Gamification in Public Relations: why games are the future of PR!

Virtuality and gaming is becoming a tool that is increasingly used by public relations professionals, especially since the rise of web 2.0 and interactivity is becoming increasingly common.

Gamification is almost a result of the increase in interactivity that companies now have to adopt thanks to the changes and developments within technologies and how we use it.

Terry flew describes, “the concept of gamification has been used to describe the use of game mechanics and Game design techniques in non-game contexts, such as education, corporate training and financial management” (Flew, 2012)

Public relations is one of the professions that is finally deciding to use gamification and video games as apart of their tactics to create more interactive campaigns for their clients.

Recently some successful PR campaigns that have used gamification to get their stories across have integrated games into their public relations campaigns.

An example of this is NASA who last year launched the Space Race Blastoff, a game where players learn about the history of the company while NASA gains valuable research about their target audience.

The aim of the game was to answer 10 questions about NASA and earn up to 100 points for each correct answer. You played against other users and if you were the first to answer, you get an extra 20 points.

The game was available on Facebook, and had fun graphics that engaged the audience. The game did the duel purpose of getting NASA’s history across to the publics while also obtaining useful research about target publics for the company.

Similarly other companies in the USA have made games to build new and strong communication channels with their publics. Often building upon the online trends in social media, pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim made a game similar to Farmville, where you could make a lab and research, send things to your friends and it was all for free. It offered a great communication channel for the company to communicate with their publics, and for their publics to have fun and build a positive relationship with the company.

There is no denying that gamification has been taking over the marketing sector for some time, but if public relations can keep managing to create games where their messages can be conveyed, while the publics can have fun and engage with the company, then gamification in public relations will be a massive trend in the coming years.

Gamification isn’t just being used to target key publics in public relations, it has recently been used by the Marriot Hotel to attract and educate future or new employees on the hospitality industry. The following video explains the game and how company to attract and educate their publics used it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULOwlkiRM18#t=15

 

The game allows you to create your own restaurant, buy equipment and ingredients and hire people, budget and train employees and serve guests.

Gamification is one of the leading trends in digital media today, and aside from educating staff, it should be used to engage with publics. In an increasingly interactive and engaged society, publics are no longer being entertained just by funny YouTube videos or quirky news stories, while those still work, they now need to have more integration with social media to be successful.

Statistically, Facebook is one of the biggest social media websites and has had games as a very successful aspect of their website for some time now. Farmville would be one of the most successful games along with candy crush to date.

In 2013, Facebook calculated that 53% of their users played the game; with over 69% playing the game being women and they had over 56 million people play daily.  (Burson-Marsteller, 2013)

That is an incredible amount of people playing the game, so we know that gamification has worked on social media, and in marketing it is now making its way into public relations, and with some practice and time, will be used widely in campaigns with success if they can engage the audience and educate their audience with the messages they are trying to convey.

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Bibliography

Bantick, M. (2012, March 28). Video game PR a dream or nightmare job? . Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/radioactive-it/53701-video-game-pr-a-dream-or-nightmare-job

Burson-Marsteller. (2013). Gamification. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.wpp.com/wpp/marketing/publicrelations/gamification/

Easton, R. (n.d.). The Gamification of PR workplace. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from Axicom: http://www.axicom.com/insights/gamification-pr-workplace

Flew, T. (2014). New Media . Melbourne : Oxford University Press.

Holtz, S. (2012, Feb 1). Gamification of PR messages could be a game changer. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from Holtz Communcations + Technology : http://holtz.com/blog/gamification/gamification-of-pr-messages-could-be-a-game-changer/3820/

Holtz, S. (2012, Feb 3). How three companies are using online gaming for PR. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from PR Daily : http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/How_three_companies_are_using_online_gaming_for_PR_10731.aspx#

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