We often talk about using gamification to build loyalty for brands but what about using gamification to manage and engage an already loyal customer or fan base? As the leading gamification provider for consumer brands we acknowledge that while some brands might be focused solely on building loyalty in their customer base, other brands are coming to us for gamification solutions that can reward, engage or highlight site features for existing fans. A comprehensive gamification solution doesn’t stop at building loyalty, but also should be attractive and engaging to existing brand enthusiasts as well.
While these mega-brands with existing super-fans are quite common, they often don’t have the same level of engagement online, that they carry offline. Gamification is proving to be a great way to pull super-fans online, to engage with brands from home. Two industries that are seeing a lot of benefit from gamification online are entertainment and sports. We’ve seen how successful gamification of an entertainer’s website can be with Chamillionaire, and now the gamification industry looks to be taking over the sports world as well.
Here are a few recent examples:
The NFL is no stranger to loyal fans. Frequently tied with MLB among sports leagues for “most loyal fans”, the NFL is a dominating force in the US. But while loyal football fans have long supported the NFL in stadiums, there hasn’t been an easy way for fans to show their support online, until now. Last week, NFL announced the launch of its first ever NFL Fan Rewards, a program that gives regular users of NFL.com coins in exchange for consuming content, commenting, sharing and participating in various activities online. The program harnesses the existing loyalty of fans and channels it to online activities like fantasy football, bringing football teams and the fans that love them closer together for a more interactive experience online. The program rewards fans with a variety of NFL merchandise and discount codes as well as a sweepstakes opportunity to win a trip to London to watch the International Series.
While FanCake may not have its own unique loyal fanbase yet, it definitely taps into a market of loyal sports fans who love to be rewarded for doing something they already do, watch sports. FanCake, created by Kwarter, links sports fans TV experience, with an iPhone app that gives fans points, quizzes and other mini games in real time while they watch. Users of the app can redeem points earned while watching and playing, for real rewards provided in the FanCake Catalogue. The app’s primary goal is to make watching the game at home feel more fun and interactive, while also rewarding fans who couldn’t make it to the stadium. There has been a lot of buzz about connecting TV views and smart phone use together with games and the sports industry feels like a great place to test this out.
If we are going to talk about the ways that gamification has been used by various brands within the sports industry, we can’t forget MLB. An early adopter of gamification, MLB.com has integrated game mechanics seamlessly into a variety of their online offerings. Last year they introduced game mechanics into their popular Gameday app, giving fans badges and trophies for witnessing specific in-game events. The Gameday app has become a popular way for loyal fans to watch baseball games they are unable to attend, or see on TV. During last year’s season, MLB handed out more than 5 million badges. You can learn more about the program last year in our MLB Case Study. MLB has continued grow the interactive features on their website and provide new and old baseball fans a way to engage with the teams they love.
Whether your brand has an irregular customer base that could use some loyalty, or an existing loyal customer base, that needs engagement online, gamification is a great way to accomplish both goals. As sports fans here at BigDoor, we are pretty excited to see the innovative gamification solutions coming out from sports leagues, teams and fans online.
Did we miss any other sports/gamification examples? We’d love to hear!