Game playing has long been a favorite pastime and could most likely be traced back to the beginning of time. Card games, board games, pinball games, video games or Smartphone app games have all taken center stage in people’s lives over the centuries. It’s just been over the past several years that games have also proliferated the business world.
A new book, The Gamification Revolution How Leaders Leverage Game Mechanics to Crush the Competition, by Gabe Zicherman and Joselin Linder, shows how games are being used in the business and corporate worlds to engage customers and employees. One of the most famous examples of using game playing successfully is the Monopoly game used by McDonald’s fast-food chain of restaurants.
Zichermann writes, “Growing an audience is what McDonald’s had in mind when in 1987 it launched its now famous Monopoly game. During the once-a-year promotional period, the company offers customers ordering specific menu items game pieces mirroring those found in the Parker Brothers board game of the same name.”
Gaming World Meets Business World
Gamification is the “process of engaging audiences by leveraging the best of loyalty programs, game design, and behavioral economics.” The authors use numerous case studies to detail how big and small companies alike are incorporating game mechanics and game thinking into their business models, marketing strategies and overall thinking when it comes to growth, engaging and sustaining customers and employees.
The book offers three elements including:
• Game Mechanics – the basic elements of gaming including points, badges, leader boards and rewards
• Systems for mastery – the guideposts of game play that will lead players to a win
• Motivation – the enjoyment factor
The book provides some interesting statistics such as game playing, according to the U.S. Census, doubled between 2002 and 2012. The authors suggest that such statistics prove that leisure time is on the decline and “games have been cannibalizing other forms of entertainment.”
To reconcile these changes with customer and employee satisfaction, the authors suggest three truths:
1. Multitasking for employees and customers is here to stay.
2. Engagement is one of the most valuable resource customers and employees have to give and the success or failure of a company will depend on how it addresses engagement.
3. Making engagement fun is the best way to beat the competition.
The book suggests that gaming is a good tool for the strategic process. It can create opportunities for understanding the end game, modeling scenarios, creating engagement and raising intelligence.
Using games involves a lot more than just coming up with a game and throwing it out there for use. Businesses need to consider factors such as incorporating surprise and delight, generating interest, sustaining long-term customer engagement and leveraging the power of the crowd.
Recruiting the Best
One of the issues gaming can address, according to the authors, is recruitment, training and professional development. The book details how the military had a recruiting problem in the mid 1980s because during that time the U.S. was experiencing a time where “everyone was happy, prosperous, and using far too much hairspray.”
Recruiting remained sluggish until 2002 when the military developed a virtual experience for the army experience. The project became the most cost-effective recruitment tool in the military’s history.
The authors related stories of how companies across the U.S. have used gaming to recruit employees. Companies like Google, L’Oreal, Marriott Hotels and Domino’s Pizza have all experienced success with gamification.
I highly recommend this book for those companies looking for ways to create a new customer or employee experience. It would make a good read for those looking to make a fulltime, paying career out of their game-playing expertise.
This book is highly informative and provides real-world solutions using game playing for a number of business functions. It has sections called Gamify Your Read where the authors ask the reader questions and they check their answers in the back of the book or go online for a more interactive experience.
About the Authors
Gabe Zichermann is the CEo of Gamification Co and Dopamine. He is considered, according to his book, the world’s “foremost expert on designing engagement strategies for customers and employees.”
Joselin Linder is Zichermann’s co-author on this book and has also co-authored Game-Based Marketing with him. She is also a contributor to NPR and AOL and gamification.co.