This post is number 500 for the BlackFin360.com/blog. Starting this blog was one of the best decisions I have made professionally. It provided me with a platform to share original thoughts, cover industry trends and serve as a repository for speaking and media coverage.
It has evolved significantly from the early beginnings in 2007. The blog was originally under the domain TheBlackFin.com. Now that domain is simply a redirect to BlackFin360.com. “BlackFin” was a nickname given to me by a co-worker at the time and the blog name came directly from my Xbox Gamertag “TheBlackFin“.
Here is a screenshot of the original look for the blog from 2007-2009. Why green for a blog named the “black” fin is something I still wonder about to this day.
Over the years the look and feel of the blog has changed but the core content focus on marketing, emerging technology, and gaming has remained to this day.
I officially moved the blog from theblackfin.com to blackfin360.com in 2009. By 2011 at least there were black/techie elements in the look and feel.
Now in 2018, the blog continues to serve as the primary entry point for speaking engagements, advisor opportunities, university lecturing, media coverage and over the past year it has shifted to more of a Vlog.
The look of the site will continue to evolve in 2018 and beyond.
Whether this is your first time here or you have been a subscriber since the beginning, I sincerely want to thank anyone who has stopped by and spent time with my content. I am incredibly grateful for this platform and I would highly recommend to anyone to find their industry voice and build their personal brand in addition to their professional.
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Looking forward to taking part in the upcoming webinar: Using AI to conquest new markets on February 28, 2018, at 12pm CST. Be sure to register today!
Today’s marketers have access to an incredible volume of consumer information, but most are simply not equipped to make sense of it all. With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, we can quickly sift through all this varied, scattered input and identify invaluable, consistent consumer trends and actionable insights, something that would nearly impossible to accomplish manually.
Savvy marketers can use these insights to conquest new markets by understanding the audience affinities for various segments within their new market. Join the CEO of AI software company Oculus360, John Dubois, and Tom Edwards, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer of Epsilon’s agency business, in a dynamic discussion about how brands are using innovative machine learning technology to identify, target, and succeed in new markets. Ian Beacraft, Vice President, Digital Strategy at Epsilon will host and moderate the discussion about:
- How to use AI/machine learning to identify opportunities for brand extension and expansion
- How audience affinity models can be applied to identify the products and brands most closely aligned with different customer segments
- A real-world example of these strategies in action
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I received a nice surprise as there was a special package waiting for me in my office. It was an early release version of the Xbox One X Project Scorpio edition.
The Xbox One X officially launches on the 7th of November. I captured the full unboxing, setup, and discuss what’s included and the features of the console including a look at the system after start-up.
A special thank you to Brent at Xbox and Chris from TripleClix for the great surprise.
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eSports is “athletics of the mind” and it’s popularity is skyrocketing past traditional sports leagues. It’s a way for younger millennials & gen Z to compete and to create and share experiences and it’s shifting entertainment and lifestyle behaviors dramatically.
This eBook provides insight into 5 use cases for brand marketers to build an eSports strategy beyond simple sponsorship. We also highlight Epsilon Agency’s proprietary data assets that map psychographic insights through machine learning tied to various segments of gamers to uncover key personality markers.
We preview how this information can highlight lifestyle and affinity connections with gaming audiences for brand marketers through an eSports brand index that allows for seamless connections between brands and gamers with eSports playing a key role in binding the two.
Download the eBook here.
Technology is now essential to our daily lives. Accessibility and empowerment has transformed how we connect and communicate. This has led to new forms of user interaction that will usher in the business models of the future.
2017 will be comprised of new types of conversational experiences to connect with consumers. It will see the continued evolution of artificial intelligence and connected systems as well as the rapid rise of third-party ecosystems supporting virtual, augmented and mixed reality.
The following trend deck outlines the evolution of marketing in 2017 through the consumer centric filters of connection, cognition and immersion and is now available for download.
- CONNECTION – Trends that reimagine how we connect, enable and empower consumers.
- Examples include: Simplified Conversational Experiences, Pervasive Voice-Based Interfaces, Search and Retrieval to 1:1 Prediction, Affective Datasets and eSports
- COGNITION – Trends where machine based intelligence will disrupt and redefine data assets and how we work.
- Examples include: Machine Learning as a Service, Centaur Intelligence, Blockchain & AI
- IMMERSION – Trends that align technology and presence to evoke emotion, entertain and power commerce.
- Examples include: Democratization of VR, VR Commerce, Social VR, (Re)Mixed Reality
- ZONE OF CONVERGENCE – Trends that align elements of connection, cognition and immersion that will redefine consumer engagement.
- Examples include: Cars as the next Mobile Platform, Holographic Computing, Ambient Computing.
How we consume and interact via digital channels is about to be absorbed and redefined. We believe that 2017 will begin the convergence of connection, cognition and immersion toward an ambient computing future built on new data types that will simplify complex tasks and predict need states vs reacting.
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Pokemon Go mania has hit the US. The near perfect storm of timing, relevance, and word-of-mouth has momentarily captured the media spotlight and Pokemon fans new and old.
I recently provided iMedia with 15 Vital Marketing Insights that marketers should consider when building high engagement digital to physical programs.
Community, Common Cause, Competition, Gamification, Word of Mouth, Game Mechanics, Scarcity, Nostalgia and Mixing Reality are all elements that contributed to the run away success of Pokemon Go.
There are many lessons to be learned by marketers. By aligning existing strengths of the brand with the passion of community and a compelling experience, it is possible to create a highly engaging consumer experience with similar attributes that make Pokemon Go a success.
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Two of my passions are gaming and marketing. Whenever I have the opportunity for the two to intersect I am overjoyed. Previously, I have written on the topic of advergaming (imedia) and brand integrations (IEG). This article will highlight case studies of advergaming as well as introduce edutainment case studies.
Gaming is big business. According to Gartner, the projected worldwide video game market size in 2014 will surpass $100 billion dollars. In 2014, 58% of Americans have played a video game and 68% of gamers are 18 or older. With the fragmentation and shifts in media consumption, gaming provides significant dwell times with a hyper connected audience. Brands that create authentic and relevant value that empowers gamers will “unlock” value beyond impressions.
Let’s start with a terminology refresher. An Advergame is an electronic game – often low-cost or free – designed to promote a brand or product.
ADVERGAMING – Advergaming is closely associated with above the line, through the line and below the line integration where the advertisements or brand integrations are either explicit and may be an integral part of the game or products are embedded seamlessly into the existing gameplay.
ABOVE THE LINE EXAMPLES
Burger King – Xbox 360 Licensed Games
Coca-Cola – Mini Me
Taco Bell – The Waiting Game
Kellogg’s – Coco Pops
Skittles – Darkened Skye
Key points to consider are ATL executions are normally executed with the brand primarily in creative control of the project. As a start up or independent developer, this is where there is an opportunity to license your product to be distributed through the brands channels. This type of execution would take a brand partner willing to make a significant investment to cover development, distribution, promotional and non-development fees.
THROUGH THE LINE – Through the line examples are more commonly tied to alternate realty games (ARGs). This is when consumers interact with links, websites and promotional material outside the game. I have written about ARG integrations such as the Hanso Foundation ARG tied to the LOST television show. Other examples are:
The Dark Knight ARG
HALO – ilovebees
BELOW THE LINE – Authenticity and relevance are the keys to successfully executing below the line integrations. For additional insight and behind the scenes access to how partnerships are actually executed I turned to the reigning king of below the line integrations, Chris Erb. Formerly of Electronic Arts, Legendary Pictures and co-founder of the gaming agency TripleClix. Chris and I have served on boards together and have spent time over the years discussing this topic.
Chris is the architect of some of the most successful and authentic below the line integrations over the past few years. His partnerships with Coca-cola and Frito-Lay redefined how brand integrations can not only provide access to new audiences, but also drive business results such as aligning traditional CPG products into new areas within the retail setting.
According to Chris, “A number of prominent brands have or want to get into the gaming space. The issue is that publishers and brands don’t always speak the same language. It is less about selling ads in games and more about seamlessly connecting the brand and the game in an authentic way.”
Chris’ statement also align with existing consumer behavior. When I recently conducted primary research on motivations tied to consumer pre-order behavior, two key elements were consistent. Gamers want exclusive content or early access. Everything else was of secondary consideration. The goal of a brand integration should be to empower the gamers.
EA – Coca Cola = FIFA
EA – Doritos = 3D
Rolls Royce – Forza
By empowering gamers and creating opportunities for brands to seamlessly integrate into the gaming experience, brands that choose to implement below the line programs in an authentic way have the opportunity to increase brand perception as well as reach a highly coveted audience.
EDUTAINMENT – Edutainment is any content that is designed to educate as well as entertain. This is an example of consumers playing an ordinary game and product promotions are embedded into the game. There has been a rise of educational content that is also meant to entertain. There is also an opportunity for brands looking to extend the reach of an altruistic cause through education and awareness through the lens of branded entertainment.
Here are examples of edutainment:
Telefonica – Sponsored initiative to boost youth literacy in Brazil
Limbs Alive – 3D game designed to aid recovering stroke victims
SMARTeacher – One of my favorite examples, this is an educational game that uses biofeedback to enhance the experience
Here is a short video outlining the Prodigy Experience
Consumers will continue to seek gaming experiences across devices. There is a significant opportunity to break through to a highly engaged audience. This goes beyond simply running display ads in games. The key is to enhance the experience of the consumers in a very authentic and contextual way. It is also important that the essence of the brand aligns with the potential gaming properties. The brands that can leverage publisher partnerships to truly collaborate on enhancing the experience will reap the rewards of empowering gamers.
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Follow Chris Erb @ChrisErb
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Since the day Destiny hints were first discovered in HALO 3: ODST years ago, then sprinkled throughout numerous Bungie presentations, to the first public leaks in late 2012 I was hooked. The concept of a persistent open-world shooter by the makers of Halo was a dream come true. Having played both the Alpha & Beta versions and on the eve of the official release I wanted to take a look at the marketing efforts leading up to the worldwide release.
Destiny easter egg hidden in Halo 3: ODST highlighting the “traveler”
Certain outlets are claiming there will be up to 10 million players day one and I will definitely be one. Every gamer I have talked to recently knows of the impending release. Over 4.5 million of us played the beta and there have been discussions about which of the 3 character classes they will align with, who has the best pre-order incents (Hint: It’s GameStop) and which gamemodes are going to occupy our time.
One of the key areas of growth in gamer numbers is the fact that Destiny is rated T for Teen vs. M for Mature. This opens up the market and for parents like myself who are hesitant to let their kids play M rated titles, Activision will get double the revenue from my household this time around.
When I fire up my Xbox One I will think back to my beta experience and prepare for what lies ahead across uncharted planets. This is an exciting moment in next gen gaming as not since TitanFall launched in March of this year has there been a true AAA shooter release that was developed specifically to push the next gen hardware.
Ready to take the experience from beta to full release
One of the key elements beyond word of mouth and the reputation of bungie has been the persistent presence of Destiny through the whopping $500 million in marketing spend that Activision had earmarked for the promotion of the game. This rivals the biggest of Hollywood blockbusters as game launches have taken on AAA treatment.
From the “Sharing” spot that launched around the time of the Titanfall launch
To the most recent live-action commercial shot by TRON: Legacy & Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski which has already garnered almost 6 million views at the time of this post.
The game is receiving a boost to attract mainstream and hard core fans alike with traditional and socially centric activations including a first of it’s kind collaboration with Google which allowed for Google Street view maps of the worlds in Destiny.
Destiny has also received a special collectors edition of Newsweek to celebrate the launch
Destiny is already trending on Twitter and tomorrow the hype will turn into action and I am predicting Destiny will break the previous sales records for a new franchise launch. And if any team can pull it off it’s Activision & their partner Step 3 PR.
The last Call of Duty Black hit $1 billion in one day sales and at the time was the largest entertainment launch in history. I fully expect Destiny to break new franchise records ($500 Million) and foresee a healthy return for Activision on their 10 year relationship with Bungie.
Tomorrow it will be time to #Becomelegend. You will find me roaming the Xbox One galaxy as TheBlackFin.
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With last weeks launch of the PS4 selling more than a million in the first 24 hours as well as the launch of the Xbox One this week we are being ushered into the next generation of consoles with a bang! Having pre-ordered an Xbox One months ago I am ready to make the transition.
Ready to carry over my gamerscore to the new platform!
One consistent element across both consoles is the integration of Twitch.TV into the experience. For the PS4 it is directly tied to the share button on the controller. What is Twitch.TV? Why does the average user spend 90 minutes on the site daily? And why as a brand would I care about extending my reach to this audience?
I was recently briefed by the Twitch.TV team and here is a brief overview before getting into how to leverage their community. Twitch.TV is a live video platform and community for gamers with more than 44 million unique viewers per month. Twitch.TV connects gamers globally by allowing them to broadcast, watch, and chat from everywhere they play.
In addition to 44 million unique viewers per month, the Twitch.TV community is highly engaged with the average user watching an hour and a half of live stream content per day. Twitch is available as a mobile app that supports both iOS & Android and as I mentioned above will be integrated into both of the next generation consoles.
For brands interested in publishing, Twitch has a partner program with over 4,000 members and is build on an ad revenue share model with top content producers such as Machinima, Electronic Arts, Mojang, Major League Gaming.
For brands interested in reaching this audience there are three primary ways to engage & activate the Twitch.TV community.
1) Publishing – The Twitch.TV platform is predicated on live streaming content and the option exists to create a branded Twitch channel. This option represents the largest barrier of entry as the best practices for a channel call for unique & relevant content in addition to a broadcast programming guide and would require resources and time to build an audience, create compelling content & invest in media to further drive discovery of the content. Note that this is a Live Streaming platform so content curation is not an option.
2) Advertising – Twitch offers multiple advertising opportunities in the form of traditional video (pre-roll) and display, event based advertising. custom event programming. This is the more traditional method of reaching the Twitch.TV community. When I spoke recently with the Twitch team there is a strong desire to create unique & compelling programs that can drive value for for brands beyond simply advertising.
3) Custom Programs – The Twitch.TV team is very motivated to partner with brands to create unique and compelling programs. This can come in the form of “never been done” types of executions that incorporate both online & offline elements.
With 44 million uniques and a 90 minute dwell time there is definite value to Twitch.TV as a media platform and the ability to create custom programs in partnership with Twitch.TV opens up unique possibilities to connect beyond traditional ad types. Be sure to keep an eye on the monthly uniques as I am projecting growth with the direct integration with the next gen consoles.
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The roll-out of Facebook Timeline for brands on leap day proved to be a showcase for brands that were a part of the private beta prior to the roll-out. One of the clear winners out of the gate was Red Bull. Not only has the brand done a great job of seeding milestone content since it’s founding, they launched an incredibly compelling scavenger hunt that spans the history of the company and integrates brand milestones in a seamless manner with the hunt.
By pinning the contest, Red Bull is highlighting the campaign for 7 days and ensures that any user that drops onto their timeline is met with an inviting opportunity to join the hunt. Terms and conditions are linked to an app that houses the rules of the contest.
Here is the app housing the terms & conditions. Note that canvas apps now have a width of 810 px.
Step 1 – The initial clue called for a user to go back to the 1st Red Bull ever sold. The next step was to identify the date on the bottom of the can for the next clue.
Step 2 – By applying an Instagram type filter and a clue to “look outside the box” the next date was revealed as part of the image frame.
Step 3 – Next, Red Bull pulled in a Spotify play-list image to unlock the next clue.
Step 4 – This clue took a moment as the border states this is a clue. Pull up the image and step back and “clear your mind” and the next date is revealed.
Step 5 – This clue took the longest for me to work through. Driven by a clue by Red Bull in the comments RE: CAPS, I took the first capped letters in the message to unveil the phrase “Find the Timecodes”. This referenced the 4 images below and the time in the YouTube video where they appear to reveal the next date.
Step 6 – This clues photo was tagged with “Anna Graham” and the comment clue was “a rag man” or anagram. Which is simply a puzzle to unscramble the words to form a new phrase. By taking the clues I was able to unlock the final clue.
Step 7 – The final step proved to be the most difficult of the 7 as it was based on clues using prime numbers combined with the final clue of 2=a & 3=x to decipher the final location of the Timeline Timewarp web-site along with the password to complete the scavenger hunt.
The answer to the final question was to take the letters that matched the prime numbers of the final clue. This revealed the secret URL that took you to the final stage.
Once you decipher the last riddle you are taken to a “secret” landing page for one final challenge ;)
Yes, I won a prize!!!
Here is the confirmation response from Red Bull’s media department.
The level of complexity associated with the hunt and the true integration into elements of timeline made the experience fun and engaging, but I question the duration of engagement for the average consumer to stay engaged throughout. I would love to see the level of fall-off at each given stage of the promotion.
You can tell some people really enjoyed the challenge
Regardless, it is the first example of a compelling brand promotion leveraging Timeline.
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The article is an in-depth review of innovative campaigns from Jeep, Doritos, Oakley, Hyundai & Coca-Cola as well as quotes & commentary from Chris Erb, VP Brand Marketing for EA Sports.
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Reaching mobile consumers is on the thoughts and minds of brand managers heading into 2012 and beyond. The challenge is to drive meaningful engagement across a highly fragmented landscape while providing a positive & relevant experience to the consumer.
Mobile gaming appears to be an ideal target for brand engagement as 70-80% of all mobile downloads are games with the average iPhone user spending 14.7 hours a month playing those games. Currently, 64.5 million people in the US played mobile casual games at least once a month. This will rise to 94.9 million in the US by 2014. Translation people are gaming via mobile.
The issue at this point in time is that the current landscape is highly scattered with over 72,000 games in the Apple App store from thousands of developers and in-app advertising leaving many brands frustrated with their mobile engagement rates.
One newly launched service is looking to change the game by promising higher user engagement rates combined with positive brand associations. P4RC, Inc. is a new service that connects consumer brands to mobile users with a platform that converts user engagement in their favorite gaming apps into P4RC points, which can be redeemed for real-world rewards.
The basic premise is that players play games they are already playing and earn gift cards from top retailers just for playing.
The key for P4RC brand programs is the ability for brands to reach across multiple games and reward behaviors that users are already engaged in.
P4RC’s brand programs include sponsoring their “Race to Win” segments, which call for users to play and earn P4RC points within a period of time to redeem brand rewards as well as offers directly from brands.
“By sponsoring our Race 2 Win competitions, brands can be inserted into the mobile gaming experience in a manner that is actually relevant to that experience. This makes the brand part of the fun rather than an unwanted intrusion, which is often the case with other forms of mobile advertising” said Jason Seldon, Founder & CEO of P4RC.
By integrating the achievement network completely within the game, the barrier of leaving the app for a mobile web experience is removed. The user is free to review current Race’s 2 win, redeem rewards and view their account all within the current app they are playing.
In the first week of launch, players have already redeemed their P4RC points for over $1,000 in rewards from brands such as Starbucks & Best Buy.
At launch, P4RC’s achievement network is currently tied to “Stop Those Fish“, which is currently featured by Apple as a New & Noteworthy app in the Apple App Store and announced a partnership with Eye Interactive to include the new P4RC rewards network in all Eye Interactive games.
P4RC is also forming key partnerships with mobile developers. “By adding the P4RC rewards network to their games, game developers benefit from a powerful marketing & customer retention engine that drives user engagement, resulting in an increase in game downloads and longer duration of game play.”
Services such as P4RC provide compelling incentives for brands and users alike by rewarding existing behaviors, socially enabling the experience and lowering the barrier of entry to participate across apps.
An Android friendly version of P4RC will be launching this Summer.
Thanks to Jason Seldon, Founder & CEO of P4RC for data included in this post.
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Outside of the recent flurry associated with Google+, the one term that has been top of mind throughout the digital space recently is gamification. Gamification is a term used to describe organizations using game mechanics to drive engagement in traditionally non-gaming products. There are examples of gamification everywhere in our daily lives and many brands are integrating game mechanics in unique and compelling ways all with the purpose of driving user engagement.
Below are 15 examples of Gamification and how brands are capitalizing on the trend.
Xbox Live | Achievements, Leaderboards | Microsoft struck a chord with traditional gamers when they first rolled out achievement points. Users can earn a certain amount of gamerscore by completing specific tasks or actions in game. This simple addition had a profound impact on the space as nothing to date had motivated behavior to play titles beyond ones taste for specific genres while also creating an aggregate & visible record of your gaming prowess. Brands took note of the trend and the loyalty that users developed in their pursuit of gamerscore & bragging rights. I attribute the current craze of achievement based gamification to the success of Xbox Live & achievement points.
Foursquare | Rewards, Badges | Location based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla & Facebook Places have redefined game mechanics in non-gaming products. Users and brands alike have taken notice and Foursquare stands out with 10 million users on a platform that was built around solid game mechanics. Users can claim mayorships, unlock badges, receive special offers & rewards such as discounts to specific retailers while also tracking against friends via a leaderboard.
Examples of Foursquare Badges
Example of Foursquare/NFL Super Bowl Rewards
Example of Foursquare/Pepsi Reward from SXSW 2011
Foursquare leaderboard sponsored by Pepsi
Gowalla | Virtual Goods, Badges, Rewards | Like Foursquare, Gowalla has had an impact on brands by incenting location based check-ins while incorporating virtual item reward programs that then translate into physical goods.
Example of Gowalla badges/pins
Example of Virtual Goods/Physical Goods
GetGlue | Badging, Rewards | The gamification of entertainment has been growing significantly over the past year. Similar to how individuals check into physical locations with services such as Foursquare & Gowalla, now it is possible to check into entertainment destinations such as your favorite TV Show, Movie, Music, Video Games, etc… With players such as GetGlue, Miso, Philo and Tunerfish all vying for your entertainment check-in, each platform offers different mechanics but each is built on the foundation of game mechanics such as badging & rewards through various brand partners.
Example of GetGlue Sticker tied to TRON
Example of a GetGlue Reward that offered 40% off of Mad Men on Blu-Ray or DVD
Linkedin |Progress Bar | Linkedin offers a small example of gamification by incenting users towards 100% profile completeness with a progress bar that is visible while on the edit profile page. By providing a visual representation of your profile completeness Linkedin hopes to trigger behavior that drives us towards completeness.
Example of Profile completeness
SalesForce | Leaderboard, Achievements, Leveling | Salesforce has taken gamification to another level with this addition to the popular CRM platform. With Engage, Salesforce users activities within the system are tied to various game mechanics and offers direct competition with other users within their organization. By incorporating this level of competitive visibility organizations can capitalize on surfacing different behaviors and hopefully drive additional engagement with their systems.
Example of SalesForce’s New Gamification Dashboard
Mint | Achievements, Progress Bar | As discussed on Mashable, Mint is offering a Financial Fitness Score that is based on core game mechanics associated with task completion, progression & achievements. By taking an ordinary exercise and creating a casual gaming experience, mint is creating an opportunity to drive new user acquisition in a creative way.
Example of Mint Gamification
Example of Mint Point Acquisition
CheckPoints | Virtual Currency, Rewards | CheckPoints incents users to engage in retail settings via compelling game mechanics. Users are incented to scan specific products in exchange for CheckPoints which can then be exchanged as a virtual currency for rewards such as gift cards. Brands can create compelling programs with CheckPoints to drive retail activation and product engagement all based on gamification of the shopping experience.
Example of CheckPoints Scan for Tyson Chicken
Example of CheckPoints Rewards
Shopkick | Virtual Currency, Rewards, Contests | Similar to CheckPoints, ShopKick also offers incentives and game mechanics for users to engage with specific products. By incenting users with specific offers prior to entering a retail location, ShopKick users can then interact with those products in store and earn points which translate to virtual currency. ShopKick also incorporates a hyper geo-targeted approach to driving engagement as shown below. By rewarding behavior by simply entering a participating retailer, ShopKick can influence behavior via a game mechanic.
Example Geo-Targeted Gamification associated with Target
Example of ShopKick Rewards
Hallmark | Facebook Credits, Virtual Goods, Gifting, Sharing | Facebook credits have become the default currency tied to Facebook’s ever popular social games. Beyond the social game mechanics brands are leveraging Facebook credits to incent users to interact with specific content. Hallmark incorporates many game mechanics into it’s Facebook application the Hallmark Social Calendar.
Example Hallmark Social Calendar and Facebook Credits
Example of Hallmark Social Calendar Gifting
Example of Incenting engagement via Points
Starbucks | Leveling, Rewards | Starbucks has incorporated game mechanics into it’s popular loyalty program. By incorporating multiple levels and associated rewards & perks per level with a progression tracker, users are incented to continually engage with the brand.
Example of MyStarbucks Rewards
Nike | Achievements, Badges, Challenges, Rewards | Nike has redefined running with Nike Plus. The ability to track, share, challenge and interact with like minded friends & runners across the world has been wildly successful. By incorporating game mechanics throughout the program Nike is able to create an engaging experience that transcends the real world activity.
Example of Nike Plus Goals & Challenges
Example of Nike Plus Progress bar & Leveling
Buffalo Wild Wings | Trivia, Challenges | Buffalo Wild Wings has been adept at carving out their place in the social ecosystem. By leveraging powerful platforms like Vitrue and partnering with Scvngr, they have created an engaging social persona that has served them well with over 5 million fans on Facebook. In terms of gamification they incorporate trivia regularly into their wall posts as well as incorporating online challenges tied to rewards.
Example of a Buffalo Wild Wings program that incorporates Scvngr
Microsoft | Achievements, Contests | Ribbon Hero is a creative game mechanic driven tutorial now in Microsoft Office. By completing specfic tasks and challenges you can then integrate Ribbon Hero with your Facebook account to compare how adept you are vs. your friends.
Example Ribbon Hero
American Airlines | Progression Bar | A simple game mechanic is used by American Airlines to visually represent your current elite status qualification.
Example of American Airlines mobile app
As you can see many brands are capitalizing on the trend of integrating game mechanics into their non-gaming product offerings to drive engagement. What are some other examples of gamification by other brands?
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I write a lot about social media, digital strategy & emerging technology. One of my favorite past times is console gaming via my Xbox 360.
With the recent release of Halo Reach and personally surpassing 100,000 gamerscore on Xbox Live, I wanted to write about how digital marketers can leverage the largest social network on TV to further enhance digital engagement.
With over 23 million users and an average of 4 million engaged daily Xbox Live is an incredible platform to execute digital strategies and tactics.
From branded avatar collections, product tie-in’s, promotions and sponsorships there are many opportunities for brands to leverage the sticky experience that Xbox Live provides.
This also goes beyond typical in-game advertising. Having a truly engaged, socially connected fanbase that also associates closely with brands is a key factor when evaluating the platform.
This is one of the only times I apply my personal insight into a platform. When I am on Xbox Live I pay attention to brand promotions here moreso than any other medium. The reason being is that upon start up of the console I am presented with compelling content blocks that I choose how I interact.
I have found that I enter most if not all of the branded sweepstakes and I pay attention to when new branded avatar items are presented. And with more traffic than ESPN.com this is an ideal way to drive brand engagement.
Being a fan of the platform and a daily user, You don’t get to 100,000 gamerscore by not engaging almost daily, I have experienced the benefits and opportunities first hand.
So the next time you are looking for an ideal channel beyond traditional media and digital outlets don’t forget about the largest social network on TV.
If you are a brand manager interested in leveraging Xbox Live please contact me as I have a long standing relationship with various Xbox Live teams.
From branded avatar collections, promotions, advertising etc…
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Of all of the projects I have been involved with over the past 3 years Electronic Arts O.G. Skate Reel initiative was by far one of my favorites. It was our first really large initiative with EA and it was very ambitious.
From the start there were a number of different variables that came into play. In-game video then sprayed to the web that enabled community members to rate each others creations across gaming platforms.
With a lot of teamwork between EA (Strategy & Content), our team and Blast Radius (Creative & UI) Skate Reel hit the web prior to the release of Skate.
As with all great things you knew a sequel was coming. Skate 2 hit stores on the 21st (Be sure to pick up your copy!!!!) but the new & improved Skate Reel for Skate 2 was pushed out early this morning.
This time around the UI has been tweaked, the transitions even smoother and I am once again blown away by the work of our team.
Here is the Skate 2 Team… Left to Right (w/ gamertags except for John Balod & MJ) … Deryl “Moonboy Dallas” Dorsett… John “I need a 360” Balod, Jon “BROOMdoom” Broom, Elijah “Prairie Racer” Hardin and me Tom “TheBlackFin” Edwards. Not pictured are Rich “RichMercer” Mercer and Mike “MJ” Johnson.
As for Skate Reel…. The site speaks for itself.
I have known Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb for a few years now. Larry is the Director of Programming for Xbox Live. He has become the Face of the Xbox 360 and his blog is the first stop for avid gamers looking for the latest info on upcoming titles, Xbox Live updates and of course Larry’s blog cast’s. Larry has held this position since 2004 and the growth that both the Xbox Live network and Larry’s blog has seen over the past few years is impressive to say the least.
When Larry was evaluating platforms he was looking for a scalable blogging platform that would provide him with a direct line of communication with the consumer and put a face to the Xbox brand. The explosive growth with Xbox Live has coincided with the traffic loads tied to Larry’s blog. He is now the de-facto reference for gamers looking for the latest information and the amount of traffic and comments that Larry receives is staggering for a single blog. No other gaming publisher or hardware manufacturer has the visibility or reach via a single employee that Microsoft and the Xbox Live Brand has with Larry.
One of the key ROI takeaways from Larry’s blog is that it is a powerful tool for optimizing SEO of user-generated content. According to eMarketer, annual spending on search advertising in the US is expected to decrease YOY until 2012 (when compared to 2007). The built-in SEO functionality of Larry’s platform helped grow visitors and members (17 million as of last week) by both direct and referred search. The other takeaway is the cost savings that are available to an organization or a brand by significantly decreasing the amount of spend on search advertising.