by Michael O'Neill
November 1st, 2013

It’s time to take video games seriously. There’s no denying that with the surge of portable technology including smartphones and tablets, more and more consumers are playing and loving video games. The video game industry has transformed from a market associated with kids, TV and “wasting your time”, to a mature, relevant industry that’s highly accessible and competitive. It is no wonder businesses are leveraging our excitement and positive attitude towards video games by using gamification to create services and campaigns that help drive more engagement.

Gamification is defined as putting gaming elements within a non-gaming context. It’s been receiving huge amounts of attention, with research firm M2 research projecting that the gamified applications market will climb to a total value of $2.6 billion by 2016.

There have already been case studies that underline the success of Ggamification as well. Nike used leadership boards and gamification to help solidify their community with their Nike+ application. Starbucks gamified their loyalty programs to retain more customers who love their coffee. The American army even created a first-person shooter game both as training and marketing tool to hire more recruits.

So if we can leverage our marketing and human resources efforts with game mechanics, then what about our public relation strategies?

Here’s an idea. What if we created a game for key opinion leaders (KOLs) to help them write content that’s more aligned to the key messages? Maybe a media familiarisation trip could incorporate feedback visuals so that they can see who’s getting more out of the activity and gain more motivation? Why not include level-up systems for journalists who attend your press conferences to gain more retention and get consistent high attendance rates for your client?

The growing social acceptance for the gaming medium and the amount of investment we’ve made for the industry clearly represents our need to understand and explore gamification further. In my opinion, combining PR with gamification could unravel new possibilities for engaging with stakeholders. The idea might seem too wild, but there’s no harm done in giving it a try, right?

So let’s continue on and take the industry seriously. Let’s learn more about games and discover how it can be combined with our PR ways of thinking. Let’s also bring about change to how we view the audience, not as a passive group of people but rather as an active group of gamers. Because who knows, you might end up creating the single most engaging PR campaign for your team, or your company.

Pigar A. Mahdar is associate – Digital, Indonesia, at Weber Shandwick

To receive our updates: