“The future of creativity and innovation is gamification” ~ Gabe Zichermann
The growing popularity of games and adopting them in business isn’t new at all. It all started in 2002 when Nick Pelling coined the term ‘gamification.’ Games have already been applied in many real-life objectives from the past, such as simulation games being used for training or skill development. With the help of Gamification apps industries have enhanced their growth.
The idea of gamification has emerged as a modernized trend in recent years and the benefits of gamification apps in business, marketing are massive. It has drawn interest both from academics and practitioners, because of digitalization of our everyday lives. Now, games are a crucial part of our life, and everyone plays them whether these are console or mobile, or in the offline world. For many adults, gaming is an important leisure activity. Research says global games market grew in 2015 to an astonishing 70 billion USD. This truly shows that the world is harnessing the power of play.
Additionally, Gartner, a world leading IT research and advisory firm, predicted in their ‘Gamification 2020 report’, that gamification apps combined with other trends and technologies will serve a significant impact on: i) innovation, ii) globalization of higher education, iii) emergence of customer engagement platforms, and iv) design of employee performance. By 2011, Gartner also officially claimed, “Gamification is near the peak of Gartner Hype Cycles, and like most new trends and technologies, the initial hype surrounding the trend creates unrealistic expectations for success, and many poor implementations follow.”
What is gamification?
Now, let’s talk about the fundamentals of gamification. Gamification is the use of game elements and game thinking in non-game environments to increase target behavior and engagement. The value of gamification isn’t only limited to companies that are in a commercial environment. It can be used in any business or organization to increase target behavior. Lots of people get confused by the term gamification as the game part of the dictionary-recognized word is somewhat misleading. Many associate gamification with gaming. But, gamification is quite different and much more logical and scientific than gaming. The concept of gamification was basically developed from the games we have been playing since our childhood. It’s the practice of incorporating the ideas from gaming, programs, and behavioral economics, with the aim of driving user engagement. The same fundamentals are used in today’s sophisticated gamification apps focusing on engagement and rewards of the games.
Gamification has the power to transform user experience by surrounding users with a gamified system. In some industries, gamification has started replacing long-waiting marketing processes and educational techniques which have lost the influence in areas like organizational performance, social change, brand relationship and talent development. Many companies started realizing that games can be very powerful in changing human behavior. Therefore it’s not surprising that companies like Amazon & LinkedIn have incorporated game elements on their websites and in their services.
Gamification has been with us for some time now, but it’s so versatile that it applies to every kind of business. The beauty of gamification is that it can lend itself to many different purposes like marketing, company culture building, project management, recruitment. Here are some examples of excellent use of gamification apps in a business context.
1. US Army – America’s Army
Use of Gamification in: Recruitment
US Army has developed a recruitment tool for America’s Army. The project was initiated back in 1999 and was released in 2002. After 6 years, US Army came up with four transportable “Virtual Army Experience” units and built a powerful recruiting tool. Candidates interested in enrolling can download the game for free and test their skills in this multiplayer strategic shooter environment to see if they’ve reached the target or not. Now it’s also using gamification apps to promote awareness of the U.S. armed forces.
Use of Gamification in: Customer engagement
Nike has launched a campaign called NikeFuel as part of its large Nike+ community. Users are allowed to compete against each other with their daily physical activity in the app called NikeFuel. This app would note all activities performed by users and transcribe them into points. After reaching a certain level, NikeFuel slowly unlocks special trophies and rewards. This app engages Nike’s customers such a way that not only they keep doing sports, but also share their results on social media and increase the brand’s visibility.
Use of Gamification: Advancing financial independence
Mint.com makes the ordinarily painful process of handling your financials and planning for your future simpler and more entertaining through gamification. Mint.com is helping people every day to plan securely for their financial futures by putting budget allocation, easy-to-interpret charts and graphs outlining your personal financial plans, etc. So, people automatically use this kind of app that creates a colorful display to show exactly where one’s money is going every month.
4. Starbucks – My Starbucks Rewards
Use of Gamification in Customer Engagement
My Starbucks Rewards is an example of such a technique, where after earning a star every time, one can spend INR 300 with registered Starbucks card at any store of India which can later be exchanged for free drinks and food. After collecting stars, one will receive bigger benefits. The game has three levels which users can reach their degree of loyalty, and next levels are open to those who visit a Starbucks store. The game is simple and includes material rewards. This helps to build the strong customer engagement.
5. Kaplan University
Use of Gamification in: Educational achievement
Kaplan University implemented Badgeville solutions to enhance its curriculum by encouraging for more participations. By incorporating challenges and badges, Kaplan witnessed good grades from students by avoiding failing of students to complete courses and programs. Dr. David DeHaven, Dean of the School of Information Technology, Kaplan University, shared, “Keeping students engaged is critical to a successful learning experience, and we found that the behaviors gamification apps promotes could easily enhance our curriculum by encouraging more quality participation.”
Use of Gamification in : Building employee loyalty
Keas is an employee wellness app for its organizations to maintain lower group health insurance costs. Keas employs gamification by allowing workers from client companies to log into their personal dashboards through they can view their statistics, earn awards for achievements like completing tasks or support co-workers for getting closer towards their goals.
7. Puma Gunners
Use of Gamification in: Customer engagement
As part of Puma’s digital campaign, Juego Studios’ team created a cannon shooting game for mobile devices. Considering the physical campaign, the company tightly integrated the game with the planned physical event. While players were able to play the game on their devices individually, they also had a chance to shoot a physical cannon from their devices, placed in the Dubai mall, using the real-time integration feature of the game. This helped Puma to promote their partnership with Arsenal engaging the existing and future customers. (you can check the Puma Gunners created by Juego Studios)
Above examples show that gamification apps can serve many objectives and if properly implemented, it can boost a company’s performance or reputation and help the brand’s popularity on social media.
Gabe Zichermann says, “Gamification in the work environment is really about how to make people’s jobs better and how to make people’s work life better.”
Gamification has the power to increase any business results, either by motivating your staffs or by incorporating with your products. Research vice president at Gartner, Brian Burke says, “Most attempts at gamification currently miss the mark, but successful and sustainable gamification can convert customers into fans, turn work into fun, or make learning a joy. The potential is enormous.”
If you are looking for efficient and creative gamification solution provider, check our GAMIFICATION service page.