Hello, my name is Carlos Gonzalez. I am a Social Media curator and manage the social media for many different clients and brands. I assist BigDoor with their social media goals. I have been socially promoting a gamification design studio in Park City, Utah for about two years now. I have remained focused in this niche of “gamification”, as the industry is relatively new, and frequently share my personal thoughts on my blog, gamifiXation.com. BigDoor has invited me to write a guest blog, and so I thought I’d share one of my favorite examples of gamification that works.
I often monitor the threads on Twitter regarding gamification, and see many posts from folks looking for examples of gamification. Yes, the word “gamification” has caught a big buzz in the last year, but it is nothing new at all. Some of the most successful companies online have relied on game mechanics to self monitor their large online communities. The most obvious example, eBay, which has successfully used game mechanics since day one. However, the usage of game mechanics in eBay’s strategy is rarely mentioned in any eBay news.
Status and leader boards are also nothing new, (you were probably introduced to them in Kindergarten). When game mechanics are implemented well, they create engagement and accountability within the online community (I didn’t want to read those books, but I was definitely not going to let my classmates beat me on the status board!). One of the first things I check on eBay before I buy something is the feedback score of the seller -basically the seller’s status. If the seller has a bad rating, especially on an item I am interested in –then I am less likely to buy. These type of game mechanics and online community self-policing saves eBay a lot of dollars in customer service. On eBay, you can’t buy your favorite badge or rating, you have to earn it.
While eBay has a great program for existing users, I also love catching examples of great gamification that influences potential users to become active community members. Starbucks is a prime example of a major franchise chain that is doing it right. Great gamification means a GREAT User Experience (on AND offline). You can always count on the wi-fi working flawlessly at a Starbucks location.
Today’s marketers need to understand the value of a Social Media Impression. A good game keeps you coming back to play. Because of the lousy experience I received at the last non-Starbucks coffee I tried –I never went back. Starbucks, on the other hand –has their free wi-fi blasting 24-7 and is very consistent. They know how to keep customers happy and returning to their stores. While their online experience is smooth, I believe BigDoor could do some cool stuff with the Starbucks landing page to create stronger engagement and social loyalty to the site (such as implementing BigDoor Quests). However, I have to say –the Starbucks iphone app kicks ass and does a great job of using game mechanics (progress bars, badges, and points) to keep people playing.
I recently decided to visit a Starbucks to pay with my iPhone for the first time. Confident that my money wouldn’t go to waste, I uploaded $20 to my Starbucks iPhone app and began to play.
Without even realizing it, I had become a green level member, well on my way to gold, and in the process become even more hooked on Starbucks (or maybe caffeine?). While Starbucks does a fantastic job using gamification in their mobile app; the possibilities of gamification on their website, rewards site, and integration with the app from the web, are limitless. BigDoor’s experience in web gamification, could beef up the gamified program Starbuck’s already has with mobile and create a more engaged and loyal web audience. Like the app’s encouragement to join the rewards program, Starbuck’s website has a great potential for a landing page that encourages web users to join, engage online, download the app and start drinking more Starbucks.
Thanks for reading, would love to hear of some feedback and gamification examples you’ve come across in the comments!