You can invest a lot of time in event gamification and see no change in attendee behavior or the outcome of your event. To benefit and have the greatest impact, keep these vital tips in mind when planning the gamification of your event.
No distraction, simplicity is king
Indeed, there are many ways to implement gamification that will have no effect or even harm the actual event content. There are easy ‘games’ to purchase and put on top of your event which will save you a lot of time thinking about your own gamification. However, these off-the-shelf activities often come without any customization so they don’t care what your event is about, they are the same everywhere. If you want to enhance your event with gamification though, make sure that it doesn’t create any distraction from your content and actual event goals, but instead supports those.
In general, the concept of gamification is quite simple: take an item or content that you want to increase the interaction with and make a game out of it. So, what is it that your event attendees or visitors of an exhibition booth are supposed to do? Do you want them to get closer to your brand or start building a valuable relationship? Are the attendees already customers and you want to deepen the connection? Shall the gamification raise the energy in the room or simply introduce some fun into those long conference days? Maybe you want to use event gamification to inspire a healthy competition among colleagues, or motivate potential clients to learn or discover more about your products?
Whatever it is that you want to achieve with your event, use gamification in a way that is connected to your goals and content, and keep it simple.
Enhance natural behavior with leaderboards
There are many ways to gamify an event and it always depends on the type of attendee and event which makes most sense. Instead of forcing a game onto your audience that they won’t understand or that is by no means interesting to them, choose wisely and let the game enhance the natural behavior of your attendees. Like this you will unleash the potential to create engaging and memorable experiences through gamification.
From challenges to point systems, competition, fun, and interaction – learn from game mechanics and include those that stimulate your audience most to interact with each other or with event content. One of the most basic but incredibly efficient gamification elements is a leaderboard. Whatever it is that you integrate in your event, having the results being displayed publicly triggers our human competition behavior. Point leaderboards which are updated during the day are a great way to (almost) force visitors to return to your exhibition stand and check whether they are still at the top or who is holding the current record. Also, they give attendees a target to reach by comparing themselves with others and, thanks to our drive to win, a reason to actually participate in the activity at all.
The word gamification is foremost associated with fun. However, when used for business purposes, organizers often fear their event may lose its seriousness. Thus, they try to make event gamification as content- or knowledge-driven as possible. This can sometimes lead to the opposite effect that the gamification part is actually not something your attendees enjoy as it feels like another task on their to-do list. Or perhaps the organizing company thinks there is nothing to gamify during their conference.
Well, have you ever thought about gamifying happiness? Why not create a game this time that asks attendees to share photos of their ‘happy place’ with the audience to earn points? Additionally, let them win points by sending complimentary notes to each other, or writing whatever they were grateful for on a sticky note to stick it on a wall at the end of each day. This type of gamification results in attendees spending more time with each other, and creates an environment that fosters more positive networking experiences.
I know that I just wrote earlier that gamification should be linked to your event content or goals. But sometimes it can also be detached of it, as a completely unexpected energy boost during the event. When sitting all day long following fact-filled presentations, wouldn’t it be wonderful to compete in a race through a ball pool during the coffee break? Totally unrelated, but a fantastic way to raise the energy level again immediately.
However you use gamification, it will inspire greater and more meaningful interaction and connections between participants, and ensures that the experience around your company will be a positive one that remains memorable long after the event itself has finished.
Stay authentic and tell your story
Last but not least, there is one attribute which creates real connections with your company or brand: authenticity. Gamification is 75 % psychology and only 25 % technology. The game mechanism can be as complicated as you want and still not achieve higher results than a well-told story. Successful gamification is built around humans, whether the face of your company or the attendees. Gamification is an easy tool to tell your story and make the event a greater experience.
We can spend hours watching Netflix but feel fatigued after 10 minutes of staring at our screens and following speakers on the virtual stage. How can this be? The answer is simple as it is all about authenticity and meaningful content. If we feel just being talked at, our focus drops quickly. But when we are all-in on the content, when it is engaging and valuable to us, then we are all (eyes and) ears. It’s time to become personal and stay authentic, which is way more important than the game mechanics involved. This makes all the difference.
Wishing you a wonderful day!