By now, especially if you operate in a modern working environment, you must have heard of the term gamification. Quite simply, gamification has invaded every industry there is. Yet, not many understand what gamification fully entails. Inaccurately, some think of it only as animated characters or vintage 8-bits flying everywhere. However, it’s not called video gamification; it’s not limited to elements of video games. Hence, the term can be much broader.
So what exactly is gamification? It’s the integration of game-like elements into experience design to make it easier for experiences to achieve set goals. Essentially, these elements are what soccer, chess, polo, UNO, and every other game humanity has ever known share together. Notably, these elements include competitiveness, rules, themes, and replayability among others. But, perhaps the most telling of these elements is the introduction of objectives which lead to clear desired conclusions. For example, score goals, defend well, etc in order to win a soccer match.
To make things clearer, how about we gamify this blog post? In the spirit of gamification, let’s integrate the latter element into this blog post. The desired conclusion here is a full grasp of how to use gamification to level up your business. These are our objectives, we’ll call them checkpoints, to getting there:
Checkpoint 1: Understand Why Gamification Works
Quick recall: we agreed that gamification is applying elements from games to non-game experiences. So an important question to ask here is: why do games work? Why did the human breed invent games incipiently and why have they survived the test of time?
Well, an instinctual answer here would be because games are fun. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with this answer. Still, we could dive somewhat deeper (without getting into the biology part and how dopamine is synthesized from tyrosine). In order to so, let’s step into the shoes (sandals?) of an ancient lad playing an ancient game. Possibly the oldest game in the history books is an Egyptian board game from about 5000 years ago.
Now, you can imagine the setting. Think of what’s consuming this man’s thoughts. Between whether or not his wheat crops will grow and thoughts about finding a partner (relationships weren’t as simple as you might think in ancient Egyptian times), a fair share of complexities is giving this poor guy a hard time.
Unlike his complicated life, the board game has a known reachable conclusion. The game’s a much-needed breath of fresh air because it guarantees immediate feedback with no contradictions or inconsistencies whatsoever. The game starts and ends the same way every time. With that, achieving goals and creativity stimulation become much easier. Briskly, joy would follow. From there, we return to the games being fun part.
Today, our lives are, at the very least, as complex as our ancestors’. Thus, we still rely on games to get us through our days. Ultimately, that’s the same reason business leaders gamify their ventures’ means of communication.
Checkpoint 2: Explore the Benefits of Gamification
Phew, so we’re done with the exhausting part. Next, we discuss the “what’s in it for me?” part aka the benefits of gamification.
1- Novel Approach to Data Acquisition
Without a doubt, customer research is an integral part of any business’ strategy. Accordingly, some brands take extreme measures just to get to know more about their customers. More often than not, these measures backfire. In such cases, customers feel exploited and they might cut all ties with said brands for good.
However, your brand can avoid these catastrophes and still gather crucial data using gamification. You could easily create a gamified experience which customers need to fill forms before accessing. Therefore, if your game is well-designed enough, customers won’t feel exploited to give their data. That’s because they’d see the value you’re providing them right away.
2- Brand Reach Intensified
In a stunning stat, Gigya showed that website-based gamified experiences boost social media sharing by 22%. More impressively, content discovery increases by 68%. A brand like Nike knows all about that. Its NikePlus program is a brilliant example of gamification that has amassed astounding reach.
Essentially, NikePlus is a virtual fitness center that gathers users from all walks of sport. While each Nike customer trains where he/she lives, they all get to share athletic feats on NikePlus. Consequently, this creates a level of competition that pushes users every day to log in to level up their scores.
Plus, when the user reaches solid scores, they will immediately head to social media to brag about it. In part, this will challenge their non-NikePlus friends to join the movement too. Conclusively, Nikeplus users advocate for the Nike brand with little to no pushing from Nike itself.
3- Customer Loyalty Amplification
Another huge brand that has mastered gamified experiences? Starbucks. Basically, the coffee mogul has implemented a gamified reward system that has all its fan in love with it. Every time a user buys from Starbucks, he/she gets stars in return. Later on, the user can redeem those starts for neat rewards.
4- More than a Marketing Tool
If you think the aforementioned benefits gamification to marketing uses only, think again. Quite contrarily, gamified experiences belong in many other areas. In your workplace, you can create a gamified experience to welcome and orient new hires with their new environments. They’ll think they have the best boss ever right away. Of course, Fitbit is a super popular example of gamified healthcare. And don’t even get me started on gamified education. I’d need an entire blog post for that.
Checkpoint 3: Determine the Perfect Medium for Gamification
Generally, two apparent options present themselves here: physical or digital gamified experiences. Each has opposing pros and cons to the other. In digital, you can create the games of your wildest dreams. Go as crazy as you wish with the stories, characters, and visuals. However, the catch here is that users will only get to experience all that passively. They won’t be able to participate physically and that’s against our humanistic nature.
On the other hand, you can guarantee excellent engagement from users with physical gamified experiences. But, you won’t have the luxury of creativity here.
Unfortunately, it looks like you need to make a choice here. After all, life is all compromises, right? Wrong! There’s another medium that hates settling; it doesn’t take no for an answer.
And that’s Augmented Reality!
Case in point: Pokémon GO. This massive phenomenon has taken the world by storm since 2016. Pokémon GO has been downloaded over 550 million times. 5 million users play it daily. And it has generated a revenue of $2.5B. We could go on and on with these statistics, but one fact stands. The main reason Pokémon GO reached such heights is that AR is the right medium for it. AR allowed the developers to bring everything they had in mind to life. At the same time, the players’ physical participation wasn’t sacrificed.
Truthfully, we’ve been evading Pokémon GO on the Augmania blog. That’s because there’s a false stigma that AR is only about Pokémon GO. That couldn’t be more wrong. Actually, you’ll find plenty of refutations to this belief in the form of blog posts right here on our blog.
In addition, Augmania has worked together with Coca-Cola on AR gamification projects to a plethora of success. In fact, we may or may not be collaborating now on a gamified AR experience for a gigantic sports event this year. Ahem. I said too much.