Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? ever applied for a privilege card at your nearest mall? signed up for a newsletter for the vanity kit that comes with it? Do you collect frequent flier miles? scratched the silver of a Scratch Card for the gold beneath? All of these are examples of gamification, and you can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future. Dont we all love these little games, so logically if we gamify the way we live, wouldn’t life be a bit more fun??
Taking Example from the Fun Theory :
Gamification involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. It has been called one of the most important trends in technology by several industry experts (yeah the one with the ties, those who take themselves seriously. Gamification can potentially be applied to any industry and almost anything to create fun and engaging experiences, converting users into players.
Few simple examples are things like earning points and setting goals with Nike+ to motivate yourself to exercise more, and Turntable.fm, the site where you can virtually DJ for your friends and random strangers — earning points based on your performance which allows you to unlock cool new avatars.
According to a 2011 Gartner Research Report it is estimated that by 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.
The word “gamification,” much like the phrase “social media” a few years back, is being lobbed around in technology circles as the next frontier in web and mobile. Just as nearly every application, website, brand and marketer now employs social media in some they must in the years ahead gravitate towards game mechanics.
Big Brands Play
Game mechanics are ripe for exploration with exciting technology and service startups emerging almost weekly in the space. As traditional advertising continues to lose effectiveness with younger consumers, and customer acquisition costs remain stubbornly high big brands also understand the need to embrace these for game-like connections.
Some of the world’s biggest brands have taken notice of how game mechanics can help their strategies. In 2011, many of the major media companies and consumer goods brands launch gamified experiences, with even more to follow in 2012. Expect to see the most innovation in finance, travel and TV.
Nike one of our favorites again is at the forefront of this trend as well. It built a community out of the humble trainer by allowing runners to record their runs and upload their running history to runners worldwide. The use of points and leader board systems is crucial to many new health and fitness services, which use game features to nudge people towards better behaviour.
Gamification to arouse the Marketer in you
For centuries, games have been an integral part of society. From ancient board games inscribed on Egyptian tombs to today’s advanced interactive video match-ups, game play has been an expression of human nature, just like work, learning, and relationships. Whether seeking a badge, ribbon, or place on a leader board, people derive fulfillment from playing games and competing among peers.
For marketers, “gamification” is about integrating game mechanics into marketing activities to make them more fun to drive engagement and participation by cultivating desired behaviors through incentives and rewards. The power of games, if they are based on the right incentives, can create breakthrough engagement with any audience.
Marketers are becoming increasingly aware, game play is now evolving into a gamification movement–a significant trend that is altering the way businesses interact with customers.
Adding a few visual game elements to a brand’s site in order to “gamify” a marketing strategy and increase engagement just isn’t enough. To be done right, gamification must take a behavior-focused approach. So Gamification (like all well done marketing) is 75% Psychology, 25% Technology.
The basic thing is that when you offer rewards for user actions, consumers are more likely to engage with a brand — that is, visit the site more often, register, linger and invite friends.Games can “activate communities, build trust and loyalty in a company and its products, communicate progress and level of expertise, and demonstrate status and rank.”
Foursquare badges can be used to stimulate interaction with brands and drive purchases, sites like Lockerz reward visitors for taking specific actions, count-down clocks on private sales sites drive impulse purchases, and leaderboards are often a staple on fundraising sites to stimulate competition and acknowledge top achievers.
So you’d notice gamification is not just about creating a “game” – it’s about finding ways to interact with your customers and rewarding them for engaging with you. Do it well and you’d be acquainted to rare indicators that are not doctored and are in the pink of their health, we’re talking loyalty, referrals, repeat business variety.
And you don’t necessarily have to even create your own games, there’s another way to play.
Advergaming is an immersive mix of advertising and entertainment that takes the form of video games. According to eMarketer.com, it’s been around since at least the early 1980s when Kool-Aid and Pepsi developed Atari 2600 games that featured their products and distributed the game cartridges as promotions. In 2001, the term “advergames” was coined in Wired magazine’s “Jargon Watch” column. Since then it has been used to describe the free online games that many major companies are now using to promote their products.
There are three general groupings for advergames –
First, games may be placed on a company Web site (in order to attract Web visitors and entice them to remain on the site longer. The longer a visitor is on the site, the longer the company’s message is in front of them. The games may or may not be related to the product.
The second type is closer to the traditional, commercial video game developed and sold to be played on computers or game consoles, but the primary difference is that the games are developed with a specific purpose in mind. For example, the United States Army sponsored an extremely successful game called “America’s Army” in an effort to increase recruitment.
The third grouping of advergame is what we typically call product placement, or in-game advertising, where the product or an ad for the product is part of the game.
Advergaming Hit the Indian Market in 2007 with the launch of the Krish Video Game . Meant for promotion of the movie before it’s release later that year.
In-game advertising, or “game-vertising”, is a highly sophisticated, finely tuned strategy that combines product placement, behavioral targeting, and viral marketing to forge ongoing relationships between brands and individual gamers. Marketing through interactive games works particularly well for snack, beverage, and other “impulse” food products.
Not only can marketers incorporate their brands into the storylines of popular games, they can also use software that enables them to respond to a player’s actions in real time, changing, adding, or updating advertising messages to tailor their appeal to that particular individual. At a recent conference on interactive advertising, software developers explained how they purposefully create games to make them “in sync with the brand,” ensuring that images players see in the game are similar to what “they see in the supermarket and on TV .Games must always be “addictive,” should include a “viral component,” and be “continually updated” to facilitate ongoing data collection and analysis.
Sony partnered with Pizza Hut to build into its “Everquest II” videogame the ability to order pizza. “All the player has to do is type in the command ‘pizza,’ and voila—Pizza Hut’s online order page pops up,” explained a trade article. “While it’s just pizza now, the in-game purchasing potential is wide open.”
At Viacom’s Neopets.com—targeted at 8- to-17-year-olds—young gamers create and “take care of” virtual pets, earning virtual currency (neopoints) to pay for their upkeep by participating in contests and games. The site earns substantial advertising revenues from “User Initiated Brand Integrated Advertising—activities or games built around advertisers’ products and services that help build relationships and generate revenues with Neopets visitors.” For example, participants can earn points by buying or selling “valuable commodities such as McDonald’s Fries” or “winning games such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch Umpire Strikes Out.” Food companies that have sponsored various activities on Neopets include McDonald’s, Frito-Lay, Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Mars & Procter & Gamble.
Probably One the most brilliant Gamevertising so far Has been Magnum: Online Pleasure Hunt. The idea is based around the fact that the internet is a treasure full of pleasures. In this online game, you are controlling a woman who’s running around through various websites. The idea and visualisation are impressive as she not only runs around, but also drives, flies and jumps!
It”s absolutely brilliant and will get you hooked quick.
Play the Game here : http://pleasurehunt.mymagnum.com/
Gamifying The Indian Market – playing within the rules
Gamification’ is not about gaming but about making routine tasks and processes much more interesting and rewarding. Gamification is a motivational tool, not a tool for performance measurement and punishment. Indian websites which use orthodox designs will have to adopt a more creative strategy to improve engagement with customers.
The market is ready for investment but no one is making the first move into gamification in India at a large scale. The Indian sector is not completely organized right now and investors are hesitant to enter into such a untapped market. Moreover what ever influence gamification has on the Indian market is due to our American and European counterparts. Indian Companies are following tried and tested practices, and games have not been explored to a large degree.
Indian airports and airlines are looking at the idle time spent by their travelers, they are thinking of creating new interactive games keeping their customers happy occupied and in minds. With an already existing frequent flyer programme, the aviation industry can look at coming up with more innovate methods to engage their customers.
From a training perspective in India, institutions like Arena Animation are churning a solid number of game developers. The market is huge, and those with the right skills can be absorbed by sizable local companies like Gameshastra, Gameloft ,Trine Entertainment Ltd (Developed the new game Ra.one based on the SRK starer by the same name).
Considering the number of people who use smart phones in India the growing applications market for mobile based games is only going to grow. Customization of these apps and games for the Indian market is the next step. So the sooner the marketeer cover that, sooner they’ll be leveraging this trend.
Coming years will be very exciting for gamification and customer engagement overall. From small startups to the world’s biggest media properties, tools like points, badges, leaderboards and challenges will be increasingly deployed to create emotional and brand loyalty. That’s a future we’re staring at and its a game we’d definitely be playing.