Dallas Innovates: PUG Interactive Brings a Game-Changing Play in Brand Engagement
from Dallas Innovates
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With pro-grade video game techniques, the Canadian maverick is ready to redefine the loyalty landscape with every engaging interaction of its Picnic platform. “We’re disrupting loyalty. What better place to do it than where loyalty was created?” says Steve Bocska, founder and CEO of PUG Interactive, of the company’s expansion to Dallas-Fort Worth.
For brands struggling to build meaningful connections with customers, Picnic’s relationship marketing model could make a compelling case. According to Bocska, Picnic has outperformed typical loyalty platforms across key metrics in internal benchmarking—nearly doubling social media conversion and tripling repeat participation. And its onboarding and “addiction” rates are nearly quadruple typical performance.
“We’ve created a new combination between business outcomes and loyalty and the game loops that already exist in video game design,” he said. “There is a more cost-effective way to get better results.”
He calls the Picnic platform “simply better loyalty.” The tagline underlines the quest to disrupt what he’s called a “cookie-cutter,” “no fun” loyalty landscape. Bocska wants to power up brand engagement to make it as habit-forming as playing Candy Crush, Pokémon Go, or other addictive role-playing games.
Real engagement requires “true gameplay depth, not superficial bribing,” he says. PUG leverages gameplay psychology for loyalty beyond transactions. Gimmicks don’t create “moments that matter”—and they’re not much fun, either, the founder says.
PUG’s pioneering platform has caught industry attention, establishing the company as leaders in gamified loyalty and engagement, winning early awards like WBT World’s Best Technology, WED Western Innovation, and C100 Top Technologies. Today, the company has nearly twenty such accolades, including Canadian Innovator 2020 and the Muse Creative Platinum Award 2022.
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