Gamification is an innovative methodology that uses typical game-world elements in business and professional contexts for stimulating the user’s involvement and personal growth (costumers and/or employments) having leverage on their motivation.
The generic goal of gamification is to promote the active interest of users, their engagement, to modify behaviours. For these reasons a gamification strategy can be consider “successful” if it can mark in an effective way on recipient’s habits and behavioural performances.
“FUN” FACTOR AND MOTIVATION
For having a positive effect on the business, it is necessary that gamification’s users have fun.
The game activity walks next to the human being since the beginning of the time; thanks to the games children learn alphabet and numbers; start to recognize sounds, things, animals and distinguish colours and shapes. They play and grow up, learning how to live in the all-day-routine of the surrounding world. It is no coincidence that “learning by doing” is a popular common say.
Now, we get down to brass tacks with an example: jogging is a famous practice of sport, mainly strict, with benefits, but for the most people is boring. For those reasons it’s not considered a game...
So, how can we introduce a (creative) fun factor, coherent/consistent with specific business marketing goals that contribute to stimulate a change in user’s behaviour?
Nike succeed in this by launching his app: NIKE+RUNNING
What does this app offer? Based on a special technology that monitors users’ motions, gives the chance to measure workouts, burned calories, distance travelled, and time spent with a great accuracy (thanks also to sensors like GPS and accelerometer). More over the app propose other statistics including a social dimension that gives the possibility to challenge friends and compare results and score, so that the runners community always knows who are people on the top.
So, in short, it’s a perfect example of gamification, which with nike contributes to stimulate behavioural changes, with the aim to keep their consumers fit and in good health. The app does not transform jogging in a game but, starting from the game changes some elements (charts, challenges, points) that make the activity more fun and powerful.
So, what are the typical gaming world “elements” that companies should use to create a game design game?
Gamification is based on 2 basic aspects:
Mechanics, which was the single bricks that built the whole product's gamification structure, and they are usually associated with some actions that allow to reach business goals.
Dynamics, so the needs and desire, studied by behavioural psychology, rooted inside people and that could be gratified through interaction with game mechanics.
In this article we are going to deep main mechanics and those mostly common used by companies for reach several business goals (increase in turnover, improve customer loyalty, motivate sales force, etc.)
The score: allocate scores to users (costumers or employees) can motivate their willing to continue to use the product, or make a certain action, until reaching an higher level. They are generically used for obtaining virtual or concrete benefits.
Badges: simple virtual symbols, “ribbons” that show a certain users' capability to do something. They are crucial because they make the user feels important and skilled, by strengthening its connection with the brand. They are widely used gamification mechanics.
Virtual goods: what users can buy with the achieved score during their path, rewarding in this way their efforts. Virtual goods can also become in real goods, like different kind-awards (coupons, travels etc.)
Progress bars: are graphic bars that show operations wholeness. They are often used to give information about how to fill users’ profiles form in a website: verifying how much longer is the profile improvement, lots of users are motivated to complete it.
Levels: show the user’s progress. They are useful both to gratifying and to stimulate the desire to gain a more challenging game level. They are a great boost above all in training field, where students’ improvement has to be always visible and measurable.
Laderboards: are very useful to create competition among users. In this manner, they are motivated to use the service, spending more time for competing with others and gain new rewards for satisfying their final desire: peak the top of the leaderboard!
Missions: represent the game-proposed challenges. They are the main reason why you keep playing, in view of improve costumers’ loyalty and give to more active users exclusive advantages.
Let’s see two concrete examples about how companies used gamification to increase their turnover and reach their business goals.
1. Gamification for stimulating sale force: G4S case
G4s the biggest security/safety society in the world, used a gamification platform (SuMo) for boost sale force work, also the turnover, by which rewarding employees according to their best performances.
Since the security/safety market is more and more competitive, g4s introduces a friendly competition element, through gamification platform. Thanks to this, trade partners are motivated with game mechanics, that include competitions, levels, badges, award and charts, rewarding and supporting the most valuable behaviour.
- 86% Increase of sales performances;
- 60% boost of sales pipeline;
- 35% increase of new contacts identifying;
- Adoption until 98% of users.
2. Gamification to improve customers’ loyalty and sales: original marines case
Original marines, one of the biggest children and teens clothing Italian companies, has created #playoriginal, a gamification platform. The goal is to award the most brand interactive and devoted costumers. By implementing game elements in the business, the firm built a marketing strategy that stimulate engagement and loyalty of costumers, but also reach new consumers.
Original marines launched the #playoriginal competition: to attend clients had to show their loyalty and interest to the brand by reaching completion actions in the shops (buying clothes for example) and online (sharing photos wearing original marines outfit on facebook page or submit in the newsletter). When this specific “missions” are done, the costumer earned bonus and those who scored more won an award at the end of the contest.
#playoriginal, launched on October 2015, made record numbers:
- 300 thousand hits on the website;
- 30 thousand subscriptions, in which 85% come from web and 15% from the outlet/store;
- 10 thousand pictures of the missions;
- 35 million collected points;
- 10 million impressions from marketing campaigns;
- More than 2 thousand instore sales thanks to the contest.
“This project results make it clear that virtual reality is closely connected to business nowadays. The game, or better gamification in this case, will allow us to strength commercial relations with current costumers and reach new ones” said Davide Basile, crm digital marketing specialist of original marines.
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