Gamification – A Marketing Strategy

Summary: What is Gamification? What are the pros and cons of using this strategy in marketing? How is it being implemented by brands today?

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game context to engage people and to impact their behaviour. It’s a strategy that delivers by engaging consumers in a fun way, allowing them to interact with their desired brand through quizzes, treasure hunts, photo sharing, competitions and more, while giving recognition and rewards to participants in the process. Rewards can be anything from discounts in store, loyalty points, freebees, competition entries and level ups within a game process.

According to Gartner, 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014.


Why Gamification Works

The pros:

  • It can present immediate feedback for brands – game scores can translate to business goals if implemented in the right way.
  • It creates in-depth engagement – Game mechanics provide more in-depth engagement over other forms of digital advertising due to its addictive nature for users.
  • Inherent motivation to return to the source of interaction – Achieving a certain level of status motivates consumers to frequently engage with the brand.
  • Uses fun to embed the brand into a consumer’s life.
  • It creates healthy competition and word-of-mouth between consumers – generating brand awareness by normal people acting as influencers.
  • Brands can drive desired user behaviour.


It’s Not All Fun And Games

The Cons:

  • No long term value for users – Without a competitive ‘me to’ aspect, minimal levels of engagement could result in virtual ghost towns.
  • Disruption with traditional loyalty programs – Game based marketing has the potential to discard traditional loyalty programs, disrupting existing customers; they might find starting the process again un-worthwhile.
  • Investing a substantial amount of time and money – If a brand doesn’t understand what it is about video games that engage their market is a recipe for disaster and a loss of time and money.
  • Invitation for consumers to try and cheat the system.
  • Novelty wears off – Brands can overlook the importance of creating meaning and fun behind the program.


Who’s Using Gamification Successfully

Nike ‘Angry Winter’ Campaign

In 2011 Nike started their use of gamification in which players had to help athletes stay warm while they trained outside in the cold.

Participants did have an incentive to play; a leader board of the highest scores were created and those at the peak would win a trip to meet one of the athletes featured within the game.

Obviously this wasn’t all for fun. The game also advertised Nike’s new rage of winter clothing worn by each athlete, directing and prompting users to purchase from their website.

Nike produced a typical competition that highlights how a brand can use gamification to drive awareness of its new product range.

Another Example From Nike + And The Running Experience Community Project

Nike + is one of the most famous examples of gamification as it locks a high amount of potential customers into staying connected with each other and the brand.

This platform collects personal data from participants; keeping them updated on their running activities, displaying their latest achievements and overall evolution. Meanwhile this type of gamification allowed users to compare and compete with people from all over the world, including direct friends when connected to social media.

For Nike this viral game boosted exposure along with customer loyalty.

The highly developed gaming system also allowed them to collect information about their consumers over a substantial period of time, after which they could segment and market their products and services to directly benefit those interacting with the brand in the hopes to increase sales.  All the information collected also allowed an increase in productivity of the R&D and Online Marketing departments.

US ARMY – Recruitment

Another great example of gamification is being implemented by the US Army. They have developed a free downloadable game which has become their number one recruitment tool.

The game allows potential recruits to partake in a virtual army experience in order to see if they have what it takes to become a battle fighter. When participants show signs of promise they are rewarded with badges of honor, the same badges you would earn if you were to join the American forces for real.

The game was developed with a clear business goal; increasing recruits numbers in reality. Before playing the game everyone is recommended to create an account to join the ‘online army’ where a hub of information and data can be found about the real job role.

Success Is In The Game

Although there are a few cons when using gamification as a marketing strategy, I believe if your brand can deliver a strong concept it’s an asset worth nurturing.

Gamification works because today’s consumers are looking for a more rewarding and engaging relationship with their favourite brands, and traditional marketing is failing this.

According to Brian Burk, research vice president at Gartner:

“Gamification aims to inspire deeper, more engaged relationships and to change behaviours, but it needs to be implemented thoughtfully, most attempts at gamification currently miss the mark, but successful and sustainable gamification can convert customers into fans, turn work into fun, or make learning a joy. The potential is enormous.”

According to Burk three key ingredients must be implemented and correctly positioned for a gamified application to truly engage its audience: motivation, momentum and meaning!


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Cornwall PLC

Visit CornwallThe official tourist board online visitor guide.

Summary: Within this post I will be touching upon the delightful online heaven that is Visit Cornwall and analysing 3 specific market segments that benefit from its services.


About Visit Cornwall

Visit Cornwall is the official online tourist board that present its visitors with everything they need to know about embarking on a magical and unique experience to the idyllic county of Cornwall. The online site proposes places to stay, things to do, what’s on, fabulous food, activities to take advantage of and much more.

Below I have analysed 3 market segments that benefit from Visit Cornwall’s expertise.


The Fun Families


Young working class families under 44 who have a mortgage and children, looking to holiday during school breaks.


Families based in the South of England, mainly London and those situated in neighbouring counties to Cornwall.


Cosmopolitans and high street followers who are in search of a stress free family get away that’s got something for everyone to enjoy. Their idyllic holiday would be relaxing, educational, and full of exploration, offering up a chance to immerse the family in a range of spontaneous outdoor activities.


The Weekend Romantics


Young couples; between 25-30, pre family, professionals.

In contrast, the more mature segment aged 45+, married, post family and considering retirement if they haven’t already hung up the apron.


Couples based in the South West and Wales; those who live in similar surroundings but want a brief escape from their local area.


Style Hounds who are young, free spirited and act on impulse, looking for a relaxing and romantic get away to not only discover Cornwall but each other.

Traditionals who are slow to adapt, valuing home comforts, good food, sea breeze walks and captivating British culture and history.


The Dog Loves  


Working class males, females, families, couples, the young and old all of whom have a four legged family member they feel needs Cornwall as much as they do.


Specifically the Cornish born and bread along with holiday makers travelling from close by neighbouring counties in the South of England.


Functionals and discoverers aiming to explore Cornwall, mainly investing in what’s most functional and valuable to them, they wouldn’t pay or want someone else looking after they furry friend and besides their pet is part of the family and it’s important that they are involved in family life. This market segment value new options and educational experiences but take comfort in tradition.

Do you fall under one of the segments above? 

Want to know more about what Cornwall has on offer for you?

Follow the links below …



A social media campaign created by Starbucks

Summary: After recently looking at Starbucks social media campaign I wanted to explore their strategy further. Throughout this blog I will be analysing how they responded to challenges, identifying all the CARAT elements, what research they carried out in the process and questioning whether or not the campaign brought the brand success.


How It All Started

There’s no denying that Starbucks understands technology, and more importantly, their customers. On the 28th October 2013 Starbucks partnered with twitter to launch their ‘Tweet-a-Coffee’ campaign across the US. The initial idea was all about buying anyone, anywhere (well within the US) a coffee as a small gesture of kindness, and according to Adam Brotman, the chief digital officer at Starbucks, Twitter had the strength to help them achieve this.

In order for the campaign to work users had to link their Starbucks and credit card account to their twitter profile, then by tweeting @tweetacoffee with a friends twitter handle attached, an eGift worth $5 was sent to their desired recipient.

The Ultimate Challenge

Enticing the public to participate in a social media campaign is harder than one may think, so Starbucks needed to find a bigger incentive than just the element of gifting to another to get us stubborn lot involved. Not many of us like to do something for nothing these days so Starbucks stated that from the launch date until November 6th if you were one of the first 100,000 customers to ‘Tweet-a-Coffee’ using a visa card, you also got a $5 gift voucher as well as your friend. According to Keyhole this resulted in 32% of purchases occurring within the first day of launch, but how did Starbucks find the answer to this once impossible challenge?

The CARAT Process Was The Key

 A process that makes the impossible challenges possible.


It’s All About The Research!


Who’s Involved In The Starbucks Community?


Target Market

Almost half of Starbucks’ total business comes from its primary target market of men and women aged 25 to 40, it’s this group alone that account for almost half (49 percent) of the brands total business. I believe for this campaign especially this target market were Starbucks most desired as people of this age are more likely to be cardholders and active on social media. These customers tend to be professional urbanites with relatively high incomes, who are interested in socially responsible and environmentally friendly policies. They consider the Starbucks logo as a status symbol and want to be associated with it.


This campaign is reliant on influencers; friends, family and followers on Twitter. The influencers are the individuals who initially get the ball rolling, driving the campaign by sharing and gifting friends, ultimately encouraging them to do the same with others or to return the favour.


Twitter and Starbucks have worked together to help bridge the gap between our online and offline worlds, this is something beneficial for both brands. It’s a great opportunity for Twitter to become a direct response marketing channel while Starbucks now has information for all their gifters and recipients in their system, which could have massive longer-term impact on the ROI of this campaign.

What Are Starbucks Aiming For?

  • An engaging campaign that customers wanted to interact with.
  • Enticing new and existing customers to be more active or to set up an online account with their brand.
  • Bridging the gap between our online and offline lifestyles meanwhile connecting multiple people across the US.

All of which fits in with their customer mission statement:

‘When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers – even if just for a few moments. Of course, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection.’

What Were The Resources?


The Bucks Budget

In 2013 Starbucks spent $11 million on digital advertising and a whopping $93 million on advertising as a whole.

Time, People, Skills

Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills mentioned in an interview back in 2013 that ‘For quite some time, Starbucks has offered an eGift program.’ Suggesting that the eGift program is something the brand has invested a substantial amount of time into over a period of years before the launch of Tweet-a-Coffee.

In fact since 2011, Starbucks began accepting mobile payments through an app they developed. The app would allow customers to connect Starbucks cards to the app and reload them via PayPal or credit card. Customers could then easily pay for their in-store purchase by holding their phone up to the cash register.

But now the idea of eGifting and online payments have developed even further, creating the beta programme for Tweet-a- Coffee that linked both the publics Twitter and credit card accounts would have required a team of tech specialists. Once the platform was set and glitches had been tried, tested and fixed, an in-house communication team who are social media savvy would have been enabled to help drive and promote the campaign on Twitter while also responding to customer tweets.

Tools And Technology

This campaign is all about the collaboration of the Twitter and Starbucks online customer accounts.

Business As Usual Activity

Starbucks are all about increasing interaction and engagement between friends, family, strangers and their brand. Tweet-a-Coffee enabled them to achieve the above in a creative and inventive way that has helped set them apart from other popular brands (see sale stats from 2013).


The Concept



The approach links back to the brands initial challenge which I touched upon earlier; how they encouraged their target audience participation.

Starbucks gave their audience a simple but strong motive to tweet, the idea of gifting a friend and receiving a little something for themselves in the process, the incentive that if you buy one, you get one free.

Style Of Approach

They built a community that allowed individuals to engage and they achieved this by prompting customer generated content.

Value For Customer

A $5 gift voucher for a friend and themselves for no extra cost!

Visibility For The Brand

Research firm Keyhole tracked all the instances in which someone used “@tweetacoffee” in conjunction with a friend’s Twitter handle and found that more than 27,000 fans used the program. Some 34% of users bought multiple gift cards and 32% of the purchases occurred on the first day.


Brand Credibility

The campaign feel holds a sense of community, making the brand feel warm, inviting and generous. The new technology that they have created also suggests that Starbucks is up and coming, ahead of other coffee brands.


Being a coffee company, you would expect nothing less than the friendly, warm tone Starbucks delivers.


Throughout the campaign Starbucks proved to be responsive and interactive with its audience, something that helped boost credibility and portray its inviting tone of voice.



Technology And How Starbucks Will Measure Their Success

 As these users continue to be customers, Starbucks now has a tie-in between the Twitter accounts,  credit cards,  mobile devices and their customer list (and they have it for 54,000 people gifters and recipients) which is something to be excited about!Even tech companies have struggled so far with creating a link between these different IDs for their customers, let alone consumer brands. This Starbucks campaign was about a lot more than just $180k in eGift sales. It was about customer understanding, identification and targeting that will help them for a very long time.


Few, So In Short, Was This Campaign Successful?

It’s clear to see that the ROI for this campaign alone wasn’t a huge success for Starbucks, with their total of $11million spent on digital media and a return of only $180, 000 from the Tweet-a-Coffee campaign, it seems that a few pockets have been left empty. However it hasn’t all been for nothing; the brand now has strong links with twitter, access to its online customer list plus access to their customer’s card details and mobile devices, a huge achievement that will provide them with knowledge they never had before. The campaign has also given Starbucks exposure online and enabled them to create a community and engagement centre for not only themselves but new and existing customers.

It’s not all ‘bean bitter’ after all!



Social Media Campaign Review

Spotify – #Thatsongwhen


The Campaign

Created by Ogilvy & Mather New York; Spotify’s new campaign focuses on the personal side of music, looking for the stories behind the songs customers of their service love. Using the hashtag #Thatsongwhen Spotify’s audience is being encouraged to share a song and the personal significance that that song holds to them. The campaign is a great use of storytelling that really engages the target market while giving the brand a perfect opportunity to find out some market research, what music really means to the everyday man.


Social Platforms

With the campaigns presence including a landing page as well as various social media sites Vines videos, Facebook and Twitter the campaign is easily accessible and with the public today sharing every aspect of their lives on social media, getting consumers to participate in sharing their stories online has been achievable. With Spotify turning the best stories into viral videos, there is also extra incentive for consumers to get involved.


Community Feel

When visiting all media pages you can feel an overwhelming sense of community and being part of that is nice. Even though stories are personal, their relatable allowing people to connect, much like what the brand stands for itself, allowing people to easily connect with the music and artists they love. Ogilvy’s New York president Adam Tucker stated ‘The realness of the campaign is key’. They wanted to tap into the truth about music and it was important to tap into real people and their feelings about songs that inspire them. The campaign has helped fuel passion and growth in the US that will subsequently roll out to the UK and Germany.


Not All Good News 

However it’s not all good news for Spotify, the campaign has also fuelled negativity towards the brand with both the public and musicians hijacking the hashtag on twitter to rip on the company’s notoriously low payment to artists.


On A Whole

I think the initial idea of the campaign is engaging for Spotify’s audience and builds a great honest relationship between the public and the brand. The use of storytelling creates a sense of community that has allowed the customers passion for music to grow, hopefully encouraging people to listen to more music and sign into a Spotify contract. With negativity still building it will be interesting to see how Spotify react. The problem now being that they need to prove to their customers that they give enough back to their artists. Perhaps the best public stories can win tickets to events and festivals that Spotify have purchased, showing that they are willing to give money back to the music industry. Spotify need to make it apparent to their target market that the more users they gain the more royalties they are able to pay back into the industry.

Related content:

What the future holds for social media in the next 3- 5 years?

In this post I aim to consider the impact of social media on our society. What will happen within the next few years and how both companies and individuals may deal with this fast evolving online world.

Companies And Consumers On Social Media

Social media dominates our lives in a big way, spending hours a day writing and reviewing blogs, editing personal profiles, private messaging, file sharing, streaming and checking in with our latest apps however no matter how much time we dedicate to our online life we will never be able to see everything that’s available to us. Companies are becoming more aware that thousands of their messages are getting lost in translation everyday due to an overflow of content and lack of consumer’s time. The world around us is going to become a breading ground for social media content and the more we are exposed to it the less interested we will become. In the next few years it’s going to take more than a post or 6 second viral ad to grab our attention and I believe if a company wants to be heard on social media it’s going to have to start paying big money to make itself visible. A detrimental proposition for smaller companies, as it’s likely they will get lost in all the white noise that’s already online, that will become even more dominated by the financially able.


The Double Edged Sword 

Most of the time companies feel as long as their on social media their reaching their target market however as already explained this is clearly not the case and it’s only going to become more of a struggle. Being on social media is a double edged sword even when you are reaching those you deem valuable to you; in the blink of an eye high customer engagement can promote pitfalls and be full of risks. With brands and businesses getting slated by the public’s endless bad reviews money and popularity is being lost. The consumers are in control at the moment and their opinions are trusted and heard above most companies. But what if businesses start to distance themselves from social media? Will the public still have the same opportunities to share their opinions and will they do so as much if companies make it harder for them? Businesses could start pulling back some control over content available to us, filtering out the bad and only showing us the information that will benefit them financially. The customer could loose some power and this could leave us feeling more vulnerable than ever.


They Have More Control Than We Think Already! Thing’s Are Only Likely To Get Worse

When it comes to social media we are all guilty of giving away huge amounts of information each day on our personal profiles, so much so that companies are going to start to know us better than we know ourselves. We are giving companies an invitation to manipulate and predict our actions more than ever and individuals are already taking advantage of that. Insurance companies are judging their prices on our online presents, the more reckless we are perceived the higher our insurance becomes and employers are judging whether or not we are representing ourselves in a way that is good enough for their company image, if they don’t like what they see we could be living of a green card. Considering the next generation is growing up more rebellious and reckless than ever, could the future consist of even more unemployed youths who are going to pay for their behaviour later in life? As time passes it is possible that brands and businesses could start looking to our online profiles for information more than they look at us as people.

The Overall Outcome      

Over the next 3-5 years I believe the scary reality is that social media will consume every aspect of our lives and we will never again be able to escape it. Businesses and services will use our online presents to create an in depth character profile of us, discovering character traits before we have time to do so yourself and those traits will more than likely be used against us. Larger businesses will almost defiantly pull back some power over consumers by using our online information and distancing their own online presents so we can’t portray them in a negative light. Meanwhile smaller companies will perish in the competitive dog eat dog world.


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Why use GooglePlus?

Summary: I’ll be highlighting what features make GooglePlus amazing and why your business need’s to be part of its community.

GooglePlus is not Facebook. It’s not Twitter either!

If you think GooglePlus is just another social network or identity service, you are in for a big surprise. What has been created is a phenomenal tool for human communication and more. The platform encourages you to build new relationships based on passion, interests, professions and careers. It offers a space to find information that’s relevant to you and share it with those who have the same interests, not just every individual on your friends list. Helping you build new networks with contacts the platform can bring your brand closer than ever to your market due to its integration with Gmail, YouTube, Google Analytics, Google Images, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Finance, Google Drive, GoogleDocs, Google Wallet and most importantly Google Search. In other words, GooglePlus is now the portal to the entire Google ecosystem.

So what is it that makes GooglePlus great and how will your business benefit?


Everything on GooglePlus is promoted by the biggest technology platform on the planet, Google! 

What happens on GooglePlus is going to be prioritized and indexed by Google. This is huge for companies and professionals, because the websites that appear on the first page of Google Search, especially in the first few positions, get around 36.4% of all clicks from users, according to a study by Optify. It is a great way to gain exposure with new customers and build a broader following.


GooglePlus Local Pages

Google’s local pages are another efficient way of making people aware that your business is out there.  It puts you on the map and helps users discover and share places they want to visit while allowing them to rate and review theirs and others experiences. It’s Google’s 5-point scoring system that gives detailed insight into businesses before people visit, and then Zagat that summaries users reviews. This is a great tool that will offer up customer insight, allowing you to adapt to your target markets wants and needs.

Ready to use Google+ Local?


Communities And Circles  

Communities and circles are a great way of managing people into different social and professional groups. Within these groups you can select and share specific content with the individuals who will benefit from it most. In Communities, you’ll find it easy to build new connections with people who are active on GooglePlus, and those who have similar interests as yourself. These people are more likely to connect and engage in the content you share.

Find out more about Communities and Circles!


Ripples and Influencers

GooglePlus Ripples is a visualization graph that lets you glance at the manner in which your content has been shared across the platform. Most people know ten of the biggest influencers in their industry, however what many don’t realize is that there are more people online who maybe aren’t as publicized but who still have a lot of pull within certain communities. GooglePlus Ripples is one tool that can help you find these individual influencers, sharing content with them could help you business reach out to a much larger circle of people.  

Tell me more about Ripples and Influencers!


Hangout And Hangouts On Air

GooglePlus Hangouts allow you to conduct and participate free live video conferencing with up to as many as 10 people. The benefits for a small business are obvious: you can reach out to customers, dealers, vendors and social media contacts at no cost. You can also participate in Hangouts initiated by others and communicate with thought leaders in your niche.

More about Hangouts!


GooglePlus +1’s 

+1 is Google’s answer to Facebook’s like button or Twitters hashtag. When people +1 your content it’s away of showing their approval and allows others to see what’s trending. It’s a great way of letting others do your work for you, with each +1 the distribution of your content will only broaden, reaching a wider target audience and increasing visibility for your business.

So what is GooglePlus +1?


Google Authorship

Google Authorship helps raise your authority as a writer on Google. If your company has one or more industry expert bloggers they can take advantage of this opportunity to boost their status and credibility online. Catalyst Search Marketing published a case study showing that adding authorship data and other types of rich snippets to a sample site increased search clicks by 150 percent during a one month period.

How will Authorship help me?


So What’s The Big Picture?

Do I really have to summaries why you should go out and get GooglePlus right this second?

  • The platform is designed to make every aspect of your life easier.
  • Every feature is designed to optimize your marketing strategy and take your business even further.
  • It means having all your resources in one place, not only just the Google tools but a large amount of your influencers and target market too.
  • It combines information, people and context.
  • Your business will be partnered with the biggest technology platform on the planet and will therefore show up on thousands of searches across the internet increasing visibility.
  • Once you have published your content you can let others do some of the work for you.
  • Most importantly it connects you with the world in an innovative, up and coming way, and everyone is intrigued by new and exciting experiences.


Get GooglePlus NOW!

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Ciuri Ciuri Social Media Campaign

Cure a day with a Ciuri Ciuri! 

Ciuri Ciuri is a small independent ice cream parlour based in Falmouth and located on the main high street. The company serve up a variety of delicious ice cream flavours, ice cream cakes and coffees. Popular with those familiar with them, Ciuri Ciuri have a fun and friendly tone of voice that is welcoming to its market.

Present already on social medias; Facebook, Twitter, Instargram, G+ and Trip Advisor, Ciuri Ciuri are great at reaching their followers.

Confident they are building a strong relationship with existing customers our aim is to reach out to the people outside of their followers by starting conversations on Twitter with those in the local area. Ciuri Ciuri would follow #Falmouth, #FalmouthUni, #Cornwall and anyone who checks in around the local area on FourSquare.  On Twitter we will get Ciuri Ciuri to start a conversation with people who tweet about their day, this could be negative or positive, either way we will aim to offer a select few a treat with a discount if they come into store.


Public Tweet

Today was just a good day J #goodday


Why not make it great with a double chocolate sundae. We will give you 10% off in store when you show this code CIURI1068

Public Tweet

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. #GoodDay


…Or the quality of your ice cream. Come in store and get 10% off your ice cream with this code CIURI2054

Public Tweet

Everyone in my crew is in a relationship or seeing someone and I’m still single! #FuckMyLife


Who needs a relationship when you’ve got ice cream? Come date our flavour of the week. Get 10% off in store with our discount code CIURI2016

Public Tweet

One can only hope that the clanking of the radiator means the heat will turn on soon. #Falmouth #Itscoldinhere


Come warm yourself up with one of our coffees. 10% discount code just for you..CIURI1057

This campaign will create awareness with more people through direct and responsive contact with the public. We believe the discount will give people the incentive to come into store and by doing so we will reward them. We believe this will create positive word of mouth and generate popularity while allowing Ciuri Ciuri to build strong relationships with locals, holiday makers and student. Although this may seem time consuming it’s cost effective and we feel with a company so social media savvy it wont be too much of a challenge.