Game Mechanics Applied to Marketing And Brands


I read this article by Max Kalehoff a few months ago, but it came to mind again last week as I was writing about usability. This is the new world of media: full user-interaction. Today’s media consumers don’t just want to consume; they want to participate, engage and have fun while doing it.

Kalehoff’s article reviews the work of Ami Jo Kim, creative director at ShuffleBrain and holder of a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience. Kalehoff writes that Kim “noted at Supernova how successful games shape our behavior by engaging us in ‘flow,’ which is achieved through an optimum balance of challenge and skill.”

As humans, we need appropriate levels of challenge as our skills increase. The ability to match these two components is what makes good teachers good and great games work.

Kim suggests “game mechanics” as a framework to create services that are more fun, compelling and addictive. Boy, it seems incredibly obvious now: As YouTube’s popularity has skyrocketed, so has its alignment with these five key elements of game mechanics:

Those five elements are:

1. Collecting.
The most successful games involve the collection of items like artifacts or tools…

2. Points.
Points are the second critical component, because people will continue a certain behavior to gain more points…

3. Feedback.
The next key aspect is feedback on how you’re doing, whether auditory, visual, or other…

4. Exchanges.

Next are explicit or implicit exchanges, or interactions, such as trading or gifting…

5. Customization.
Finally, customization increases investment and creates barriers to leaving…

You can read the first article by Max Kalehoff on “Game Mechanics Applied to Marketing And Brands” right here and the rest of the “YouTube: The Addictive, Must-Play Game” article right here.

Can you imagine if more non-profits, churches, and even politicians started allowing more of their users/readers/members to customize their interaction with their websites, and engage at a deeper level? This would be one way to bring “community” and greater engagement through technology, which could then translate into more donations, more votes, or more people exploring their faith in person on Sunday morning.

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