The Fun Way to Engage—Gamification in Marketing

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What is Gamification?

Gamification is applying the mechanisms of game to other activities such as learning and businesses, thus transferring people’s inherent behavioral patterns.

Gamification in Marketing

When gamification moved into marketing perspective, game dynamics were combined with webpages, business services, online communities, products information and promotional events; then changed audiences’ buying behaviors and successfully induced them more willing to take the initiative to participate it.

Gamification is a way of thinking. In my opinion, marketers should consider what if the game could really mean something and convey valuable information. Marketers should also learn the designing, management, the application of psychology and how it generates the happiness and satisfaction.

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When gamifying marketing… I think it should be like… 

GOAL: Complete the missions. → Task consumers and qualify their behaviors. Match the levels of experience according to their contribution.

For example, customer spends £10 each or share the information once, they could obtain 100 experience; 1000 EXP for regular membership, 1000 EXP for senior, 100000 EXP for VIP.

ALLOW: Earn experience under conditions. → Rules of bonus experience.

For example, customers could get experience bonus as purchasing featured products or gain certain number of followers.

REWARD: Win the respect, medal and random rewards. → Experience corresponding membership level; participating events corresponding member achievements;
Level and achievement match discounts and privileges.

For example, special VIP birthday gifts. Customers could get cash back by expending EXP…

INTERACTION: Addressing friends. → Encourage the sharing and feedbacks.

For example, purchasing with friends would be eligible for a discount. Reaching a certain time of Sharing or reposting would be reward limited-edition products.

Why Gamification?

The main purposes of marketing gamification are  promoting the participation and loyalty of users. Gamifying encourages users stay on the site, patiently go through the content and fully understand the information, which in order to increase users’ viscosity, and enhance brand awareness.

After building such a system, gamification would become a more practical function rather than a simple virtual game; of course the pleasure and accomplishment it brought would be higher than other traditional participatory approaches significantly.

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What is more important to the enterprises is through gamifying to guide and engage users, they will obtain the opportunities to learn and track users’ trajectory data online. In this age of big data, it is essential to analyze customers’ behaviors. The users who are willing to spend time on the site are more likely existing consumers or brand fans, by understanding their behaviors, companies could try to probe what kind of design is more likely to attract them, then targeted to innovate new products, trimming, enriching or streamline the connotation of brand, so that to achieve customer retention and increase brand loyalty.

Reference:

Werbach, K., & Hunter, D. (2012). For the win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Wharton Digital Press.

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Making Your Blog A Powerful Marketing Tool

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Initially, blog was known as private diary, which owned by individuals to share thoughts and increase the public awareness. Since Blog have features of spreading (if didn’t set up as private) and based on the existing of big blog website such as WordPress and Tumblr, it gradually seeas an optional way for marketing. 

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Considering the 4P Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Place and Promotion, when a blog was given these four functions, it can be an effective channel of selling products or communicating with customers.

Selling the Products

What can be sold on blog? Everything. Especially in C2C e-commerce, the online shop owner can also be a blogger; a marketing blog completely transfers the traditional pattern of writer and reader into a new mode of seller and customer. For example, a dog lover usually writes about how he/she taking care of the dog and it is quite common to see some pet supplies recommended. If the purchasing links of products provided, why can’t a blog become a popular shop?

The searching engine popularized blogs as well. Facing to numerous products, lots of people choose to search online for other users’ experiences when they want to understand unfamiliar products. How lovely to have someone doing the legwork, test and posting their reflection for you, it is even more grateful if the information of purchasing offered directly.

Storytelling

Even a blog that doesn’t sell any specific products also can become a professional tabloid newspaper to share their stories of brand. 

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‘For Love & Lemons’, a young American brand of clothing which designed by Gillian Rose Kern and Laura Hall. Their fashion talent and keen business sense nurtured this trendy brand successfully. The reason why I prefer this brand is their appealing stories. Gillian and Laura are childhood friends, they keep posting blogs about the their stories of life, their inspiration, designing tidbits and events they are holding. I admire their warm friendship and great love and passion for life. The more I get into know them and their stories of designing, the more I love this brand.

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Introducing the products and telling the stories can be combined well on blog, it easily impresses customers the brand image and arouse their interests in products. Setting up a sincere blog make the company more human and approachable. Making blog as a marketing tool is in fact presenting the real selves to public, it should be enriched with stylish stories and wisdom marketing strategies to engage customers.

Did MOOC Subvert Traditional Higher Education?

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What is a MOOC?

MOOC is abbreviation of Massive Open Online Course. In general, it means the famous universities provide online videos and explanatory notes of their course to users around the whole world. It is quite different from the OpenCourseWare that simply uploading the video of a traditional real class, well MOOC is carefully established to fit online users to make them feel learning from the outstanding professor realistically.

Advantages of MOOC

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In the past few decades, we have seen the impact of technologies on education. The emergence of MOOC has been seen revolutionary, it is considered another way acquire educations.

  • FREE.
  • Encountering the top education of top universities.
  • No forcing! It is totally up to your preference of courses.
  • Satisfying your thirst for knowledge.
  • Anytime and anywhere to learn.
  • Share your learning experience with people around the world.
  • Surely making academic progress.

General Education or Elite Education?

The traditional higher education trained students’ thinking mode and inspire their ideas through face-to-face dialogues, which was lacked by online education. Audiences on MOOC are diverse; they have different nationalities, ages, education backgrounds and professions. However, courses on MOOC didn’t target users by distinct levels.

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Celebrated universities in the world provide most of MOOCs. Their lecturers are used to teach the smartest students, so that they may not comprehend the difficulties of the average students about academic problems and study motivation. Thus, how to promote personalized education and how to arrange the general or elite content of MOOC are still waiting for further consideration.

My Own Experience

Recently, I am keeping up with some MOOC courses. I was so excited about MOOC at the beginning because I had never experienced this new way of learning online. In the first study week, I finished watching the videos and leaving some comments to exchange my ideas with other users. However, I lost the freshness and motivation to keep going on soon afterwards. I realized MOOC was so flexible in time management; it was not that compulsory as well as real course on campus, so that it would be difficult for people who were lack of rational study plan and good self-discipline.

To MOOC or Not To MOOC?

A study of University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education found that only about half of a million MOOC users had ever viewed a lecture after registered, and only 4% of them accomplished the course. In my opinion, it is impossible to replace traditional education by MOOC. Online Education should be an optional way to engage students, helping to discover their most efficient learning method, at meanwhile, their range of knowledge could be expanded by getting involved in courses that they are interested in.

References:

Demystifying the MOOC

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/education/edlife/demystifying-the-mooc.html?_r=0

After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/11/us/after-setbacks-online-courses-are-rethought.html

How to Make Full Use of 404 Not Found Page — With Examples

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Oops! 404 not found.

Have you been surfing the Internet and being directed to a blank page named “404 not found” that worried you done something wrong to damage your computer?

Not afraid. It occurs frequently and is unavoidable.

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The 404 or not found is one of HTTP status codes that conveying an error message that the link requested by users is broken or not exist. The 404 respond code is the most common error of the web pages.

New perspective of 404 Not Found Page

The official websites are becoming companies’ main presentation to show their fancy products and brand image. By setting creative web pages, attracting customers and leaving a good impression are approachable; therefore, the way of appeal is determinative. Since the frequency of occurrence of 404 error is high, marketers should start to focus on this so as to re-engage the users and seize every chance branding the products efficiently.

Comparing some 404 Not Found pages with different styles, it is obvious to see companies’ different awareness of designing. As can be seen, I also rated those pages from my own view to judge if it is creative and useful.

1.  LinkedIn ★★

https://www.linkedin.com/404

The page was very simple with message and a logo-like 404 icon. Users can also find some links below the image, which will bring the users back to the sites they are interested in.

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2. Disney 

http://disney.co.uk/error-404

As a classic character of Disney, Donald Duck with an angry face showed on page, which was interesting to amuse users. A search box also offered in order to help and guide users.

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3. Starbucks 

http://www.starbucks.com/static/error/index.html

Starbucks’ page seemed more reassuring that presented the possible reasons of error and suggestions in details.

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4. Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/error

The well-known ‘Like’ button was replaced as an exactly appropriate image—an injured thumbs up.

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5. Coca-Cola 

http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/404notfound/

The image of bubbles and cans to perform number 404 was a creative way for advertising and also showed the feature of Coca-Cola’s product.

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6. LEGO ★★★

http://www.lego.com/404notfound

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7. Heinz ★★★

http://www.heinz.com/error.aspx

An empty bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup was displayed on error page,which was highly representative and propagandistic; the links are also advisable to consumers get rid of the error page.

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8. Tumblr 

https://www.tumblr.com/404notfound

It is creative that having diverse error pages if refreshing the page for several times, all the pictures showed were posted by Tumblr users and their account can also be found in this page.

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9. NASA ★★★★

https://www.nasa.gov/404notfound

The picture of galaxy was corresponding the characteristic of NASA and the message had a strong sense of astronomy.

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10. Dribbble 

https://dribbble.com/0000000000000

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11. Walk With You 

http://walkwithyou.me/404

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12. Text From Last Night (TFLN) 

http://textsfromlastnight.com/404

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13. Blizzard 

http://eu.blizzard.com/en-gb/404

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14. KitKat ★★★★

https://www.kitkat.com/404notfound

KitKat transferred the error into game, which was a good example of gamification, interactive and appealing to users.

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What should be included in 404 page?

  • Creative images and brilliant design
  • Distinctive language style
  • Features of representative products
  • Related links of original webpages
  • Interaction with users
  • Application of new media technologies

What are benefits of setting up a 404 not found page?

For users: When error page pops up and doesn’t make any sense, it might cause unpleasant mood for users. However, if the helping solutions provided, users would at least know what’s what and avoid unexpected confusion. All in all, people want better user experience.

For Marketers: Setting up a good 404 not found page showing the responsible approach as a regular website. In order to build an attractive 404 page, it requires beating brains out to make it unique and appealing. Comparing other advertising methods, it won’t cost as much in designing or technical supports, but a great effectiveness and potentials can be found if utilized sufficiently.

A Brief Insight into Personal Branding: Xi Jinping’s Personal Brand

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Many people worship the celebrities from film or sport, they admire their charming shape, beautiful look, outstanding performance or even their personalities. However, people never aware of how big powerful team behind a celebrity that making his every move planned, they embellishing the images to be more appeal to audiences, and that is what I know for PERSONAL BRANDING.

Thinking of a president who lead a country with 1.4 billion population, what about his personal brand? How can he make a success?

Recently, the pictures of China’s President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan became very popular among Chinese social networks. It was an album about their dresses that the colour of President Xi’s tie and his wife’s dress always showing coordination, which was friendly commented “showing off the love” by netizens.

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Xi Jinping was described as an innovator and a strongest leader since he came to power. He has a mantra of “Chinese Dream” to impress his great ambition to make a Chinese renaissance, which contains striving for individual riches and a campaign of restoring the nation to its rightful status in the world. He had to be seen confident, calm and assertive in all his movements, so that he needed personal branding to present his values.

Back to those pictures, President Xi and the First Lady’s appropriate and stylish dressing seems far from the usual stiff and conservative image that most of Chinese politicians have.

I think Xi is the coolest president in China because he is so different from other ex-presidents. In the past, we never image that our president could be so down to earth and “keep up with the times”. He keep refreshing people’s understanding about a president that he is closed to people and seems more approachable.

In this case, I have to admit the personal branding of Xi was a success, he achieved a high level of brand awareness and established public image as “a man of the people”. Although I can see that there is a PR team working for building his image, I would like to believe that Xi is really a responsible and trustworthy leader. He has built an emotionally appealing image, associated with integrity, fairness and a desire to fulfill the “Chinese Dream”. People have reasons to believe that this man could bring a better life and they even kindly call him “Uncle Xi”.

The 62-year-old leader of China has given a valuable example of personal branding. The most important purpose for his personal branding was obtaining support of people and it actually did win back many Chinese people to the Party. His image could influence government officials significantly and also become a popular teatime topic among Chinese people obviously.

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Not only products and services need branding, even a person need branding to present him as well. A personal brand will help identify yourself and focus on your personal goals; it makes audience clearly aware of your unique value and therefore creates more value for yourself.

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Reference:

Xi Jinping’s Power of One | TIME   http://time.com/3560466/xi-jinpings-power-of-one/