Whether you are a gamer in real life or you just know someone who is, you know how addicting games can be. The theory of gamification is analyzing video game elements and incorporating them into our businesses to make our them fun and addicting to engage with.

Gamification actually defines as the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. Gamification commonly employs game design to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, flow, learning, crowdfunding and sourcing, recruitment and evaluation among other things.

Common Game Elements

When looking at how to make your company more like a game, there are some elements you want to consider.

  • You have to have a great story! Something people can relate to, and want to know what happens next. A story is more than a resume. In today’s marketplace we want to know what is your passion. What makes you tick. This is common in a great screenplay too.
  • The user has to work for the reward. If you give recognition in the form of bonuses or gifts for just being, it encourages laziness. This is true both for staff, referral partners, and clients. Rewards are also linked to discounts, as this is a gift of x% off when you purchase y. But notice the when you purchase. Just discounting is giving the reward without the work. That is why Groupon and Living Social struggled. Having a reward system in place gives everyone something exciting to work toward.
  • Great protagonist! Every good game, and movie on the market today have a protagonist you get emotionally invested in. The story tellers set up their background that just so happens to have similar elements to your life and then something happens, they get discovered, or they get chosen to go on a special mission. You as the business owner are the protagonist. Your story matters so people can become your advocates and cheerleaders!

Applying Gamification

We need systems in place — particularly if the game is to apply to clients or referral partners. You first need to know what it is you want the user to do.

In this case your user would be your referral partner or client. Let’s say you want them to refer you more business. So now the game we are creating is a defined referral program.

Step two is then identifying the levels of reward. In this example we want to reward for every referral or do we want to reward at referral increments? I would recommend increments because it keeps the user engaged and working for the reward.

Remember when you were in school, and the school fundraisers made it a point to tell you what cool toy you get if you sell certain amounts of cookies or wrapping paper? The more you sold the cooler the prize got. It made you want to go sell right? This referral program is the same idea.

Step three, identify the prizes. Now there are a million things you can do as a prize so the key here is know what will motivate your referral partners. Is is a gift basket of BBQ stuff, is it a bottle of wine, is it a date night with their spouse, or perhaps it is swag that you have like an umbrella or a leather padfolio. List out the prizes in no particular order with the dollar amount it will cost you to get the prize.

Step four, tie the prize value with the referral level. So if you have levels of referrals like 1-5, 5-10, 10-20 etc., what prize do they get at each level?

Keep in mind that the prize should be perceived as greater value than the ask, making it an easy yes. So if your ask is 5 referrals (what would 5 new clients do to your business in dollars and cents?) that gift should be in line with your profits from those combined 5 clients. Make sense?

Lastly, you need to know how you are tracking your users. Staying on top of their success in your game is your responsibility as the game designer. Some people use spread sheets.

If you are a BNI person, BNI tracks your referrals given and received.

Other people make notes in their CRM systems so they always see how many referrals that person has passed when then look at their account. What ever your method, make sure it is easy to use so that it is easy to track.

Steps to applying gamification Animated

You Are Now Ready To Play

Time to announce to the world your new game. Build up the hype by talking about the great prizes. When people play and win get your photo taken with them and publicly thank them for playing your game.

People love to see other people succeed. What better way than to make a game to recognize success!

Gamification In Your Business

This looks more like an employee of the month contest or recognition at an annual meeting for particular things. A good example would be recognition for perfect attendance, or for client satisfaction ratings based on anonymous surveys.

If you are reading this article and feel you already have gamification in place but you are not getting the engagement, then it is time to change the prize, or change the game.

We all lose interest in a game or TV show eventually and that is because the plot has become predictable.

We see more engagement and chatter on line about TV shows that carry a plot twist than any other. Just look at the wild success of Walking Dead, or Orange Is The New Black, or Blacklist. These shows are wildly successful because they mastered the plot twist. They fall when they become predictable.

Your game must carry plot twists. Perhaps at tier 3 you get an extra prize, or if you reach the goal by y date it is a daily double and you get two times the prizes.

If this article was helpful for you drop us a line. We love to hear about your success with Gamification in your business and marketing plans. Also, let us know if you are having trouble establishing a game for your clients or team to play! We are here to help catch the ideas that stick.

Thanks for reading!