In the near future, public relations will start to become constituted as a game, meaning that the public will be engaged by a business through the use of gamification.  Gamification is the concept of applying game thinking, or game tactics in a non-game context.  The business world has started to grasp these ideas already by engaging customers through games as simple as frequency rewards.  Frequency rewards is considered a game because most often the customer is asked to purchase a certain number of a product (seen as gaming levels) before they receive one of those products for free (reward).  This enables customers to work toward something; it is seen as a challenge.

Definition of Gamification: Video by Kevin Werbach

Gamification has been applied in other ways.  For example, ModCloth, a online vintage clothing store applied gamification to inspire people to submit their clothing ideas to the company.  The submissions were to be reviewed by ModCloth, and the finalists designs were reviewed by the public.  The consumers visiting ModCloth’s website could vote on these articles of clothing to help decide which would be sold by ModCloth.  The consumers were rewarded for voting by receiving and email if the clothing they chose was picked to go to production.  ModCloth gained its recognition from being shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites; its own public relations campaign.

ModCloth

In a Forbes article by Brian Burke titled “The Gamification of Business,” he states that gamification has become a trend among businesses for reasons such as customer engagement, employee performance, training and education, innovation management, personal development, sustainability, health and wellness, etc.  Nike+ was one of the examples he used in the article as being a successful gamification initiative. Burke also goes on to describe that while gamification may be less successful in the short-run, but it is predicted that “by 2015, 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.”

If a business can leverage the idea of gamification to their benefit, it could turn into a huge public relations strategy.  For example, if a company implements such a strategy, consumers will do most of the public relations work for them.  It can be seen as a pseudo-event; an event where the company has developed the element of spontaneous for the mere exposure of the company to the public.   If the gamificaiton is successful through the engagement of consumers, a public relations professional can spin this initiative into positive public relations for the organization.

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