2019 – the year of gamification?

Expert Opinion
2019 – the year of gamification?

Having devised cutting-edge events for blue chip companies such as Nationwide Building Society, Vodafone and IBM for over two decades, leading creative agency UKSV has its finger firmly on the pulse of the business events universe. Here’s what they have to say about gamification, a trend which is set to explode in 2019.

 

If you haven’t already been involved with ‘gamification’, then get ready to be – this concept is set to be an even bigger trend in corporate events in 2019, from conferences to team building to training.

For the uninitiated, ‘gamification’ is the process of adding games or gamelike elements, such as a points or rewards system, to a task, in order to incentivise people to participate. In other words, the idea is to make something that might otherwise seem arduous more fun!

Although the word ‘gamification’ was not coined in its current usage until 2010, it is not a new concept. From school house points and star charts in childhood, we have an inherent need to compete and achieve, and we have long understood how tapping into that can increase participation and improve productivity.

Gamification in the business events world can cover everything from a simple leader board written in marker pen on a flip chart, to a custom-designed gamification platform at an international conference. Thanks to technology it has never been easier to do; you can almost guarantee that every attendee at any given event will have a smart phone in their pocket to allow them to take part.

Many working in events have been quick to see the advantages. Gamification can not only encourage engagement and social interactions, it can help raise an event’s social media profile, and support that ultimate goal – creating an impactful and memorable experience.

Basically, it taps into the core aims of such events, underpinning them in an entertaining and fun way. What’s not to like?!

Jeremy Shakerley, Managing Director at UKSV, said: “From fitness trackers which compare steps with other users, to retail loyalty rewards schemes, gamification is everywhere, and it can work brilliantly for conferences and business events too. You can gamify almost every step in an attendee’s experience, from checking in, to visiting exhibitors and attending sessions, to picking up resources and providing feedback.

“It doesn’t even need to be a high-tech affair. It can be as simple as asking people to collect stamps on a card when visiting exhibitors, for the chance to win a prize.

“A game element is also a great way to get people to speak up and get involved when they might otherwise have felt shy or uncomfortable. We have seen a huge growth in the use of interactive apps at events, which, among other functions, allow attendees to pose questions to speakers and vote on their favourites, producing a ‘live’ leader board, with the most popular questions getting answered.

“From ‘scavenger hunt’ style games, to virtual or physical ‘check-in’ competitions, to social media ‘like’ and ‘share’ challenges, to competitive quizzes – the possibilities are endless.”

Gamification can help with numerous objectives. From increasing attendance, to encouraging networking, to helping people focus and retain what they’ve learned – but it is key to pin down your objectives from the outset.

Julie House, Client Relationship Manager at UKSV, said: “Gamification is something our clients are demanding more and more, and the ways of delivering it are becoming ever more sophisticated. One thing we always keep in mind, though, is avoiding gamification for its own sake. It needs to underpin the aims and agenda of the event – rather than distracting from them.”

Neil Coombes, Marketing Manager at UKSV, added: “Think first about what you want the ‘game’ element to achieve, be it encouraging attendees to engage with certain sessions, or helping them get to know one another and expand their networks.

“Then think about how you can incentivise them to do that. It might be virtual badges or physical prizes for checking in at locations around the venue, or a leader board for social shares, or competitive quizzes or challenges to help embed information learned. Rewards can be virtual or physical, and by giving these plaudits publicly you also give the ‘players’ kudos for their efforts – which goes a long way.”

With so much to distract delegates at these events, from the hotel bar, to the continuing demands of their jobs, gamification can be the glue that holds it all together.

And if game-like elements are tailored to keep those present engaged and informed in exactly the way the organisers intend, they can be a vital tool to ensure conferences and meetings deliver on all their objectives.

 

UKSV is a creative communications company based in Ringwood, Hampshire, bringing ideas and messages to life across live events, digital and brand management and development.

See www.uksv.co.uk for more. Find them on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/uksvcreativecommunications, search @UKSV on Twitter or follow them on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/uksv/

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.