Gamification. The essential axes of gaming


Gamification, as powerful tool of business strategy integrates with the marketing of emotions, aimed at driving through our unconscious our buying behavior.

In this regard, the fields that are more sensible to gaming as a strategic driver are the loyalty programs and e-commerce.

The research lead by Maritz Loyalty Marketing show that loyalty programs in the United States are increasingly growing, reaching 2.647 million of customers. On average, a consumer takes part to 7.4 loyalty programs, but its an active participant in only 63% of these.

 Brian Burke, in his book, “Gamify” writes:

Companies should adopt gamification to add value to the offer of their product, to engage consumers, employees and the entire community.”

Gamification means to motivate people to achieve their goals not those of the company.

“Any solution gamificata succeeds only if users are engaged in a game that presents goals whose achievement attribute value to the user, regardless of the company’s goals.

But, let’s start from the beginning, what are the fundamental axes of the playful dimension?

  • Create a winning narrative.
  • Offer a challenge that stimulates the player, requiring “few minutes to learn and a lifetime to dedicate to”
  • Increase user satisfaction, through two assets (essentials to gamification as a business): attraction and sharing.

Essentially, gamification helps organizations with their struggles to engage people, regardless if they are customers, employees or a community of interest. In Nike’s case, the Nike+ fuel points system and fuel band employs tactics such as badges, trophies, connections with friends, and real-time cheering on Facebook to inspire users to be more active.

Nike built the Nike+ platform to engage fitness enthusiasts to take their workouts to the next level.

Launch in 2006, Nike+ more than 11 million users and supports a suite of products. In the firs year after the launch, Nike+ FuelBand user racked up 409 billion NikeFuel points, which is the equivalent of running 44 million marathons. The energy used enough to power 6,772 houses.


The digital engagement model is what makes gamification new. It is what distinguishes gamified solutions from predecessors that used very similar methods to motivate people.

Rewards programs focus on developing higher-value and repeated transactions with customers or on rewarding employees for achieving goals.

Companies that provide rewards and incentive programs see themselves as having “done gamification for a long time,” and find it difficult to distinguish gamification from rewards programs. However, the primary motivators used in these different approaches push different buttons. Loyalty, rewards, and incentive programs function as payback for players who complete certain actions prescribed by the sponsor organization. This is not to say that gamification is somehow superior, but it is best to know which buttons you are trying to push when targeting people’s engagement.

Some of the best-known rewards systems are airline programs. While most of the rewards in these programs would be considered tangible (for example, free flights or VIP lounge access), they also include some intangible rewards, such as priority check-in and boarding. Rewards programs use some of the same game mechanics (points and levels) as gamified solutions, but they mostly engage people on a transactional level. They are essentially a payback scheme: “Take 10 flights and get one free.” While these programs have proven their value over time, this type of offer doesn’t reach most people on an emotional level. Loyalty programs don’t inspire people. They rely on transactional engagement that appeals to people’s logic rather than their emotions. It’s not surprising that people collect points to take advantage of a free flight — in fact, it’s illogical to leave money on the table.

The same is true of most employee incentive programs. Employees are given tangible rewards in return for some specific result, perhaps a trip to Hawaii for achieving a sales target, or tickets to a football game for meeting a production goal. In these cases, employees are rewarded for achieving organizational goals with scant regard to whether the employee shares the goal. It’s not necessary for the employee to share the organizational goal. The employees have a different goal: winning the prize.

Posted on 12 March 2015 in Gamification, Loyalty, Technology

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