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The Social Media and Gaming Series 4

In my previous blogs in this series, I’ve covered the rise of mobile gaming, the acceptance of video games as a viable entertainment medium, and how game elements can help improve our lives. How does this all tie together into the Gamification conversation?

Firstly, Gamification is described as a Human-Focused Design, i.e. optimizing a process to accommodate people’s feelings, insecurities, and motivations. Video games have mastered the arts of motivation and engagement over many years, keeping us players entertained and driven to complete quests and move forward to the next level. Gamification is named as such because it aims to bring that drive to real-world scenarios. Brian Burke, VP of Gartner, Inc and author of the new book Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things says it best:

“Gamification is about motivating people to achieve their own goals, not the organization’s goals.”

Gamification is already all around us, from our personal interaction with various apps, to business’ incorporating the philosophy into their strategies to better engage with their customers. The rise of Gamification can be traced to the exponential growth in mobile gaming and persons willing to spend real-world money on in-app purchases (Candy Crush anyone?). It’s an unprecedented and unbelievably profitable market, so it makes sense that it has made companies’ heads turn. However, it isn’t as simple as including a leader-board and points system. Those type of transactional inclusions were acceptable in the early days of Gamification but, an evolving market calls for continuous transformation in the experience. Experts in the field agree that there are certain criteria that must be met in developing an experience that your customers will appreciate and interact with. For a comprehensive deep-dive, I turn to Yu-Kai Chou, Founder of the Octalysis Group and creator of the Gamification framework, Octalysis:

The 8 Core Drives (which is detailed in the video below), coupled with a deep understanding of an audience’s behavioral drive (left brain logic, and right brain creative) will help your Gamification succeed. Your plan doesn’t need to have all of the core drives, however, it needs to excel in the ones that it does include. This will, of course, rely on proper research and determining the best focus to meaningfully engage with your customers –#KnowYourAudience.

TED Talk – Yu-Kai Chou on using Gamification to Improve Our World

Gamification has continuously evolved over the years from a simple buzz word to an innovative behavioral philosophy that can be tailored to suit different objectives such as increasing engagement, improving competitiveness and even boosting employee morale, as Hyatt Hotels did.

There are countless Gamification case studies available to marketers, from Nike to Starbucks to Coca-Cola. There are also incredible social examples that seek to bring people together to positively impact the world. The literature is there, and provides the greatest opportunity to learn from others and build on the ideas that already exist.  One of my favorite Gamification examples is Coca-Cola’s ‘Unlock the 007 in you. You have 70 seconds.’ Persons who participated won free tickets to the 007 movie Skyfall. As with many of Coke’s marketing stunts, it went viral for its creativity, excitement and humor, and incorporated the Gamification core drives of Epic Meaning and Calling, and Unpredictability and Curiosity:

Another brilliant example is integrated into the social platform Instagram (read my Instagram experience blog here) and it revolves around the critically acclaimed animated series Rick and Morty. Initially, the Rick and Morty Rickstaverse is unassuming. The fun begins when you click on a picture and are given the option to ‘warp’ to another location. The link takes you to another Rick and Morty based Instagram account for your exploration. I was honestly fascinated by how cleverly they gamified this; a little creativity truly goes a long way.

Our world is getting smaller. Technology is revolutionizing the way we do business and adaptation needs to be a key priority. Markets are changing rapidly, with tastes and preferences coming and going as quickly as the blink of an eye – #Millenials. Social media has us constantly connected on a global scale. To survive, you must innovate and to innovate, you must be willing to take strategic risks to elevate your brand above others in the market. Gamification is a portal to unique opportunities and now, more than ever, is the time to acknowledge its well-developed benefits. So, are you prepared to take the leap and gamify?

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