Google’s artistic lessons in gamification marketing


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Gamification is all the rage in developing customer engagement these days, as we showcased in “Game On!” and “Keeping Score,” and even in such other areas as employee acquisition. Marriott recently introduced a “My Marriott” game in which prospective employees learn about the hospitality business through some serious gameplay.

The keys to brand gamification are:

  • Brand relevance. Avoid games for the sake of games.
  • Fun. Well, of course.
  • Innovation. Copycat games can be played at the source that was copied.
  • Player achievement. Game triumphs should be able to be seen and shared with others, often in the form of leader boards.
  • Brand benefit. Savvy gamification marketers set goals resulting from customer gameplay. In the case of Marriott, for example, the brand benefit is more efficient employee recruitment.

I see all those elements in Google’s logo treatment today. Google is known for its playful, creative modifications of the logo that appears on its search home page, very often celebrating anniversaries. Les Paul, he of guitar fame, is 96 today, June 9, and Google honors him with a playable logo. Mouse over the strings on this guitar-fashioned logo, and play notes.

Here you see the classic elements of gamification in play:

  • Brand relevance. Playful logos are brand-central to Google.
  • Fun. I play guitar about as skillfully as I fly commercial airliners, but I was captivated with this bit of guitar un-heroics.
  • Innovation. Playing some Les Paul licks isn’t a game, precisely, and that’s part of the attraction. No pun intended, it’s playful.
  • Player achievement. By clicking on a black button at the bottom right of the logo, you can record and save your composition (or, in my musically inept case, my fumbling about) to a special web link. Share the link with friends, and they can hear the recording while seeing the Les Paul guitar strings being strummed.
  • Brand benefit. Where do your friends hear the recording and see the strings being strummed? On the Google bread-and-butter search home page, of course. It’s an innovative effort to retain traffic from current users and inspire traffic from others.

And that’s the name of that tune.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Brohaugh
As managing editor, Bill Brohaugh is responsible for the day-to-day management and editorial for the COLLOQUY magazine and, the most comprehensive loyalty marketing web site in the world. In addition to writing many of the feature articles, Bill develops the editorial calendar, hires and manages outside writers and researchers and oversees print and online production. He also contributes to COLLOQUY's weekly email Market Alert and the COLLOQUYTalk series of white papers.


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