Gamification has been with us for some time now, but it's so versatile that it applies to practically every kind of business. The beauty of gamification is that it can lend itself to many different purposes – it's being used for marketing, company culture building, project management, recruitment or even taking care of employee health. Here are 10 examples of excellent use of gamification in business context.
1. US Army
To start with an interesting example of gamification in action, here's a promotional/recruiting tool that generated quite a lot of controversy. America's Army (http://www.americasarmy.com/) was developed by the US Army to serve as a recruitment tool. Candidates interested in enrolling can sign up, download the game for free and test their skills in this multiplayer strategic shooter environment to see if they're soldier material.
Initially, candidates are asked to fill an online profile with their real data and become a part of the community called the Online Army. During the game, talented players are rewarded with Badges of Honor, similar to the actual form of recognition given in the American Army.
Of course, a virtual game is only a game and hardly reflects the real nature of combat. That's why the aim of this gamification strategy is twofold – it primarily works as a marketing tool, promoting the US Army and in consequence increasing the number of recruits.
2. M&M's Eye-Spy Pretzel
This is a gamification classic. In 2013, M&M's launched an incredibly successful game as a part of its M&M's pretzel marketing campaign. The game was based on the eye-spy logic – it was inexpensive and simple, and yet became an instant hit among the audience of M&M's.
Users were basically presented with a large graphic design of M&M's candy, with one small pretzel hidden among them. The task was to simply find the hidden pretzel.
What kind of benefits did the game bring to M&M's? It boosted user engagement with the brand, bringing over 25,000 new likes on the company’s official Facebook page, as well as more than 6,000 shares and 10,000 comments.
The game was a miniscule part of a massive marketing campaign, but it offered a new fun way to engage with the company’s new product and effectively helped to spread the word about it all over social media.
Autodesk is a recognized software provider, which values user trials. In order to render them more engaging, Autodesk chose to gamify the components of Undiscovered Territory, a new experience created for trial users of Autodesk 3ds Max. The main goal here was to increase the use of this software during the trial period and improve the probability of purchase.
Users could gain access to their profiles and have a look at their completed missions, information on their rank within the program's leader board, the number of points they gained, their badges and other achievements. The game-like character of the trial version was very successful – 10% more users decided to download it and trial usage itself rose by 40%.
Nike has launched a campaign called NikeFuel a part of its vast Nike+ community. In NikeFuel, users compete against each other in the daily amount of physical activity. An app on their smartphone would note all activities performed by users and transcribe them into points.
After reaching a certain level, NikeFuel unlocks special trophies and rewards. All of this generates lots of motivation for Nike's customers – not only to keep doing sports, but also share their results in social media and increase the brand's visibility.
Nike made sure that its customers are engaged and motivated enough to repeat tasks with growing excitement. The campaign also encouraged specific behaviors, such as sharing app results on social media.
In 2012, Bluewolf launched a gamified Going Social program for its internal staff – you can see a detailed report on its results on the company blog (http://www.bluewolf.com/blog/gamifying-social-collaboration-how-we-did-i...). Bluewolf decided to apply gamification to different areas of employee activity with one goal in mind – to promote collaboration by bringing the 'social' into the core of business strategy.
First, Bluewolf researched and evaluated the current state of internal networking. Once game designers identified the needs of employees, they were able to create a shareable pack profiles, focusing on knowledge and the social, effectively helping employees to establish their own brands. Have a look at an exemplary pack profile here. (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/99642210475623286/)
The company inspired employees to share their knowledge through gamified activities included in Bunchball – Bluewolf implemented a program called Nitro for Salesforce, which counted points and gave out rewards to employees for every attempt at internal and external collaboration. Moreover, employees earned points for sharing content on their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts or publishing posts on the company blog.
As a result, Bluewolf noted an improvement in internal communication – visible in the graph presenting the increase of their internal communication tool use (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/99642210475623286/). The program also improved employee productivity – visible in this graph (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/99642210476503534/).
6. Engine Yard (https://www.engineyard.com/)
Engine Yard is a famous platform used for application development, mostly for deploying, scaling, and monitoring new apps. The company chose a Zendesk knowledge base, but when the solution didn't bring the desired increase of engagement, they decided to incorporate gamified elements like badges and other game-like tactics to foster participation and reward users for contributing to the community.
This way, Engine Yard was able to increase user-generated content for its customer self-help portal, consequently lowering the number of issued support tickets and reducing the general demand on support staff.
7. Keas (http://keas.com/)
Keas is a smart employee wellness platform used by many organization to keep lower group health insurance costs and maintain low expenses related to events such as unnecessary sick days. In its operation, Keas employs gamification by allowing workers from client companies to log into their personal dashboards. Here they can view their statistics, earn awards for achievements like completing tasks or support co-workers for getting closer towards their goals.
8. ChoreWars (http://www.chorewars.com/)
Even if it sounds childish, ChoreWars proved to be a great tool to boost motivation at the office – especially for completing mundane tasks that simply need to be done. CoreWars can be configured to serve as a one-off contest – perfect if you'd like to get employees back in action.
You can also use it as an ongoing program that will issue a weekly leader board and award prizes to top players every week. ChoreWars is a solution businesses use for turning ordinary tasks into engaging competition where users create characters, chores, and embark on adventures.
9. Starbucks – My Startbucks Rewards (http://www.starbucks.com/card/rewards)
Starbucks is known for its care when it come to customer and employee loyalty and engagement. My Starbucks Rewards is an example of such a technique, where gamification serves to transform a traditional card loyalty program into something much more complex.
After registering, clients gain stars with every purchase, which can later be exchanged for free drinks and food. The game has three levels users can reach by their degree of loyalty – next levels are open to those who visit a Starbucks store. The game is simple and includes material rewards – a perfect marketing tool!
10. 4Food (http://4food.com/)
4food website is basically like one exciting game. You can have a look at company values presented in badges, 'flip the bird' for discount offers or even build your won burger – this is a kind of customer experience that users won't easily forget.
The gamified experience here serves to engage customers, help them understand the core company values and appreciate the organization's dedication to bringing top quality in food, while supporting various charities at the same time.
As you can see, gamification can really serve many objectives and if properly conducted, it can boost a company’s performance or reputation and help the brand skyrocket in social media.
The article was consulted with Mati Jablon who is a gamification expert from DATA Lab.
Further reading: Tips for buying gamification tools for the contact centre
I'm a marketing specialist, whose real passion is gamification in business context. I'm interested in all possible applications of gamification in both marketing and customers service. My blog is dedicated to all marketers out there who have always wanted to now more about gamification in their sector, but couldn't find a reliable source of information. Discussing case studies and new gamified approaches, I hope to unveil the potential of gamification in improving various aspects of a business operation.