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Gamification: gaming as a tool to generate engagement

October 14, 2014

As newfangled as the term ‘gamification’ may sound, it’s not actually new. The term was first used in the 1980s and it’s currently a technique being widely adopted within the business world. But what is it exactly? Although the definition doesn’t help us to understand gamification, by breaking down its effects and distinctive features we’ll see that it’s more present in marketing strategies than we first thought. In fact, the figures support this: it’s predicted that by 2016 the implementation of gamification strategies will generate around $65 million per year.

Specifically, gamification is the integration of gaming dynamics outside of a recreational environment. In this way users feel motivated to voluntarily behave in certain ways determined by the company. The user or client is made to view something that was once ‘boring’ as something worth taking part in and as a result they develop feelings of commitment and loyalty to a brand or business.

Gamification can be used by all types of companies, no matter the industry or their activities. What’s more, external gamification is no longer the only approach; in recent years internal gamification has been making great strides. The target of this internal approach is not the customer but rather the employees of the company itself, thus serving as another Internal Communication technique. Marco de Comunicación works in this field and is well aware that a company’s workforce is the true motor of its results. Large companies like Aurovitas have entrusted MdC with creating engagement within the organisation via gaming dynamics and through initiatives such as a Masterchef competition in which the whole workforce can take part.

Another good example of internal gamification is the campaign first carried out by the cosmetics multinational L’Oréal in 2010, an initiative which has been repeated in subsequent years. Its recruitment game, “Reveal”, focuses on the world of videogames. The players, who in this case are students looking to secure a work experience placement or a job at the company, tour the brand’s offices virtually as though it were a videogame. On their journey they encounter different challenges which have to be completed in the quickest time possible in order to secure the highest score by the end. Upon finishing the game, which lasts for 18 months, those who have earned more than 7,000 points are invited to come in for an interview for work experience or a full-time job at the company. The ‘Reveal’ campaigns have been so successful that since its launch almost 100,000 young people from 160 countries around the world have taken part. Of these, 185 have joined the team at L’Oréal.

The example of this cosmetics multinational shows the wide range of possible targets for gamification campaigns. Considering all the benefits it can bring to both the business as well as the “players”, what’s stopping us from using it within our own companies? Innovation is within everyone’s reach, and so is gamification.

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