Remember when awful customer service was commonplace in some businesses? There wasn't any stress about what customers would say online, because there was no online!
Businesses could get by with doing the bare minimum to get customers off their back. They never needed to reach out or respond nicely to a negative review because information couldn't be spread so quickly and easily as it can now.
But now, the upper hand has completely changed, and you and your company find yourself having to fight to gain your customers’ loyalty. Through the use of review websites like Yelp and the increasing power of word of mouth, the customer has become extremely empowered. To retain them, you have to differentiate your brand from your competitors' in a favorable way.
Why customer loyalty is so important
An increase in customer retention is the result of an increase in customer loyalty. Increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profitability by 25% to 95%.
How to increase customer loyalty
Whereas many companies follow the typical, monotonous methods, we have an innovative solution for improving your customer loyalty: allow customers to play your brand. By enabling customers to play your brand, you’ll differentiate yourself from your competition and see an increase in customer loyalty and profits.
But, first thing’s first.
What does it mean to play a brand?
Playing a brand means creating a game that consumers can play, that is both fun and accurate to your brand’s personality, mission, and values. The game should be unique to your brand and display your products, services, and overall image.
So, how exactly does converting your brand into a game increase customer loyalty and retention? Well, it comes down to the two main contributors to customer loyalty: likability (86%) and trust (83%). Games can increase both of those factors in a more enjoyable and effective way than typical marketing efforts.
Likability was ranked as the most critical factor when it came to customer loyalty. That makes a lot of sense, because the more we like someone or something, the more we want to be around it. We’ll defend the things we like against people that disagree, and we’ll introduce stuff we like to people we're close to so that they can enjoy it too.
What is it about games that make a brand more likable?
Well, let’s start with the obvious reason. Games are fun. Like, really fun. Fun enough to make 823 million people download Candy Crush.
Now, you may be saying, “Oh, so what? That’s just a bunch of kids on the iPads they got for Christmas.” But if you think that, you’re quite wrong. 46% of Candy Crush players are part of Generation Z.
What this means is that people of all ages realize the fantastic benefits of games! And since 77% of U.S. adults own a mobile phone, mobile games are an easy way for just about anyone to escape from their everyday reality. They can be taken into another world, even if for a brief time, and genuinely enjoy themselves.
In addition to being fun, the other factor that’s crucial in creating likability is being human. Being human, when it comes to marketing, is all about giving your brand a unique personality and purpose, and expressing those aspects in your content.
Games are incredibly powerful in increasing brand awareness. Custom art, music, and the nature of the game will effectively communicate your brand’s personality, mission, and values to the player.
By providing a fun and human experience to the customer, your brand’s likability will increase.
The second most important factor in customer loyalty is trust. Trust with a brand can be thought of the same way that you think of trust with people in your life.
You’ve had plenty of people pass through your life that are very likable. They tell you the things you want to hear and show you a good time. But at the end of the day, the people that you choose to keep in your life and remain loyal to, are the ones that you can also trust.
Why you need customers to trust your brand
Trust is hard to gain and even harder to maintain. 42% of Americans will stop shopping with a brand after just two bad experiences.
Retaining trust is more than just putting on a show and providing entertainment to the consumer. Gaining their confidence means you have to show them your mission and values, and get them to believe in your cause.
A great way to build trust is to be forthcoming about your brand's intentions. Educating your customers about your personality, mission, and values is a great strategy.
Games can creatively and effectively communicate the mission your brand is set out on. For example, your brand’s mission can be the mission in the game! Show your customer that you’re not just a gas company; you want to fuel people’s adventures and ensure no one is ever stranded on the road.
Educating your customers about your intentions while captivating them with your game is a great marketing strategy. You’ll find that including the customer in your mission creates a connection between them and your brand, and they're more likely to, then, trust in your purpose.
Elicit word of mouth
The second way that you build trust through the use of a game is that the game boosts the likelihood of word of mouth. Whereas consumers ranked advertising professionals as the third least-trusted profession, 90% of people believe brand recommendations from friends. So the best way to market your brand is by getting customers to promote you!
An easy way you can encourage this type of behavior is by allowing customers to share your game on social media. Whether they share your game by posting their high score or challenging their friends to a duel, your customers are introducing their friends to your brand.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, this introduction shows the recipient that their friend trusts your brand and that they should, too. It’s more subtle than the customer directly recommending it, but it still helps.
But, they’ll probably recommend you directly, as well. Who wouldn’t love to support a brand that does so much for its customers?! Not only providing product and service, but also a fun, educational experience!
Create an opportunity for customers to play your brand. You’ll find that they’ll become more loyal, and bring others along with them! Those benefits are invaluable in a world of empowered customers.