Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Nike + Xbox Kinect: Gamifying your brand

The newly released Nike + game for Xbox, powered by the Kinect, allows users to train at home as part of a game while earning fuel points. The game tests the player’s fitness levels and then builds a customized program to achieve specific fitness goals. The Kinect measures the player’s every move and allows for individual performance to be tracked. It is a continuation of the Nike Fuelband campaign adding an element of play to the marketing of fitness apparel.

Gamification is a growing trend in marketing, which many pioneering brands like Nike are turning their attention to. It was brought to our attention by our communications lecturer, who is doing a PhD in the area. It basically involves the use of gaming dynamics to influence behavior, and its main advantage is allowing brands to engage with the target audience on a deeper level and lead them through the purchase intent.

You may ask why is gaming such a growing trend? Its popularity is attributed to modern age lifestyles where people get access to the things they need through fairly dull monetary transactions. Most people in developed countries actually have the luxury of boredom. As the philosopher Bertrand Russell has it: “Civilized life has altogether grown too tame and, if it is to be stable, it must provide harmless outlets for the impulses which our remote ancestors satisfied in hunting.” People yearn for excitement and gaming provides a virtual world where they have the experience of risk and elements of reward.

According to SapientNitro’s ‘Insights 2013’ report, corporations will invest as much as $2.8 billion on gamification by the end of 2016. This is a tool marketers should pay attention to as the same report pointed out to a decline in social media pages participation and engagement. As a response, they advised marketers to diversify their digital marketing activities into gamification in order to boost the engagement of their online efforts.

Before you start considering how to turn your brand-consumer interaction into a game, do you think this approach is appropriate for any type industry?

Adriana Heinzen
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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