“Everyone is talking about it, but just a few know how to do it properly.” (preferably) – Anonymous.
Gamification. This reminds me of one of my preferred books, Eric Berne’s “Games People Play”. The book’s main idea is that we all play games in different ways and situations. We wear masks, change them, and we have our favorites – all this effort with one objective: to get recognition from others.
The essence. Well, recognition is the essence of any gamification strategy. Imagine the sports industry without spectators. Or a concert without an audience. Exactly, it’s like it does not exist.
The relevance. Here’s the major catch. Yes, we all like to play; our inner child is happy to gather some crowns, virtual apples, and some fancy titles, but when it comes to reality, you need to transform them into relevant benefits for the customer. On top of that, you need to keep in mind that gamification is not just about creating a game, not at all, I would say. It’s not like you ask your customers to play once, and that’s it, they are “gamified.” Gamification is, at the end of the day, another Customer Engagement tactic using gaming principles & tools.
Let’s start with the basics.
The frameworks. I work best with frameworks by understanding core principles and doing basic research. It gives me clarity without unnecessary details at the conceptual stage. So, I recommend two sources to start with:
It is all a game. Understanding the principles of Gamification (Robson K. et al.). Great research article on the topic. I know research articles are not the “fanciest” tools in business, but if you ignore them, it’s like you’re investing in researching how gold is made by digging near a gold mine. From this article, I will leave you with the MDE Framework for Gamified experience, which stands for Mechanics (e.g., rules), Dynamics (player behavior), and Emotions (Players’ state of mind).
Rajat Paharia, Loyalty 3.0 – Rajat is known as the founder of the Gamification industry (find out more about the technology here). I have continuously recommended his book for years, and I still believe it is the best starting point for understanding gamification. So, Rajat simplified the core principles to be followed by any gamification approach: always keep in mind five intrinsic motivators of people when playing games:
“(1) Autonomy: I Control;
(2) Mastery: I Improve;
(3) Purpose: I make a difference;
(4) Progress: I achieve;
(5) Social Interaction: I connect with others”.
From a strategic perspective, a solid framework as MDE to start your conceptualizing process and an alternative to operationalize by using intrinsic motivators as pillars is the close-to-perfect setup to build or reevaluate your gamification approach.
In practice. We shouldn’t ignore the “Play big!” idea. Gamification is also about choosing the field where you want to play. Ask yourself: what if your entire Go-To-Market Strategy would be built with a Gamification Framework & principles?
The ethics. This is critical, especially in the world of AI. There is not much to add here. You need to understand the importance of business ethics in this world. Here’s the recommendation from UNESCO (2021).
Instead of a conclusion. Thank you for reading this article until the end, and congratulations if you accessed the provided resources. It’s great to know there are other people out there who want to improve, dream to make a difference and work hard to achieve it. You are not alone. Let’s connect.