As the NCAA basketball tournament and March Madness is upon us. It got me thinking as to why this has become such a popular event. Sure some of it has to do with the great basketball you can watch. And some has to do with the fact that 64 (or 68 now I guess) fanbases get to watch their teams take a shot at the national championship. However, I think the biggest reason it’s so popular is that so many people fill out a bracket(whether for gambling purposes or just for fun).
Just the simple act of filling out a bracket gives you an excuse to care and therefore an excuse to watch. Otherwise why would you care to watch Wichita St. vs Virginia Commonwealth? You wouldn’t, except you want to make sure you get a better score than the loudmouth that sits next to you in the office or you don’t want to be embarrassed by your mom again in your family pool. This is a prime example of how gamification works and why it can be so powerful. Throw fantasy football into this discussion as well. The NFL has been popular for a long time, but it quickly became the most popular sport in the country with the popularization of fantasy football.
There are plenty other successful examples of gamification. The key to the strategy working is making sure your user base has that group of people that want to compete with. This is why the gamification in Foursquare and other similar services work so well in some groups, but not in others. Keep this in mind when looking for ways to build or expand your brand. Gamification can work, but don’t over apply it and make sure that your particular situation can benefit from it.