If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it is that the millennial generation are far more accustomed to games than any generation before them. Some companies are starting to see that the marketing techniques they once used are not quite as effective than they used to be, as current generations are seeking more engagement and reward from experiences than ever. So, what is gamification and why is it so popular?
Gamification, to put it simply, is the process of taking a non-gaming environment, such as a website or an online community, and adding gaming mechanics to it. Gamification isn’t about creating games for business purposes, it is about amplifying the effect of an existing experience but adding motivation techniques which are often used to make games engaging. An old example would be like when Scouts would be rewarded with a badge for a task that they wouldn't necessarily do outside of Scouts, such as orienteering or making a fire. The earning of badges turns something potentially mundane into something a lot more rewarding. A modern example would be the viral Pokemon Go, an app which rewarded users with Pokemon characters for walking significant distances; earning these high-level characters created an incentive for people to walk those distances which they may not have otherwise done.
Gabe Zichermann, author of Game-Based Marketing and CEO of gamification.co argued that today’s youth want a more engaging experience, and “Gamification is required to bring those things into balanced, and to make things engaging enough so people will pay attention to them and stay focused on them for a longer period of time”.
So, how can you incorporate this fun concept of gamification into your business? More importantly, would it even work? Zichermann identified five of the most commonly used game mechanics:
You would be surprised by quite how many businesses are using gamification. For instance, Nissan’s Carwings program was launched to increase customer loyalty, and gamifies driving. Nissan created a regional rankings dashboard where owners of the Nissan Leaf (Nissan’s 100% electric car) could compare their performance against other local drivers and earn medals and awards. Carwings allows users to connect with their car using their smartphone, allowing drivers to set reminders, turn on the A/C and start charging the battery even when they aren’t close to their Nissan.
By incorporating gamification into your business plan, you could find a new way to craft longer-term engagement, increase customer loyalty and drive motivation to use your services as gamification harnesses the desire we all have within us to achieve feedback and reward.