The past 2 years have seen consumers trying to survive the stress and anxiety associated with the pandemic and other local and global crises which include political unrest as well as environmental threats. Many continue to suffer with ‘survivor’s guilt’ for having a job to return to, having their health and loved ones when it is a constant reminder that this is not the reality for many but could play and entertainment be the solution?
The result of this accumulated stress and anxiety is the need for joy and happiness, for experiences everywhere, even within daily routines. Consumers want to play and are looking for fun and excitement in all areas of their lives whilst having a renewed appreciation of the need to find a sense of joy in every day things and an importance of being present in the moment.
Research suggests that businesses can take advantage of this new need for “Gamification” by adapting the offer and service that they provide to consumers to include a postive, playful or joyful aspect. Businesses would also serve customers well in recognising the importance of sharing uplifting and positive news and events with consumers to balance the distress of uncertainty and past disruption. Gamification can be embraced through either digital entertainment or in person/ real life experiences. Opportunities to engage and support consumers with opportunities for fun and playfulness can be a valuable service or product offering for businesses to help build meaningful relationships with their consumers. Some argue that the concept of Gamification will grow with the idea of playfulness being at the centre of how we relax, work, learn and look after ourselves physically and mentally.
The need to escape daily worries, stresses and boredom will continue as will the desire to have fun and experiment within many of the routines that the the pandemic and resultant lockdowns disrupted like food, cooking and fashion.
So how could businesses think about Gamification, their offer/service and the consumer?
- Anticipating consumers’ heightened desire for fun and novelty, businesses could provide entertaining experiences, foods, events or activities
- Highlight positivity in their communication to uplift consumers’moods following this period of uncertainty and disruption
- Make consumer interactions more playful by adding gamified elements to spaces, products and services giving the consumer the ability to play and relax
- Examples of brands embracing this concept include Hendrick’s Gin who have added rooftop greenery, featuring roses and cucumber, to bus stops in the UK, emitting smells that bring its drinks to life. Another example is China based Alibaba’s Taobao Maker Festival which has created a ‘phygital’ treasure hunt challenge, a large scale scavenger hunt, where visitors can unlock tasks on the event page while browsing the different maker booths displaying new and innovative products
The world has changed, the consumer has changed and it is an exciting time for business to change their thinking, and what a better way to do it than with positivity and playfulness.