In our last blog, we looked at reasons why game-based incentive solutions can actually enhance your business rather than devalue it. While a common perception of gamification seems to be that it’s a techno-fad and that the primary function is to placate or distract people from the everyday grind of business, we firmly believe this is not the case.
Now, let’s shift the focus to how game-based incentives can take your program to the next level. In most of the articles that you’ll read about gamification, you may notice two crucial elements that are frequently stressed: 1) the importance of game design, and 2) the importance of understanding your audience.
Obviously, these two topics go hand-in-hand; you can’t expect a group of people who dislike crossword puzzles to get excited about a game your company has designed to mimic crossword puzzles. That just isn’t going to move the needle enough to warrant its inclusion in your overall incentive strategy. But if you can introduce a compelling game that matches the profile of your audience, this will be the key to keeping them engaged and motivated.
So, how do you do this? First, you must consider the game design. Are you looking for games of skill, like, say Tetris, Pacman, Super Mario, Donkey Kong? Or will games of chance, like Roulette, slot machines, or scratch tickets be more effective in engaging your audience?
When trying to appeal to as large an audience as possible, games of chance make for a better option, for a few reasons:
- Games of skill require, well, skill.
If a program participant fails to master the game, he/she may become frustrated, and stop playing the game altogether. This would defeat the primary purpose of the game, which is to keep participants engaged. Games of chance, on the other hand, require little to no skill, so they’re naturally more accessible to a broader audience.
- Games of chance provide an unending supply of potential success.
This is something that every incentive program could benefit from. Let’s take the real-life example of a game called Spin-To-Win, currently one of the most popular HMI game offerings.
In this game, a participant earns a number of “spins” based on their performance in the program. If the participant uses a spin and fails to win a reward, the letdown is minimal, because chances are, he/she has another spin, and the odds will be the same as they were on their first try.
In other words, each new spin provides a potential win—hence the name of the game.
- Games of chance are easier to design on the back end.
Which means they’re easier to promote on the front end. Typically, a game of skill will require a longer set of directions, because it features more complex game mechanics. This makes games of chance cheaper to build and easier to use.
When you include a game of chance into your incentive solution, what you’re basically telling your participants is, “There will always be a reward within your reach.” This is a powerful statement, and an even more powerful incentive. It can apply to every single one of your participants, from the most successful to the least motivated.
What’s more, customizing these games based on your business needs is easy with today’s technology. Want to offer a reward with every attempt, or would you prefer to randomize the successful attempts (i.e. lower the success rate)? Either way is possible.
Want to use this great opportunity to promote your brand? Every game template can easily be branded with your unique company or program name.
Think it’s a good idea to incorporate a sweepstakes-style grand prize into your game model, to spike engagement? Say no more.
Perhaps the best part of these games is their adaptability: they can be positioned within virtually any type of incentive solution.
Short-term promotions, featuring customized themes that appeal to a client’s unique audience or that take advantage of a trending topic (think football, summer, the holidays, etc.), are a popular vehicle for deploying game-based incentives. They provide that natural burst of excitement that these types of promotions are built for.
You can also just as easily gamify an existing points-based program to renew awareness of and engagement in the program. You can also use them to help drive specific goals like promoting a new product line or supporting the rollout of a learning and enablement initiative.
The kicker, in any case, after you’ve considered the mechanics and audience demographics of your game, is going to be the reward(s) that accompany game success. Games of chance will only be effective if they’re propped up by exciting, tangible, and meaningful rewards. Whether these rewards are small or large, they’re ultimately what will make the game valuable in the eyes of your participants.
Looking for specific examples of game-based incentive solutions? Click on the form at the bottom to view a success story about an award-winning program that used some of these tactics.