Today's social businesses face major problems around consumer/customer motivation and engagement. Gamification, or the incorporation of game attributes into a non-game context to drive game-like player behavior, provides an opportunity to help brands solve these difficult problems. If gamification is to be of use to business, we must understand it is not a panacea to fix shoddy service, lame products or bad talent. That being said, when done well, gamification + community + shared purpose = loyalty.
When it comes to Gamification, there is a lot of Bull out there. Lithium's POV is that good gamification is based on the confluence of Science, Practice and Product. Understanding the basic science is where it all starts. For a refresher we recommend reading these two posts from Michael Wu, Ph.D. Lithium's Chief Scientist.
Getting grounded in science will help clarify what gamification is as well as a clear understanding of the fundamental building blocks needed to build long-term and sustainable gamification systems for the enterprise. Once you’ve got the science down, you’ll want help explaining to your boss why Gamification is not a game, but serious business. A $2.8 Billion industry by 2016.
Tip: when your boss asks “what the deal with gamification in business”, here’s a short answer, sure to grab some attention. Companies deploying gamified applications are taking what makes games so exciting (shared purpose, challenge, reward) and deploying mechanics that make them work (points, badges, leaderboards) and combining all of this in order to enhance customer loyalty, motivate purchases and even better retain, motivate and encourage talent.
Push back: What if your boss says “But, game mechanics become ineffective after a while.” True, if you do not work constantly to understand how your users are evolving and design for flow, people adapt & get bored. Sustainable gamification requires planning for continuity all along the loyalty loop, which means care and feeding over time! Luckily most of you reading this blog have a community, which means you are a step ahead of most businesses looking to deploy gamified applications on a website. A branded community is the shared space that can help pull people back into the interactions important to the brand, members, customers, partners, etc…
So how do you get started?
Starting from scratch is never fun, but if you’re already a Lithium customer you don’t have to! Chances are if you’ve deployed the Lithium Platform to engage your customers and learn more about what they want, don’t want and might want from you then your way ahead of the curve. That means, for you, it’s easier than most to extract value from gaming mechanics and dynamics as they are already part of your toolbox.
If you’re ready to take your community gamification to the next level have a look at our Premium Gamification Product and let Lithium teach you some best practices we've learned from our customers as well as examples of gamification done well in the wild. The product comes with a full-on Gamification Strategy workshop that will help you deploy a gamification toolkit. Your boss, PR/HR/Marketing teams, design resources and/or agency partners will thank you for sharing a practical toolkit to deploy best practices for getting started with the Lithium Premium Gamification Product.
To wrap things up…Gamification can provide tangible benefits to the enterprise. [increased customer engagement, motivate participants, influence positive behaviors, drive adoption and learning, improve the quality of services, etc], but good gamification is hard to design, and most gamified applications fail due to poor design. To avoid the epic fail of your gamification programs you need a strategic program planning framework based on science, practice and product.
We’re here to help.
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