Levelling Up: How Gamification and User-Generated Content Drive Success in Marketing

Gamified marketing has become a powerful tool for brands to engage with their customers and build lasting connections. One key element that has revolutionized gamified marketing is user-generated content (UGC). UGC refers to any form of content created by consumers, ranging from reviews and testimonials to images and videos. While UGC can enhance gamified marketing experiences, there are potential challenges and risks that brands must be aware of and mitigate to ensure a successful campaign. In this article, we will explore these challenges and provide actionable strategies to help brands navigate them effectively. 

Maintaining Quality and Relevance 

One challenge associated with UGC in gamified marketing is maintaining the quality and relevance of user-generated content. As brands encourage consumers to contribute content, there is a risk of receiving submissions that may not align with the campaign’s objectives or meet the desired standards. To mitigate this challenge, brands can establish clear guidelines and provide examples to guide users in creating content that is both high quality and relevant. Implementing a moderation system or leveraging user voting can help filter out inappropriate or irrelevant content. 

Real-Life Example: Starbucks’ White Cup Contest 

Starbucks launched the “White Cup Contest,” inviting customers to decorate their iconic white cups and share their designs on social media. To maintain quality and relevance, Starbucks encouraged participants to use the official contest hashtag and provided examples of creative cup designs. By doing so, Starbucks ensured the UGC aligned with its brand image and campaign objectives. 

Another significant challenge when using UGC in gamified marketing is the potential for legal and copyright issues. Brands must ensure that the content shared by users does not infringe upon any copyrights, trademarks, or intellectual property rights. To avoid this risk, brands should include clear guidelines in their terms and conditions, requesting that users only share original content or get proper permissions when using third-party materials. Implementing a thorough moderation process and monitoring the content can help identify and address any potential legal issues. 

Real-life marketing example: GoPro’s Photo of the Day 

GoPro encourages its users to submit their best action shots for a chance to be featured as the “Photo of the Day” on their website and social media channels. To mitigate legal issues, GoPro requires users to confirm that the submitted content is their original work and grants the company permission to use it. By including this requirement in the submission process, GoPro protects itself from potential copyright claims. 

Negative or Inappropriate Content 

One risk associated with UGC is the possibility of receiving negative or inappropriate content that could harm the brand’s reputation. While brands cannot control everything users create, they can establish moderation processes to filter out offensive or damaging content. Implementing a combination of automated content filtering tools and manual moderation by an expert can help ensure that only suitable content is displayed or shared as part of the gamified marketing campaign. 

Real-Life Example: Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl. 

Doritos launched the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, inviting consumers to create and submit their own Doritos commercials to have their ads aired during the Super Bowl. To prevent the risk of receiving inappropriate content, Doritos implemented a robust moderation process, including automated filtering and a team of experts to review and approve the submissions. This ensured that only suitable and brand-aligned content made it to the final stages of the competition. 

Lack of User Participation 

Encouraging user participation is essential for the success of gamified marketing campaigns. However, a potential challenge that brands may face is a lack of user-generated content submissions. To overcome this challenge, brands can incentivize users to contribute by offering rewards, discounts, or recognition. Providing clear instructions, showcasing examples, and actively promoting the campaign across various channels can also help drive user participation. 

Real-Life Example: Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” 

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign encouraged consumers to find Coke bottles with their names on them and share pictures of themselves with the personalized bottles on social media. To ensure active participation, Coca-Cola offered a personalized experience by including a wide variety of names and also incorporated a gamified element by allowing consumers to customize virtual bottles online. The campaign’s success relied heavily on user participation, and by incentivizing users through personalization and recognition, Coca-Cola achieved remarkable results. 

User-generated content has transformed gamified marketing, providing brands with unique opportunities to engage with their target audience. However, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the potential challenges and risks associated with UGC. By maintaining content quality, ensuring legal compliance, implementing moderation processes, and encouraging user participation, brands can mitigate these challenges effectively. As UGC continues to play a vital role in gamified marketing, brands must stay proactive, adapt to emerging trends, and build trust with their audience to create successful and engaging campaigns. By understanding and navigating these challenges, brands can harness the power of user-generated content in gamified marketing to drive customer engagement, foster brand loyalty, and ultimately achieve their marketing objectives.

Berk Elci
Berk Elci

QA Analyst / Game Tester

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