Let me start by defining Gamification: Gamification is changing something that already exists by integrating game design elements and principles to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty.
Why Gamification? It is a proven and powerful strategy for engaging, influencing and motivating diverse groups of people.
Let me explain with an example, Starbucks: The world’s biggest coffee chain is using gamification as a concept to provide a fun tool to get people to visit their stores and buy more products. Starbucks reward their users with virtual points and badges for visiting their retail outlets. When they complete quests, for example “visit five different Starbucks,” they are rewarded with points. The points have no real world value, and the badges don’t have any real-world payoff. (Source: www.bunchball.com)
Gamification has the power to enhance customer interaction, build loyalty and incentivize employees and partners – a fact that the business community has just begun to realize.
Gamification as a concept has the potential to solve a variety of obstacles in areas other than the traditional business environment, such as Public Policy and Government, Education & Training and Health & Wellness.
Gamification is applying game mechanics into non-game activities and processes to prompt specific behaviors.
In a business context, gamification can be used to drive participation and engagement by their target audience. This can be achieved by integrating game mechanics and dynamics into: a website, a business service, the online community, the content portal, the marketing campaign or even the internal business processes.
A well designed, dynamic and sustained gamification experience can be put to use in accomplishing a variety of business goals.
Gamification uses key concepts from related areas which include – game design, behavioral economics, community management and loyalty programs to influence behavior.
Using game mechanics individually or together, a highly motivational user experience can be created around the website functionality and content that is already in place.
Adding game mechanics to a website or application lets you create more compelling user experiences within the existing activities, which in-turn create addictive experiences that model the target behavior to take specific actions and to return more frequently.
To gamify an activity one uses game mechanics. Game mechanics are the basic actions, processes and control mechanisms used to create a compelling, engaging user experience.
Using game mechanics make the activity challenging, fun, satisfying, or whatever the developer desires. Game dynamics are the compelling desires and motivations of these experiences.
Game Dynamics Satisfy Desires: By applying an appropriate set of game mechanics with your site, app, or community, one can create an experience that drives behavior by satisfying one or more of the following human desires:
Using gamification to engage and make people return frequently builds lasting relationships.
When you get people participate and engage, they learn about your business, your products and your services.
Your brand then makes it to the top of their minds. They will then spread the word around and introduce your business to friends, family and peers. They will become your customers and they will remain your customers.
Repeat purchasers act like a billboard for your brand. Gamification can drive participation and engagement of every kind, including:
Another way to drive users to participate continuously is by using statistics. Communicate the user’s standings, and reward their accomplishments.
Once the initial excitement wears off, each episode creates a desire to make return visits in order to better their performances and reach new goals.
Two people play a game every day; they tend to lose interest pretty soon. By capturing and displaying statistics — the experience becomes more interesting. Using statistics this way create another level to the game, motivating people to play more.
Gamification can be used to influence and motivate the behavior of people – any people; customers, employees, partners, students, fans, constituents, patients, and so on.
The audience for gamification is virtually anyone you want to engage repeatedly in order to elicit a particular behavior.
Wherever there are people, there are people to be motivated. Gamification can be applied across a broad spectrum of situations where individuals need to be motivated or incentivized to pursue specific actions or activities.
A key goal of business is to attract and engage a group of people with a common passion or interest and then “activate” them to purchase.
Through gamification, organizations can take control of their brand experience by engaging users, encouraging them to join a community, drive active participation, share with friends outside the community and even recruited friends.
Gamification enables you to turn customers into fans, and fans into evangelists. Source for the examples below is www.bunchball.com
A leading computer manufacturer recently launched a Facebook campaign to build a community of tech-focused college students, with the goal of promoting their educational computing site and selling more student laptops.
To drive growth, they created a gamified Facebook application that offered students a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and a free PC.
To win, students had to earn points for doing things like registering for the contest, inviting a friend to join, creating a team, registering on the company’s educational computing site, and posting contest messages and awards on their Facebook wall.
Six weeks after the launch of the gamified application, they had increased program participation by 1,000%. Other success metrics from the campaign:
One of the largest entertainment companies in the world wanted a loyalty system that not only rewarded purchases but also rewarded participation and engagement with their content.
This program gave points for purchasing Blu-ray and regular DVDs as well as movie tickets. Buyers then redeemed those points for dollar-value products, like more DVDs.
In addition, members can earn credits for engaging with their content, like watching movie trailers, visiting movie websites, playing games, and contributing content.
By combining offline purchase data with online engagement and participation data, they can now build a detailed profile of each of their customers. The resulting gamification campaign has:
No matter the quality of the gamified experience, it’s only a wrapper around your core offering.
Gamification cannot make an inferior product successful, but it might provide the tipping point that helps a good product find a larger audience, or turn a hit into a cross-channel smash.
Gamification works best when turning an exciting, attractive product into a richer, more participatory one.
Will your audience discover your campaign on TV, in real-world stores, through social media channels, in print ads, or somewhere else?
How will your early users help to grow your audience and through what means? Just as savvy advertisers connect TV, online, print, and other campaigns consider how to extend the reach of the gamification process into other avenues.
Gamification should be thought of as an extended process – the most engaging games offer an experience that unfolds over time.
This can be accomplished by making a deep and rich experience from the outset, or by evolving the experience over time, building its audience and drawing experienced users deeper into the game. Gamification is a long-term strategy, not a launch-and-leave-it one.
How soon do you need to gamify your site or application? What level of effort will be required to do this?
Do you have the necessary resources to support, operate, and enhance your gamification solution over time? What kind of expertise do you have in-house to make this happen?
Most important is to have a clear sense of what your business goals are and how you’ll go about determining if you’ve achieved them. This can be measured as strictly ROI, but there are other measures equally as valuable.
By Uma Raj
By Uma Raj
By Abishek Balakumar