Gamification is used by brands to motivate employees, create healthy competition among teams, generate buzz or social proof, and encourage customer loyalty, among other benefits. With a variety of techniques – some easy to implement, some requiring advanced planning, coding, or technical expertise – any business can use gamification to get better results, no matter what your goals.
These 25 examples of gamification in business run the gamut for potential uses, but brands are coming up with innovative ways to incorporate game-like features into ordinary activities every day. Listed in no particular order of importance, these 25 stellar uses of gamification are sure to spark some creativity and get your competitive gears turning for ways to put the fun back in business.
Gamification Use: Recruitment
The U.S. Army is no stranger to using games for training purposes, but now it’s using gamification to attract new recruits and generally promote awareness of the U.S. armed forces. America’s Army has attracted millions of potential new recruits. This effort was initiated back in 1999, and the first version was released in 2002. By 2008, four transportable “Virtual Army Experience” units were hitting shopping malls and public events. More than a decade in the making, the U.S. Army has turned its knowledge and experience of training games into a powerful recruiting tool.
Gamification Use: Motivation and Goal Tracking
Jillian Michaels encourages users to stay on track with her fitness programs using gamification techniques for a number of fitness challenges. With a multitude of challenges to choose from, users can select a program that’s most closely aligned with personal goals and lifestyle. Each challenge uses its own set of gamification techniques, such as contests and prizes, badges, partner and group challenges.
Gamification Use: Social Loyalty and Customer Engagement
Samsung gets social and creates user-generated content by rewarding users for getting engaged with the community, participating in Q&A discussions with other users, watching videos, reviewing products, and other activities. In exchange for their participation, users are awarded with badges and progress through levels of achievement. Samsung already had hundreds of thousands of visitors, so it didn’t need to put much effort into driving visitors to the site. Instead, it focused on explaining the benefits of getting involved with the community to encourage users to review products and create valuable branded content for the company.
Gamification Use: Goal Tracking and Proof of Achievement
Treehouse is a virtual training academy for learning code, app development, and business skills, used by beginners to learn valuable career skills and experienced professionals for career advancement. Students choose from various tracks for defined outcomes, and earn badges and points as they work through the library of courses to show off their achievements and impress potential employers. Tracks are broken into manageable chunks, and a tracker shows your progress as you work towards your goals. The more points you earn, the higher your potential salary.
Gamification Use: Fostering Financial Independence and Goal Tracking
Mint.com makes the ordinarily painful process of demystifying your financials and planning for your future simpler and more entertaining through gamification. By employing a variety of goal trackers, visual breakdowns for better understanding of your spending habits and budget allocation, and easy-to-interpret charts and graphs outlining your personal financial plan, Mint.com is helping everyday people plan secure financial futures and get back on track with their financial goals. Would you rather analyze a spreadsheet or use a cool app that creates a colorful display to show you exactly where your money’s going every month – automatically?
Gamification Use: Customer Loyalty and Rewards
Recyclebank rewards users for doing everyday things that are good for the environment, such as learning how to cut back on water consumption or purchasing greener products – specifically, those with the Recyclebank logo. Users earn points by working their way through a tiered series of questions and answers, learning about greener living practices and pledging to follow them, and exchanging points for rewards. Rewards include pretty sweet discounts (20 percent off, $10 or $20 off, etc.) from vendors such as 1800FLOWERS.com, The Honest Company, Macy’s, and more, and you can compare your rank against other users to gauge your green-living status.
Gamification Use: Promoting Literacy and Building Membership
The Pierce County Library makes use of gamification to encourage teens to read throughout the summer. With a series of challenges designed to take teens on “an epic journey,” young readers can select categories and badges that look interesting to them. Anyone can register and participate, but prizes are only issued to teens with a valid Pierce County Library card. With leaderboards to track your progress against others, a points system, and a dashboard that displays user statistics, this program turns reading into a fun summer activity while boosting membership for the library.
Gamification Use: Educational Achievement
Kaplan University implemented Badgeville solutions to enhance its curriculum by encouraging more engaged participation. By incorporating challenges and badges, Kaplan saw results such as higher student grades, decreased rates of students failing to complete courses and programs, and conducted behavior analysis to differentiate what distinguishes the most successful students from the rest in order to derive gamification processes that would foster the same practices across the student population, according to InformationWeek.
Gamification Use: Social Loyalty and Customer Engagement
Teleflora’s Rewards program gives customers one point for every dollar spent on the website. For every 150 points accumulated, users get a $15 discount on a future purchase. Users also get perks like sneak previews of upcoming products, the opportunity to pre-order new products before they’re available to the public, free email gift reminders, bonus points for special offers, and more. Points are also awarded for social loyalty activities, such as posting reviews, leaving Facebook comments, and answering other customers’ questions, with points and rewards activity is tracked in a leaderboard.
Gamification Use: Customer Loyalty
Step2 makes a variety of children’s products, encouraging parents to get involved with creating buzz about the brand using a loyalty program. Customers get involved by writing reviews and engaging with other customers to create buzz surrounding Step2 products, earning points for their activities and gradually working their way up several levels, designated by badges, to become influencers. The leaderboard ranks users by level and influence, displaying a number of stats such as the number of reviews written, number of helpful votes, shares, photos and videos, and more.
Gamification Use: Employee Wellness, Cost Reduction
Keas is an employee wellness platform used by enterprises to maintain lower group health insurance costs and reduce expenses such as unnecessary sick days. Keas employs gamification within its platform, enabling employees from client companies to log in to a personal dashboard to view stats, earn awards for achievements for completing tasks, and even support co-workers for progress towards their goals.
Gamification Use: Solving World Problems
Evoke is an educational game encouraging youth to develop innovative solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, such as hunger and poverty. The World Bank, which created Evoke, describes the game as “a crash course in changing the world.” Players are challenges to complete ten missions and ten quests paced over the course of ten weeks. Those who successfully complete the required challenges earn the distinction of “World Bank Institute Social Innovator.” But that’s not all: Winners from the original graduating class in 2010 reaped benefits such as seed funding for new ventures, travel scholarships to share their visions at the EVOKE Conference in Washington, D.C., and online mentorships with business leaders and social leaders from around the world.
Gamification Use: Project Completion
DevHub didn’t quite expect such a massive impact from implementing a few simple game-like features into its platform, such as awarding badges (called devatars) for completing certain tasks. Forbes reports that the company was rather astonished when it watched the percentage of users who actually completed projects jump from just 10 percent to 80 percent. Basically, the strategy aims to incentivize users to work their way through the more tedious or challenging tasks that tend to make people throw in the towel or procrastinate.
14. Verizon Insider
Gamification Use: Customer Loyalty and Engagement
Verizon Wireless ramped up customer engagement with some gamification tricks in Verizon Insider, a community hub where users can get exclusive offers, participate in online and real-world events, and engage with the community through writing reviews and other interactions to earn points. By getting personal and more interactive, and rewarding users for getting involved, Verizon is amplifying brand recognition and driving loyalty.
Gamification Use: Social Loyalty, Brand Awareness, Engagement, and Social Missions
A visit to the 4food website is like a big game. Whether you’re checking out the badge-like core company values, “flipping the bird” for a discount offer, or building your own burger, a 4food website visit is one customers won’t soon forget. The 4foods goal is to de-junk fast food, but they also donate 25 cents to a good cause every time a (W)holeburger is purchased. Check out what’s trending, learn about the ingredients of the many 4foods burgers, or go to the BuildBoard to “Build your burger, then make it good4all by giving it a name, and telling us: what is your purpose?”
Gamification Use: Motivation, Goal Tracking
Proof is a Mindbloom app (which has a number of other gamification apps, as well) that’s a great example of gamification in its own right. But it can also be used by a small business or enterprise to encourage healthy competition and achieve goals, thanks to the ability to use it alone or with a group of other users. With Proof, users create 7-day challenges and capture photo or video proof using smartphones to track progress and prove that they actually met the challenge. Brands that put this app to use can incorporate rewards to those who complete challenges, turning it into a motivational tool for the workforce. Small business owner or consultant? You can find a way to use this app with clients, too.
17. Engine Yard
Gamification Use: Customer Engagement
Engine Yard is a platform for deploying, scaling, and monitoring applications. The company implemented a Zendesk knowledge base, but didn’t see the levels of engagement they had hoped for. To encourage participation, Engine Yard incorporated badges and other gamification tactics to boost participation and reward users for making contributions to the community. By doing so, it successfully increased user-generated content for its customer self-help portal, decreasing the number of support tickets and reducing the demand on support staff.
18. Beat the GMAT
Gamification Use: User Engagement, Goal Tracking and Competition
Beat the GMAT, a social network for prospective MBAs as they research and navigate the MBA admissions process, was started by an MBA student from his dorm room at Stanford in 2005. Acquired by Hobson’s in 2012, it had already been experimenting with gamification since 2010. With badge reward systems for engagement, simple games with points and level systems, Beat the GMAT eventually realized its team needed to focus its efforts on core business operations and became one of Badgeville’s first customers. In creating MBA Watch, a social network exclusively for applicants to pool their stats and compare themselves to others to identify areas of improvement, the company created a richer, more engaging use of social mechanics for the benefit of users.
Gamification Use: Employee Engagement and Motivation
Bluewolf uses gamification internally as a way to get employees more engaged and actively involved in building the Bluewolf brand. Using Bunchball’s technology, Bluewolf created its own #GoingSocial program using a variety of initiatives, including employee ‘Pack Profiles,’ offering points and rewards for internal and external collaboration, publishing a blog post on the company blog, earning a Klout score of 50 or above, and other achievements. The result is a more robust social presence for a social brand that engages potential customers and drives employee investment.
Gamification Use: Healthy Competition, Employee Motivation
It may sound like a household chore motivator for kids, and it is – but it’s also a great tool to use in the office to get teams more motivated to complete the more mundane tasks that need doing. With a variety of configurations, you can use ChoreWars as a one-off contest to get employees back in action, or an ongoing program with a weekly high-score table to award prizes to top competitors every week. ChoreWars turns any ordinary task into a fun, engaging competition by allowing users to create characters, create chores, and go on adventures with gold and equipment.
Gamification Use: Customer Loyalty
The Nissan Carwings program, a concept created by Nissan Innovation for the Nissan Leaf, Nissan’s 100-percent electric car, gamifies driving and draws customers like magnets. With a regional rankings dashboard, owners can compare their performance to other local drivers, earn bronze, silver, and gold medals – or for the most impressive performance rankings, a fancy platinum award. A complimentary service for three years for new Leaf owners, Carwings does much more than just ranks your driving stats on a leaderboard. You can communicate with your car via your smartphone and get reminders, start charging the battery, set timers, turn on the A/C and more, even if you’re not near your car at the time.
Gamification Use: Fostering Creativity, Connecting Brands with Creative Talent
Tongal is a community of brands and creative minds that benefit in different ways through a crowd-sourced model that makes use of gamification to foster creativity and put top-notch creative work that connects brands with their audiences in powerful, meaningful ways. The community votes on ideas for submitted projects, and winning creators are paid to create their vision, and the final submitted work is ranked by the Sponsor and distributed to audiences worldwide. It’s a win-win solution that puts earning power in the hands of the world’s most brilliant minds, while providing leading brands with access to innovative creative works that otherwise may never come to life.
23. Progress Wars
Gamification Use: Parody, Brainstorming and Stress Relief
Progress Wars isn’t really designed for business, but its total simplicity, parody approach, and potential usefulness for business purposes is intriguing enough for us to include it here. Poking fun at the thrill of playing games on Facebook and leveling-up to see the all-important progress bar make its way further to the right, Progess Wars is literally that: A progress bar, completed by clicking a button to complete various “missions.” But what about business? It’s a great distractor when you need a temporary moment of bliss, and the various challenge messages can help clear your head when you need some added creativity. If your team is struggling with progress on an important project, a few minutes of Progress Wars can trick your brain into thinking you’ve got your mojo back. Return to mundane, frustrating project and start getting stuff done. End of story.
Gamification Use: Building Brand Awareness, Team Building
SCVNGR is a fun game platform that sends users to places they’d frequent anyway, where they complete challenges, accumulate points, and earn rewards. Get in the game by creating challenges at your favorite local places, set up a trek for your team and force them to do goofy things in public, and more with SCVNGR. For example, a thread in the community help desk forum suggests that SCVNGR could be used at a conference as a method for getting attendees to engage with vendors by visiting vendor booths and participating in challenges in exchange for a reward. Whether you set up challenges at your physical location and offer rewards or use SCVNGR for team-building purposes, this app has tons of potential.
25. The Email Game
Gamification Use: Brand Awareness, Team Building, Productivity
Baydin creates tools that help its customers make better decisions and handle massive email influx more efficiently than ever before with The Email Game. Using gamification to boost productivity, The Email Game gives users a 3-minute time limit to respond to emails that must be addressed now and rewards you with points and accomplishments when you’ve done things quickly or managed your workflow well. While The Email Game’s gamification approach benefits Baydin by fostering customer loyalty, but its enterprise edition can help your team become more productive and have more fun managing email at the office.
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