Your customers hoard airline miles and covet their status-symbol black American Express. What was once called “consumer incentives” is now known as “gamification”—and here’s how to integrate it into your company and win consumers’ hearts and minds while you’re at it.
There’s a green card. Then there’s silver, gold, and platinum. And then there’s the Centurion—the blackAmerican Express card. Which do you want in your wallet?
A handful of luxury brands have for decades used promises of status to encourage customers to spend more through loyalty to their brands. Today, brands of all stripes are experimenting with the psychology of status and power in rewarding customers. A generation raised on video games is wired to love incentives—and that doesn’t just mean freebies.
ConsiderFoursquare, a company built entirely on a game-design model. Users earn badges—virtual reinforcing awards—for checking in at places they encounter when going about their daily life. As a bonus, they’re alerted to money-saving deals nearby. Eight million people have downloaded the Foursquare app, and use it to check in. It is as if the company has tapped into airlines’ frequent-flier rewards program possibilities—without itself offering a tangible reward.
The new rewards ecosystem is a marketer’s dream. But the first thing to understand is that it’s simply game mechanics at work