In the Age of the Customer, games and marketing are strictly connected. Without this simple - but sometimes neglected - presumption, it is impossible to understand the key role of gamification for companies investing in innovative digital customer experience strategies. And because it is always better to learn from the best players, we have chosen a few inspiring gamification examples, that you can use to enhance your customer experience.
Gamification describes the trend of employing game mechanics to non-game environments. In a world shaped by the mobile mind-shift, this implies the use of disruptive technologies (i.e. beacons, wearables) and devices (from smartphone to smartwatch) giving birth to new mobile-centric business models. The final goal? To achieve higher levels of engagement, both with customers and employees.
Mind you: gamification is not the silver bullet to wash away all your concerns, a one-fits-all idea that will attract customers like some kind of magic. Once you know that, you need to understand how to implement the element of fun to make it really valuable. Games are fun but also tricky: how can you use them to shape a more effective digital customer experience? At Neosperience, we are well-aware of game dynamics value for customer-facing apps and, in general, for customer experience strategies (i.e. projects like MyGelato App for Carpigiani and La Scatola dei Giocattoli for Mattel).
Luckily, you can learn from companies that have already integrated game mechanics into their strategies. Here are 4 top examples of successful gamification in business.
U.S. ARMY - AMERICA'S ARMY
Armies are not strangers to using games - and videogames - for strategic and training purposes. American Army, created by the U.S. Army, is considered the best example of how governments can use gamification to promote awareness, loyalty and, in this specific case study, attract new recruits. This recruitment tool, first released in 2002 and still alive and well, comes as a multiplayer tactical shooter that brings the reality of war into a game, so you can check whether you have what it takes to become a soldier or not. The goal is clear: earn the the Badges of Honor and become a member of the American Army. After millions of new potential recruits, the success is clear, and this is now the U.S. Army number one recruitment tool.
M&M's PRETZEL ADV
This might not be the most complex gamification campaign of all times, but in 2013 M&M's has given us one of the best examples of how to fuse engagement, games, social media and advertising into one simple - yet catchy - strategy. Created to re-launch the new pretzel candy, it is based on one idea: build an image that functions as a game. A full-page graphic shows traditional M&M's candies, and just one pretzel candy. Your goal? To find the one and only orange pretzel, in classic 'Eye Spy' mechanics that helped launch the product and solidify social media presence on Facebook (6.000 shares and 11.000 comments).
MY STARBUCKS REWARDS
Starbucks has always been considered one of the top players when it comes to customer and employee engagement and loyalty. Their entire philosophy is focused on offering a better service, and My Starbucks Rewards makes no exception. Born as a traditional card loyalty program, it has swiftly evolved into something more complex, that involves the physical store and the mobile app. Clients register and every time they make a purchase, they accumulate stars to earn free drinks and food. More, there are three levels that the user can reach, depending on the degree of loyalty: to upgrade you need to visit a Starbucks store, and the more you do it the more you grow. A never ending game with actual rewards, easy, free and in mobility: the perfect mix for success.
The last example is probably one of the most interesting, showing how a game can convert a broad community of users into a community of loyal customers. Nike is always first in line when it comes to innovative digital strategies but, with Nike+, the brand has done something more: foster lifestyle changes by helping their customer keep fit and, in the meantime, sell its products (shoes and tech accessories such as Fuelband) and core values. Made for running, this platform collects personal data from the users to control and display their latest achievements, allowing users to compare and compete with people from all over the world and friends connected to social media.