Gamification in Times of Crisis: How to Stay Connected with Gamification

You cannot but notice that 2020 is the year that is making us all rethink the way we live, socialize, and run business. Obviously, we do this all the time, gradually, but the current events and changes connected to COVID-19 force us to adapt faster than ever, which is especially true to the business that wants not only to survive but also to thrive in harsh conditions. While we witness the sad reality when many companies are negatively impacted by the imposed lockdown and social distancing rules, and many even have to close the businesses, let’s consider this situation as the time when you have to be a little bit more creative when fighting for your customers and your future. While you may ask how to do it when everything is fully or partially closed, and people feel frustrated, the answer is logical: by bringing fun elements into the interaction with your future and present clients, that is, by using gamification approach.

But how exactly can gamification be helpful in the middle of a pandemic? The nature of the current situation is such that many cities now take a reactive approach to the crisis, yet gamification can help cities to adopt proactive measures as well. Important behavioral and economic research can come in handy to create gamification solutions which technology can deploy in its interaction with people. Instead of being a distraction, technology may create a connection to our surroundings and assist in sustaining the community that has faced a crisis. In this sense, gamification has clear economic and community benefits. As for the economic development, residents support local businesses and are rewarded for spending the money locally, which grows the economy of the city. In case of community development, local governments can engage technology to come up with reward systems to be proactive and provide a landscape where residents feel valued, encouraged and are rewarded for taking part in public issues.

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Let’s look at the examples that prove that gamification is a great tool for effective interaction during COVID lockdown. In Tel Aviv, gamification has seen success in achieving increased overall levels of resident engagement. Moreover, it even turned out that it may also affect the segments of population that do not engage under normal conditions. This way, Colu, the platform that helps cities engage with their residents, has witnessed an incredibly high number of transactions since the beginning of restrictions in the city. А vivid example of this was the first COVID-19 related campaign that was launched to encourage local consumption – “The Local Shoppers Challenge”. This campaign raised $145,000 in local economic activity during the period of just two weeks, right when COVID-19 was shutting down the economy. The campaign features a digital punch card; when a person uses the card four times at local businesses and spends at least NIS 20 (~US $6) each time, they are granted a one-time reward of 35 Tel Aviv coins (~US $10). This award is given only to the residents that go through the whole challenge (4 qualifying transactions). As a result, the business spent only $2,500 to achieve $145,000 (58x ROI).

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Another successful gamification campaign was the “Gift Card Challenge”, which took place in many cities in the USA. The point of this challenge was that citizens were asked to buy gift cards from temporarily closed businesses to use them in the future, when they reopen again. The nature of this initiative was competitive, and this has encouraged some residents to do even more than was initially offered. Hence, some people preordered pet food; others have paid in advance for summer recreational activities.

Various tourist areas in Switzerland also follow this approach. Instead of selling season tickets for overpriced prices and being uncertain about the new season, a popular crowdfunding model has emerged as a possible solution. Often a certain number of crowdfunding participants must first be determined in order to carry this out at all. In many ski resorts, the feeling of social connection and motivation when successfully carried out (with a season subscription) led to the target numbers being exceeded. As a result, the annual subscriptions were given out way cheaper than normally but the profits were higher not only for the ski resorts but also for the local businesses around them.

But gamification can be helpful in the times of COVID-19 not only to businesses. The concept can serve society as well. For example, being part of cooperation with a non-profit organization focused on the local healthcare or educational needs, the customers of the company may have the choice to convert their gained digital awards to a donation to the non-profit. Users who take part in the fundraising campaign may get an acknowledgment message and a badge of a “city hero”, for instance. This way, the social layers that undergo perhaps the most difficult times during the crisis will not be left out.

We cannot say for sure how long or how intense the lockdown measures are going to be, but one thing is sure already: your business has to be prepared for the situations like this to attract the new and retain the existing customers since no matter what, clients will always be the priority of any business. And here at Brame, we know that successful and effective interaction with clients now is important more than ever, and we are ready to assist you with our broad range of tailor-made gamification solutions. They say that the strongest brands often emerge in the times of crisis, so don’t miss your opportunity to leverage gamification to grow and strengthen your brand now.

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