When we think of ways in which we can make an event a captivating one, we must consider all aspects: the theme, tone and style of the event. Being engaged gives the attendee the freedom to be a part of the experience and to actively engender further participation in the event. Generating engagement can be challenging, tricky, stimulating, social and ultimately deeply fulfilling for everyone involved. So, to kick it up a notch, why not include ‘Gamification’?
Forrester, market advisers in technology and business, define gamification as “the insertion of game dynamics into non-game activities to drive a desired behaviour.” In short, gamification is not just a tool that creates an atmosphere for people to experience the games, but it has the potential to offer so much more when it comes to events.
In order to create an unforgettable experience for attendees, there are four dynamics that we must bear in mind.
- Focus on user experience and not just visual appearance
An intense focus on the user experience will trigger each sense in a unique way and bring out an individual’s playful nature. Being able to captivate each sense inhibits people from being distracted or feeling bored. Building a 3D world is not always needed as long as the aesthetics suit the event.
A simple example would be a sports exhibition where several leading sports brands, fitness centers etc. showcase their latest products and services. Having several stations where people can compete against themselves or each other would appeal to the playful nature of both children and adults in attendance.
Triggering an emotional response will surely garner interest and engagement whilst boosting the participants overall experience at the event.
- Story Telling – Answers the question of why someone would want to play the game
The story telling is the most crucial part of any game that can lead to ultimate success or demise. In order to engage an audience, the story line needs to be compelling and should add value to an individual. It needs to be presented in a way in which the entire gameplay and outcome can be influenced by a single person or an entire team of gamers.
A good way would be to create a visual story with a purposeful experience. Imagine a brand new white colour car sitting idle in the centre of the event. The car can actually be used as a canvas with multiple areas sectioned off for each participant.
Participants will be given a black marker to draw anything they want, essentially crafting and connecting stories of several people of different cultures into a beautiful message on a non-traditional canvas.
Each person has the potential to change the whole sequence of design and outcome resulting in a masterpiece that the contributors can be extremely proud of.
Mechanics is the simpler term for ‘Data Visualization-ification’, which is essentially combining Gamification with visual data in a thought provoking way within an experience that is easy to implement, simple to execute, enough to stimulate the mind and looks great on social media platforms – like Instagram.
We have recently worked on a project that entails a very similar structure, and can be used as a great example for mechanics. The idea is to use technology to pull men and women respectively into a game that is crafted with stress points at which people will certainly falter. This is done to engage and test individuals in various fields that include logic, judgment and even problem solving issues against physical obstacles. Each individual’s progress is tracked in real-time via virtual leader boards and various other shareable mechanics to create a strong digital presence and achieve maximum footfall and awareness.
The idea of mechanics in the event industry is to evoke a sense of competitiveness and achievement by creating a learning and engaging environment. The ultimate goal is to evaluate a persons’ competence within the gaming – or in this case a ‘Data Visualization-ification’ -environment.
- Technology – Medium used to connect and compete
In every game, technology has a central role. In today’s world, we think of technology being smart phones and wearables, however a regular pencil and paper which were once technological innovations at their time are perfect examples to highlight games like ‘tic-tac-toe’.
However, technology has taken significant strides. Event organizers can now develop proprietary software or utilize social platforms to engage attendees in a competitive manner for either internal satisfaction or a physical reward.
An example would be using Twitter to provide updates about a certain event. The more a person tweets with a given hashtag, the higher that individual will rank in relation to other participants. At the end of the event, the person who is ranked the highest will receive the main prize.
Using gamification principles in this situation not only brings out the competitor in an individual, but also serves as a promotional tool for the event with significant reach and exposure across several demographics.
Putting the Principles to Use: At present, the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa) is experiencing significant growth across both B2B and B2C events, with organizers trying to establish new methods to differentiate themselves from the competition. This coupled with the attendees’ expectations of a stellar experience poses a great challenge for event organizers which will surely be answered using gamification principles.
However, even though a game is created, it does not necessarily mean that it will captivate the audience. For a fully immersive experience that will help establish a sense of loyalty and belonging to a specific event, organizers must use the aforementioned principles as a base to craft an experience that is predicated on feedback, friends and fun.
this article was written for eventindustrynews.co.uk