user’s engagement with the brand more enjoyable and dynamic. Bain & Company’s research shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Grab new segments’ attention: Target Generation Z and Millennials.
While gamification for digital marketing works well across all ages and demographics, games perform exceptionally well with Millennial and Gen Z audiences, as indicated by the Consumer Insights research, which found that about 81% of Gen Z gamers reported playing games in the past six months. Millennials and GenZ make up the majority of the 600 million internet users in India, and they are driving online shopping like never before. As a result, D2C
brands are getting higher responses and witnessing a sharp rise in engagement and visibility from Millennials and Gen-Z, who make up the major share of online shoppers. This points to a huge opportunity for D2C to leverage the affinity of Millenials and GenZ towards games and use gamified elements to drive revenue and engagement.
Generate data for personalisation and user retention
With hundreds of D2C startups and traditional retail companies vying to take the D2C route, customer acquisition costs are rising. A data-driven understanding of the customer can help D2C brands deliver unique experiences across channels, thus, improving retention and increasing overall customer LTV. Games naturally lend themselves to capturing higher levels of data that can indicate consumer behaviour or preferences. This sort of data can be generated through gamification applied across multiple touchpoints in the consumer decision journey.
The data collected can help D2C brands optimise experiences across customer lifecycle stages while reducing overall marketing costs.
As D2C brands take on established brand mammoths to capture consumer attention, they may need to find innovative ways of appealing to consumers. What better way than to deliver a personalised experience to make consumers feel like part of something unique and niche. With proven use cases of gamification and many well-known brands reaping its rewards, gamification has now become an essential weapon in any smart, new-age marketer’s arsenal.
This article was first published on BW Disrupt