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Gamification is serious business

Gamification is the application of game-like elements to some sort of challenge, that generally involves some kind of reward, but it is also expected that it should be engaging and fun, like playing a game. In business, gamification means the use of these concepts to boost innovation, build effective marketing campaigns and drive value.

But you should not be deceived by its name, because companies are surely not playing games. They take the essence of what makes games so alluring (a shared sense of purpose, challenge and reward), decoding the mechanics that make them work (personalization, rankings and leaderboards) and then applying these mechanics in a multitude of imaginative initiatives to help enhance customer loyalty, motivate shoppers to buy and provide more compelling mechanisms for retaining and encouraging talent.

Many gamification examples have proven that it is worth the try by any company that wants to leverage its business. To cite a few of these examples:

* Volkswagen has launched People's Car Project in China, in 2011, and by the end of the 10th week it has received more than 50,000 ideas from which the winner chosen by the public was turned into an online video that became viral.

* University of Washington in Seattle launched Fold it, a puzzle game that invited its 240,000 users to configure the structure of an enzyme associated with the AIDS virus, and in three weeks they solved a 15 years old problem.

* Nike+ has improved the company's running category revenues by 30% letting users of the app be awarded with messages from celebrity athletes when they reached a goal or a milestone in their personal running programs.

As companies face increasing challenges to stand out in the overcrowded digital space, they must seek new ways to penetrate the walls that consumers have erected to filter out the deluge of information that floods them, and that is where enters the appeal of game mechanics.

But to make that strategy to work, companies must fully understand the two main elements that makes games so compelling:

1- Competition: through a system with milestones and rankings, participants can share and compare achievements and performance against both their own goals and others' progress, which is a major motivational factor that sustain engagement;

2- Status: gamers like recognition of others within their community, so, immersing them in an virtual reality environment along with their friends or contacts, with enough interaction between them, will unleash a tidal wave of interest;

Companies don’t need to utilize all of these options to harness the power of gamification. Much depends on whether the initiative is targeted at consumers or employees, and whether its mission is to promote products or processes.

There is no perfect place to start, but neither is there any time to waste. The benefits of gamification may take time to realize, but in an increasingly interactive world, they are likely to deliver enduring competitive advantage.


Nobiletec is a multi-national consultancy firm specializes in B2B, B2C and P2P FinTech solutions.

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