Content is changing the face of marketing. Telling the audience about your brand is no longer enough and the poor neatly-typed press release is practically extinct.
The sharpest brands engage and enthral modern audiences through a combination of digital PR activity on earned platforms, compelling content on owned platforms and uniquely immersive user experiences.
JBH works with brands to create both static and interactive content for digital PR purposes and our experience has crystallised one thing above all else: when it comes to getting results, nothing beats a high-quality concept, paired with a user-friendly, immersive experience.
Importance of having a captivating concept
A great concept should either offer something new or present an existing set of ideas from a fresh perspective. Whenever you create content, it needs to have a definite objective, such as solving your audience’s problems or answering their questions.
Unfortunately, finding the right concept is usually the biggest challenge. Not only does it need to appeal to targeted audiences, it also needs to align with the brand and sit comfortably alongside its products, knowledge and expertise. But even when a concept has been settled upon, you will still need to choose the right tools for the job.
Understanding the theory of gamification
Predicted by M2 Research to grow to a $2.8 billion industry by the end of 2016. The tool is one of the most exciting available to marketers today.
In its most general sense, the term refers to the process by which marketers transform information into interactive content. Users are encouraged to make their own mark on the content they consume — searching, filtering, competing, winning, voting, sharing and contributing their own ideas.
Gamification is essentially a way of making marketing more fun. It takes elements of game play such as rewards and engagement but reimagines them in non-game contexts.
Gamification puts the user in control
If content marketing acknowledges the need to engage the audience through storytelling, interactive content makes the user the narrator of the story.
Well-versed in all the tricks marketers have up their sleeves, today’s consumers prefer to hear about brands from friends or other consumers rather than the brands themselves. The 2015 Content Preferences Survey from Demand Gen found that 88 percent of users say interactive content is somewhat or very effective in creating differentiation. This is in comparison to 55% for passive content.
With its subtle, nostalgic undertones, gamified content encourages certain skills learned in childhood. It allows users to discover new information, make an experience their own and share what they have learned with others, creating a more unique content journey.
The best gamified content provides a simple and compelling user experience, allowing the user to be in control.
How does gamification help the brand?
Modern marketing is about creating a mutually beneficial relationship with your audience. People are only interested in content that entertains, educates, informs or benefits them in some way. Savvy brands show rather than tell.
Gamification provides a fun and effective marketing strategy, which encourages people to like the brand on their own terms. This keeps users on the page longer, generates positive signals, leads to higher ranking on search engines and compels users to share branded content with friends.
One successful gamification example is from enterprise giant SAP and its problems with engagement. Together with 282,000 customers in 190 countries, it also wanted to leverage the two million unique users that visit the brand’s social network – the SAP Community Network (SCN).
Through the concept of missions (actions for which you receive rewards), SAP saw community feedback rise by 96%, overall activity by 400%, and point generation (an indication of quantity of contributions and engagement around content) by 2,210%.
Extending the reach of gamification
The benefits of gamification are both broad and global. According to the Advanced Learning Institute, gamification can be employed as an internal corporate marketing tool to strengthen employee engagement, boost morale, recruit top talent, build brand loyalty, create better training programmes, increase workplace competition, promote desired behaviours and improve collaboration.
Projections from Gartner also suggest that by the end of the year, 50 percent of corporate innovation will revolve around the gamification of processes. Such statistics demonstrate just how powerful the gamification of content can be concerning all marketing activity.
That said, tread with care. Not every piece of content can be gamified, nor should it be. In order to be convincing, the content has to be simultaneously new, relevant and true to the brand.
Implementing interactive content
Brands come to us because we create unique interactive content, which enables audiences to engage with the brand for longer.
The key to successful, immersive content is choosing a theme that showcases a brand’s expertise and industry knowledge, while remaining relevant to the core target audience, their interests and how they like to consume content. Perfect execution means delivering the content in a fresh and fun way that will appeal to the site’s audience.
Harnessed correctly, interactive content allows brands to climb the ladders of modern marketing, while sidestepping the snakes of substandard social sharing.