The Connection Between the Brain and Gamification

Marketers always look for more efficient ways of building loyalty. To do so they must understand the logic of what

There are many fascinating insights about the brain. In concerns to the make up of the brain, you may have heard the terms, “right brain” and “left brain.” To clarify the right brain hosts the triggers to emotions, and imagination, while the left side of brain, relates more to logic and rationality.

Marketers always look for more efficient ways of building loyalty. To do so they must understand the logic of what is able to stimulate pleasurable triggers in the mind. So understanding what it is that develops better customer loyalty; for example, ‘why we keep going to the same places over and over again,’ i.e. the same restaurants, coffee shops, or stores.

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When marketers learn how to implement the proper gamification to their adverting tactics it can create positive customer experiences, and help customers to feel positive on many levels. Some people enjoy competition, while others enjoy reward-winning challenges.

When a company provides rewards for a large amount of active users, they also create strong mental anchors; anchors of positive feelings that is located in the “right brain”. More often then not, people purchase things while not consciously thinking about it. A continuation of anchoring good feeling leads to better customer loyalty and trust.

Think different – think “right brain” first.

Dan Ariely is an Israeli American professor of psychology and behavioral economics once noted that individuals, are not rational but are irrational, and the way individuals take decisions are based on feelings. A few years ago, Ariely demonstrated how it works. He conducted a study at Harvard University, and asked his participants to play and build characters from Lego’s Bionicles series. Ariely paid his participants for each character they built. One group’s creations were stored under the table, to be destroyed at the end of the experiment. The other group’s Bionicles were destroyed as soon as they had been built.

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“This was an endless cycle of them building, and we destroying them in front of their eyes,” Ariely says.

The Results: The first group made 57% more Bionicles figurines on average.

The insight: Even though there wasn’t much at stake, and even though the first group knew their work would later be destroyed at the end of the experiment, just seeing the results of their efforts in the short run was enough to dramatically improve their overall performance.

What Can Marketers Learn From This Experiment?

Once again, we see that people like to play games, but when people invest their time, and effort into a specific game, it’s allows them to share that piece of activity with others. A good example of this is scoring. Both Facebook and Twitter have learned to leverage scoring.

On Facebook people can see the amount of friends, and likes they accomplish. On Twitter it’s all about your followers. It’s very important to present scoring in a prominent place and to present it even after people stop playing because its something they are likely to go back to and see their results.

Once they see the results they feel good about it, they can measure their efforts, and are rewarded psychologically. Each and every time they see the scoring this good feeling is anchored deep into their “right brain” and that helps to create loyalty and trust.

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