As marketers, it is crucial to figure out ways to best engage consumers and increase their loyalty to our brands. One recent trend has been for companies to ‘gamify’ their services, incorporating elements that are commonly found in games and repurposing them for other applications. Whether you realize it or not, gamification has found its way in some capacity into all of our lives. Don’t know how it works? Read on for what you’ll need to know to get started!
What is a Game?
Before understanding how gamification works, you must first understand what a game is. Though it might seem like you already have a good understanding of what a game is, it has actually been quite difficult for theorists to narrow down precisely what elements make up a game. Games theorist Jesper Juul synthesizes numerous definitions into the following:
“A game is a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable.”
In other words, a game is a voluntary activity in which a player is putting their time, effort and emotion. These are important goals for marketers because they help build a strong relationship between a brand and a consumer.
Points & Rewards
All games need to have an end-goal. Whether it’s defeating an opponent, earning a high score or winning a prize, a player’s efforts must have some sort of reward in order to be worthwhile. Before gamifying your marketing efforts, you must first think of the incentives that will drive consumers to participate.
Most gamification efforts work on the ‘points & rewards’ system. A person accumulates points by performing a variety of actions and then is rewarded once reaching a certain goal. Rewards can serve a variety of purposes, anywhere from product assistance to real-world currency.
At Uberflip, gamification has been a useful tool for assisting our Users when creating their Titles. A progress bar informs a User of how complete a Title is and what steps need to be taken in order to complete a Title. This has proven to be a very effective way of educating Users on how to complete important steps that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.
Another very common points/rewards system are rewards cards. Companies like Air Miles, Starbucks and various credit cards allow customers to accumulate points for every purchase they make, which can then be redeemed for rewards such as free or discounted products and services. This has been a great way for brands to encourage consumers to stay loyal to their particular card/service in order to earn great rewards.
Let us know about your favourite examples of gamification in the comments below!