Gamification sounds like a made-up word that you’d be hard pressed to convince an opponent was worthy of a triple word score in a game of Scrabble. However, it is a word that is gaining increasing traction within the corporate lexicon as progressive businesses seek new ways to engage their audiences.

While fraught with danger I will refer to Wikipedia to define what is a foreign concept to many, including until recently, myself:

Gamification is the use of game design techniques and game mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences.

Some of the techniques used include:

  • achievements / badges
  • levels
  • leaderboards
  • progress bars
  • activity feeds
  • avatars
  • real-time feedback
  • virtual currency
  • gifting
  • challenges and quests
  • trophy case
  • embedding small mini games within other activities

Gamification may be a buzzword, but if done well is another channel worth considering as part of any communication strategy. While there are many examples of  game mechanics, the important thing to consider is how these techniques engage the target audience.

Consider the fact that in the year 2000 the average attention span of a gamer was 12 minutes compared to 5 seconds in 2012 and it becomes clear that for gamification to be successful you must have an understanding of your audience and whether or not gamification is the best channel to be used to ensure that your game is not only fun and engaging, but effectively delivers your key messages.

Ellis Jones works with clients to develop  comprehensive communications strategies and has the technical expertise to implement digital solutions.

Image credit: CannedTunaFlickr Creative Commons