Gamification involves the practice of adding game mechanics into non-gaming environments to encourage collaboration, sharing and interaction in order to achieve the business’s goals. Gamifying a business doesn’t necessarily involve creating a Grande Vegas Casino login or other online casino presence.
A business may choose to gamify a website, an online community, the business’s intranet or the learning management system to encourage increased engagement with employees, consumers and partners.
Through the process of gamification a business can increase sales by driving more calls, meetings with clients and qualifiying leads. Gamification doesn’t focus on the results but rather on the activities that can lead to sales. Through gamification, a business can promote desired behaviors that then lead to end-goals.
In 2002 Nick Pelling, an inventor and computer programmer, coined the term 'gamification' which he then went on to use to build the Foursquare social networking system. Foursquare included gaming elements that added a playful layer to the service in which users received points for activities such as checking into a new place, received badges for check-ins and were even awarded mayor status if they checked into a certain place more times than anyone else over a specified period of time.
Over the last 2 decades numerous businesses have gamified in one way or another. Some of the most successful include
- the Freepik image bank that awards participants badges and trophies for photographs that they submit to Freepick and are then downloaded – the level of badge or trophy is related to the use that the downloader puts the image to (for instance, if a photo is selected to appear on an image database homepage, the downloader may receive an especially valuable badge)
- the wildly successful Pokémon Go exploration game that encourages players to discover new places (and, perhaps, buy something there)
It’s important to think through how you want to gamify your business but if you plan carefully, you can look forward to the results.
Some innovative strategies and uses for gamification within companies and between companies and their customers include:
Gamifying can be used to show praise to development teams so that they experience the same sense of progress and accomplishment that their account managers generally enjoy. By applying comprehensible metrics of progression and reward to workflow, a team can experience the satisfaction of a “job well done” which then acts as a motivator towards future goals.
One company uses scorecards that track goals for the week. Teams that achieve those goals receive a prize – pizza for lunch, an hour off at the end of the day, etc.
eBay’s bidding and feedback system is an excellent example of how eBay has gamified their platform to make buyers feel as though they’ve “won” when their bidding price is accepted. To buy an item on eBay requires more than a “purchase” – through the bidding system you’re made to feel that you’ve achieved a victory.
The process involves placing your bid, checking back on the competition, matching new bids, and carrying through till the final moment when the bidding closes and the winning bid is announced. Together with feedback that earns the seller a higher percentage and adds stars to your own profile, the whole process may cost you more than you would have paid if you would have purchased the item elsewhere, but you had more fun making the purchase.
As a number of eBay fans note, it’s addictive. That’s what gamification is all about.
Healthcare gamification takes the form of progress charts, progress sharing and progress acknowledgements that give the user the feeling that his/her progress in reaching health care goals is noticed and acknowledged. Some health care benchmarks that are acknowledged by badges, medals and other virtual “shout-outs” include targets for fitness and nutrition, rehabilitation and physical therapy, healthcare for kids, emotional health and self-management, medication and care for chronic conditions.
When healthcare is gamified, apps are beneficial to both health care providers and patients. The providers enjoy better patient data, better ways of educating their patients and better patient cooperation in using health care apps. Patients benefit from social connections, telehealth access and health management tools for their cognitive, mental, emotional and behavioral health.
Some health care gamification strategies include apps that help manage medications (timing, information about drug interactions, reminders about whether to take a certain medication before or after eating), fitness and nutrition apps for sleep, calorie intake, menstrual cycle, hydration, heart rate and activity levels workout apps that support physical therapy with suggested home workouts.
Gamification works in-person as much as it does online. Kentucky Fried Chicken created a successful gamified campaign when it launched a new line of shrimp-themed menu items. To inform customers about the new line, KFC created a marketing campaign that took the form of a mobile game in which players would swat away at shrimp that fell from the screen. The marketing campaign resulted in 22% of the players choosing to redeem the reward vouchers that they won inside KFC stores and resulted in a 106% increase in-store sale figures YoY.
Recruitment and Training
Gamification has also been a successful element in the recruitment and training of new hires by small and large businesses alike. At the Marriott Hotel chain, potential employees are tested and new employees are trained by a game that was built for the chain called “My Marriott hotel” in which players run their own virtual hotel, purchase inventory, design their own restaurant, serve guests and train employees.