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Gamification for durable and long term engagement

Written by: Uri Roos July 11, 2014  

Who doesn’t like to play games? From a simple game of cards to a little more challenging game like Trivial Pursuit. Fact is that marketers can learn a lot from our love for games. Within every branch, companies are looking for ways to engage their followers and they spend a fair amount building a community on a social media platform. In this blog, we want to take it a little further; how can you influence the behavior of Brand Ambassadors with gaming mechanisms? And how do you continue to motivate them?

Brand Ambassadors are influential people who can build a figurative bridge between a brand and a potential new consumer. They are responsible for a large part of messages and conversations regarding a brand, product or service within social media.

Brand Ambassadors are greatly valuable for brands in the form of recommendations and they help make their favorite brands visible through publications in blogs and social media channels. The biggest challenge lies in the possibility to offer continuity and actual value to our most treasured fans. Adding gamification elements is a way to structurally work on Ambassador engagement. Our affinity to be challenged continuously by means of a fascinating game and interesting content, translates perfectly within long-term engagement.


In psychology, it’s a well-known fact that behavior can be influenced and motivated by means of rewards and status. Additionally, there is an important difference between games and gamification. In a game, the main goal is entertainment. In gamification, elements of games are being used as a tool to reach a certain business objective. If you want to structurally engage fans, you have to be able to offer more than just fun contest and/or games. The idea behind putting up a Brand Ambassador platform is to build long-term relations with true fans.

Creating a durable network of Brand Ambassadors will take more effort than setting up an individual campaign, but by using gamification elements you are putting the focus on durable and long-term engagement. You can think of rewarding active participants with points or badges which they can share with their network.

For example Nike has built an engaged and dedicated community based around the love for sports and exercise. Nike keeps their Ambassadors busy by challenges, like registering the amount of burnt calories or by motivating their Ambassadors to reach new goals. These milestones can then be shared with their networks within the Nike website or social media. This way of implementing gamification within a Brand Ambassadors program is a great way to increase engagement and celebrate loyalty.

But which gamification elements are well applicable within a Brand Ambassador platform? In the ‘Loyalty 3.0′ book, Rajat Paharia explains ten gamification mechanisms. We would like to highlight a few of them.


By visualizing data and making it manageable for a Brand Ambassador, it will motivate them. You can think of a leaderboard on which you can see your position in contrast to other users. In other words; let the games begin!


Using goals as a gamification mechanism is a very obvious one. Namely, this is the direct reason for the user to put time and effort into the activity. You can differentiate between short- and long-term goals.


A badge is a visualisation of a certain goal that has been reached. Everyone knows them. Paharia gives a few smart tips & tricks to go about applying them. People want to collect stuff! You can make sets of different badges. Make it possible for users to pick their favorite badge (so they can proudly show it to their friends!). Challenge them! (Make badges of which users don’t know how to get them, so they have no choice but to figure out how to get these special badges.)
Surprise them! (Make badges of which users don’t know they exist, so they will be positively surprised when they get them.)

Leveling Up

Levels are used to divide a long-term goal into ‘small wins’. It is actually an interim-reward for invested time and energy. Creating levels within your Brand Ambassador platform is a way to reward top fans. By applying a certain amount of exclusivity, you are making the platform even more attractive.


The competition element is also an indispensable gamification mechanism. Play against your colleagues, friends or people within a virtual world, at an individual level or in a team. The leaderboard is essential for this type of gamification.

There are three ways to successfully setting up a leaderboard.

  • Filter within time frames (best users today, last week or last month)
  • Different contexts (best scores within your friend list, department, country or gender)
  • Furthermore, it’s important to always show the name of the user on the leaderboard, so they can see where they are positioned in reference to the top-10.


Play with your friends or people within a virtual world and stimulate competition, collaboration, networking and sharing of knowledge. Peer pressure will do its work here. Think of Nike’s Men vs Women Challenge, in which men and women from all over the world were challenged to settle, once and for all, which gender was the best, the strongest and had the most willpower; men or women.

It’s the combination of different mechanisms that brings life and activity. Being social creatures, we want others (preferably friends, colleagues or acquaintances) to play against, to collaborate with, to show a certain amount of status. Why is gamification such a powerful marketing tool? Because it gives the possibility to combine the commercial interests of a brand with the interests of a consumer by using interesting and fun content.

The most important thing to remember is that your relationship with a Brand Ambassador is for the long-term, which lets loyalty grow. So be inspired and see how you can convert your fans into true Brand Ambassadors by means of gamification as a binding factor with all your campaigns.
Interested? Let us know!