When I mention the term ‘gamification’, people frequently tend to look at me as if I just stepped out of a Warcraft LAN session, or just stare at me blankly waiting for some further explanation. The thing is, gamification has become entrenched in a number of digital platforms, even above-the-line platforms, but the average person simply isn’t aware that they are taking part in it. Technically, gamification is the technique of adding game-like elements to things unrelated to games themselves.
Anyone used Foursquare? Yip, that’s a gamification platform and one of the most popular ones at that. And they work. Platforms or applications that allow users to ‘check in’ at various locations with the objective of the user working towards earning badges or other forms of rewards increases business and productivity in a number of ways.
It’s amazing how many businesses are starting to implement elements of gamification into marketing techniques. When used internally, besides making for a fun work environment, gamification has also been seen to increase engagement and boost employee morale. Some ways companies have done this is by implementing challenges, reward systems, and progress bars to motivate employees and encourage their productivity.
Gamification works externally too and many brands have started building in gamification elements to their marketing activities. Fitness and exercise brands have started to set up reward tracking systems that encourage their users to exercise more and receive rewards for reaching specific fitness goals.
As I mentioned one of the most renowned gamification platforms is Foursquare. Who would have thought becoming the mayor of the local coffee shop would be such a hit? As a mobile-based social media platform, users can check in at various places as well as notify friends on other social media platforms of their exact location, down to what floor they are on. Perhaps slightly creepy and a little dangerous if you are the type who is likely to have a stalker, but the competition to gain mayor status is booming!
Brands are ranking things up a notch and besides just offering fairly meaningless rewards like badges, they are starting to reward loyal customers with discounts and vouchers for checking in. A nice link between online and offline. Foursquare’s popularity is catching on and Facebook recently acquired its own platform equivalent — Gowalla.
1. Samsung Nation: Samsung Nation is a gamified loyalty program featured on Samsung.com. This programme rewards community members who engage with content on Samsung’s main US website. It provides product and support information for its TVs, mobile phones, video & audios, computers and related products, various home appliance products, core components that make other products better, and of course, information about Samsung.
2. Ford Escape Routes: Ford Escape Routes is a new interactive reality series featuring a cast of six teams of two, participating in a unique road trip competition with real-world challenges.
Unlike other reality adventure shows, at-home viewers across the country can participate in real-time via EscapeRoutes.com, to help their favourite Escape Routes team win. Viewers impact the outcome of the show through playing and winning on their team’s behalf through the interactive challenges and games online. Team Detroit (TDI) and Rokkan came up with the innovative vision for the online experience, and turned to Badgeville to power its transmedia gamification program.
3. Wall Street Survivor: This game provides virtual online trading of the stock market. People manage US$100 000 with paper trading while competing for cash prizes using their stock market game and offering users a great way to learn about the stock market.
4. Top Chef Fan Favourite: The Top Chef Texas’ “Fan Favourite” game lets players select their favourite chef and join that chef’s team. Players earn points for themselves — and their favourite chef — by watching Top Chef Texas videos, reading blog posts, and participating in the tweet battle. Live voting by text, online or phone also helps earn points for players and their selected chef. Points help boost their cchef towards the US$10 000 Fan Favourite prize. Points are also used to stock up on virtual goods for virtual kitchens as well as towards entries in the grand prize giveaway — a Texas Foodie Tour. Each week includes new challenges to advance your favourite chef and earn more points for your own account.
5. Mplifyr: mplifyr is unique software platform that provides rewards and benefits to individuals, businesses, schools, charities and non-profit organizations using gamification. Individuals can earn points and credits by purchasing or interacting with businesses or they can also earn by doing positive acts.
Individuals are ranked according to the number of credits they earn from purchasing or doing positive acts. They can compete with others globally on the platform and everyone can see this on the main rankings page. They can gain status badges and even obtain a portion of the platforms ‘Pile O’ Cash’ every random rewards session.
Each time a business purchases reward points from mplifyr to give to their customers who purchase or interact with them, a proportion of that purchase is attributed to the Pile O’ Cash and businesses are ranked based on the amount they contribute to the Pile O’ Cash.
The top ranked businesses can obtain status levels that give them benefits and their ranking also gives them visibility outside of traditional marketing and helps to positively brand their business, as they support positive action from individuals by funding the Pile O’ Cash.
The success of gamification really comes down to its reliance and integration social media. By allowing users to connect, share and collaborate, it has opened tremendous opportunities for brand to get involved and be part of the experience.
Besides the fun elements, users love the idea that brands are ‘bringing it’ in terms of getting involved, playing alongside users and offering rewards. Bottom line – people love to feel that companies are listening to them and they love free stuff. It also gives them a reason to go back to certain places because they feel valued and significant within that particular community.
It can be said that gamification was an inevitable development based on the direction of society since the rise of social media. Social media changed the way people interact and how they have come to expect businesses to interact with them. By taking personalization to the max and by nature of the platform, gamification led to increased active engagement with customers and employees alike allowing them to prove the value they offer and reward those who remain loyal.
So gamification isn’t just for internet nerds or PlayStation geeks. It’s a real tool that businesses can use to gain and retain customers, reward loyalty and encourage engagement.
Have you considered including gamification elements to your digital strategy? Or what is the best use of gamification you’re seen so far? Let us know!
Author | Megan Bernstein
Megan has a love and passion for great brands and extraordinary advertising. She is a true Generation Y baby. Immersed in all forms of new age marketing finding it an invaluable tool. Social media strategist for DigitLab by day, blogger for under5foot and Memeburn by night. More