Gamification is the application of game design and game principles in non-game contexts. It is a way to enchant customers by making unusual interactions in a playful context. For example, integrating it into a fun purchase, or adding an appeal of winning or a competitive aspect to digital marketing. It is also a way to make the luxury sector more accessible. Luxury brands are now using the mechanisms associated with video games as a new platform for customer acquisition and engagement. Gamification allows you to gain visibility, attract new customers, collect data, reinforce the brand’s image and DNA, differentiate yourself from the competition, and finally bring the customer to your store or to visit your e-commerce website. It is a real innovation where the creativity is endless in terms of format, message, and aesthetics.
What is gamification?
Gamification was created in the ’80s by airline companies. It is a technique that reproduces the principles associated with video games applied to areas that were not originally intended. It is used in digital marketing since the 2000s, and it is often based on a system of points, rewards, and challenges to build customer loyalty and engagement.
Nowadays, gamification is at the heart of many successful brands’ marketing and content strategies. Indeed, the idea of engaging a user or a consumer through experiential marketing has become widespread. In this sense, many sectors are “gamifying” to offer an innovative and creative experience thanks to techniques and tools that are normally used in video games. Notably, both the luxury and fashion industries have “gamified” to offer their customers a new kind of experience. Retailers have also understood and applied this approach since they integrate into their marketing strategies a set of rewards, promotions, or gifts to offer a better customer experience.
The people mainly targeted by this concept are the younger generations such as the millennials who grew up with the rise of the Internet, video games, and computers, as well as generation Z, born in the world of smartphones and social media. These generations are considered “digital natives” i.e., people who grew up with new technologies, are fond of innovation, use connected objects, and have a notion of exclusivity.
In this context, gamification allows a brand to create a special bond with these audiences by bringing them into this exclusive world playfully and inclusively, sometimes also bringing an affective and addictive dimension. It’s a good way to effectively boost brand awareness and engagement.
For a gamification strategy to be effective, it is essential for luxury brands to optimally integrate the fundamental principles of gaming into their marketing actions, namely the “challenge-accomplishment-satisfaction” triptych.
Each completed challenge must give the user a feeling of pleasure that will make them want to continue to play the game. On top of this, one must integrate a narrative, rewards, and feedback (to give visibility on their progress). The key is to offer the best possible experience to the customer.
Why integrate gamification into your digital marketing strategy?
- Develop your brand awareness
Nowadays, internet users are exposed to advertising messages from everywhere to the point of being quickly tired of them. However, making your brand or your new products known to the general public without doing a minimum of online advertising has become almost impossible. With a good concept, you can leave a lasting impression on your target audience, while making it easier to communicate your advertising message to them.
- Use gamification to collect data
Gamification often allows you to collect customer data such as email addresses, names, phone numbers, etc. All you have to do is ask your visitors to register to participate while respecting the General Data Protection Regulation. By pushing the concept even further, gamification becomes a very effective customer segmentation tool and you can collect a lot of qualitative data to qualify your audience.
- Increase your online and offline conversions
In addition to collecting valuable data to reach your target audience, gamification can also optimize your customer conversion rate by generating qualified traffic to your website, mobile application, and/or to your physical store. To do this, you can offer discount coupons to use online or in your store to reward participants. You can also get inspired by treasure hunts to direct your target audiences to your different digital and physical touchpoints.
- Boost engagement
Gamification is an effective method to increase the engagement of your users. Indeed, it generates a high rate of interactions and clicks since the Internet user becomes a “player” and is immersed in the company’s universe in a fun and interactive way. The feeling of belonging and exclusivity allows them to feel privileged and makes them want to act.
- Integrate it into your inbound marketing strategy
Gamification is an integral part of the tactics you need to put in place to develop an effective inbound marketing strategy. Share content that allows you to convey your brand messages related to your gamification strategy. For example, through a blog post, a social media post, or via email marketing.
- Generate leads
Most games require users to insert personal contact information. This is where the value of gamification lies. With this contact information, you’ll have an entry point to start a conversation with qualified prospects who are usually in the consideration phase of your product. Gamification helps leads move forward in the conversion funnel.
- Increase customer loyalty
Creating games also helps build loyalty among your consumers. With games, you encourage users to come back to your website or mobile application to get a better score. By applying the concept of gamification, you will increase the number of loyal visitors.
- Generate sales
Gamification is also a technique that helps generate conversions and more specifically sales by converting your users into customers. Indeed, you will be able to guide your user in their choice of products or services that you offer based, for example, on their answers to a quiz or a game.
Three golden rules for using gamification in your brand communication:
- Rule N°1:
Your game must be creative and original. It must allow you to distinguish yourself from others and boost your brand image, your values, and your brand positioning. If you don’t have a precise objective, you risk not achieving your set goals, even if you have a strong concept. Moreover, you must adapt this technique to the profile of your target audience. Developing a game just to follow a trend will not allow you to increase your sales, nor will it increase your brand awareness.
- Rule N°2:
Gamified content should also be designed to create and maintain an open dialogue with all your prospects and customers. To do this, the game must be engaging and also encourage customers to interact.
- Rule N°3:
Finally, your content, products, and offers must be placed at the heart of your gamified strategy. The use of polls, quizzes, etc. will not only help you engage your prospects and customers in an ultra-targeted and personalized way but will also enrich your database with valuable data. All this will allow you to build a user-centric and data-driven strategy.
Gamification: The ideal ally for the luxury industry
To face the new challenges of the market, luxury brands have understood the importance of implementing a gamification strategy in their marketing efforts.
You might even be surprised to learn that luxury designers worked with the Nintendo-created game Animal Crossing. The luxury fashion brands Marc Jacobs and Valentino created “New Horizons” looks last May which were launched way back in 2001 (and not this year, as one might have easily assumed given its popularity during the lockdown when Instagram accounts like Animal Crossing Fashion Archive, Nook Street Market and Animalcrossfits were all the rage).
Last year, Louis Vuitton launched its League of Legends capsule collection in partnership with Riot Games. Gucci unveiled a series of new apps, including the Arcade App, which invites customers to play with the House’s popular designs and characters, as well as AR technology that lets them virtually “try on” Gucci sneakers and watches. This year, the Italian brand launched a collaboration with The Sims and integrated a Gucci x Tennis Clash. This included a tennis-themed virtual Gucci collection.
Burberry, meanwhile, partnered with Snapchat to create Animal Kingdom, a playful in-store experience in which Snapcodes transport shoppers into the Burberry world. Ralph Lauren too collaborated with the social media platform to create virtual clothing for personal Bitmojis.
“With the lock-in, we started the year 2020 to wake up in 2025,” says Christian Louboutin, surprised by such an acceleration. “I’m not a gamer myself – I can barely turn on the TV – but I’ve observed in recent years that more and more people, especially at the airport or on planes, are playing on their phones.” In October, the shoe designer introduced its spring 2021 collection via the Zepeto app, allowing users – not just fashion press and shoppers – to create personal avatars and discover the new season’s shoes.
Hermes‘ “H-pitch” app is a game of skill that involves throwing horseshoes at a target. As the player hits the target, they unlock virtual worlds, all inspired by the brand’s universe. It’s a simple yet entertaining game that helps Hermès present its brand in an innovative and less intrusive way. By using a “wild west” video, the brand was able to showcase its products and its world where players, all dressed in the new collection, compete in a throwing duel. It’s a way to further connect with the brand’s fans who can associate the game with the brand or one of its products. The game thus becomes an effective way to get people talking and for the luxury brand to gain visibility.
Burberry: “B-bounce and Ratberry“:
The B-Bounce game was launched to promote the brand’s down jacket collection. With the click of your mouse, a friendly fox dressed in a puffer jacket must jump vertically from one level to another while avoiding the obstacles along the way. If you achieve a score between 500 and 1,499 points, Burberry offers you the chance to enter a draw to win one of the 84 virtual puffer jackets. All you have to do is send in your photo to see yourself dressed in a digital coat.
If you exceed 1,500 points, you will be entered into a draw to win one of six down jackets worth 1,500 Euros each. Participation in the last two categories requires sending an e-mail and other information, which of course is very valuable data for the brand’s CRM.
Given the success of the first game, the British fashion house has decided to repeat the experience with the inauguration of a new player to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which marks the year of the metal rat. Called “Ratberry“, this version is an iteration of B-Bounce where the little squirrel gives way to a rat wearing a cap and a logo T-shirt. The goal of the game is to make the animal evolve within an interface inspired by traditional Chinese items to collect a maximum of gold coins and lanterns.
Louis Vuitton decided to target a more specific category of customers with their game. In particular, eSports players, by creating a partnership with the game “League of Legends”. As part of this year’s world championship, the luxury brand has developed an exclusive trunk that will carry the trophy. This online game has become a global phenomenon that has helped the brand gain incredible exposure, especially in China, where the younger generation is fans of this multiplayer game.
More than ever, gamification is one of the most effective strategies to apply to your brand if you want to retain and engage your customers. If you are interested in a gamification strategy, don’t hesitate to contact our marketing and mobile application development experts to help you design your mini-games.
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